Mark Hunt nearing return in boxing match versus ex-rugby player Paul Gallen

Knockout artist Mark Hunt could make his return to combat sports in the boxing ring.

Australian rugby player turned boxer Paul Gallen confirmed to 2GB Radio he’s agreed to fight Hunt in the squared circle after a previous round of negotiations went south. The two are expected to meet on Oct. 30 or 31 of this year at a location to be determined.

A person with knowledge of the booking confirmed the pending matchup to MMA Fighting and said the host city and venue remains the last hurdle to clear before the fight is made official. The Daily Telegraph reported the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, which in February hosted a UFC event, could host.

Hunt reportedly agreed to the fight in March and before plans were scuttled by the coronavirus pandemic. The 46-year-old Kiwi has been inactive since December 2018, when he lost a decision to Justin Willis in the final fight of his UFC contract. His appearance came amid a lengthy court fight with the promotion, which he accused of conspiring to cover up the doping of Brock Lesnar prior to their fight at UFC 200. He is currently appealing a federal lawsuit that accuses the UFC of racketeering, fraud, breach of contract as the promotion pursues him for court costs.

In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Hunt planned to join the current anti-trust lawsuit against the UFC and blasted the promotion’s plans for “Fight Island.” In the boxing ring, he is 0-1-1 after a pair of appearances in 1998 and 2000.

Gallen, meanwhile, is 9-0-1 after a draw in his most recent fight, a November 2019 meeting with Barry Hall. The 38-year-old started his career in earnest for a charity match in 2012 while playing professional rugby. He turned pro in 2014 and has earned five wins via TKO or KO.