AT the height of his fame 10 years ago, Solomon Haumono was among the
most destructive forwards in rugby league, earning $400,000 a season.
Like Gorden Tallis or David Gillespie before him, he was one of those
blokes you just didn't want to run at.
Then one morning Haumono decided to fly 17,000km to England in pursuit
of "The Pleasure Machine'', British model Gabrielle Richens.
Ever since, Haumono's world has been off its axis - a life of broken
promises and wasted talent.
After signing with St George Illawarra and then walking away before the
start of the 2000 season, Haumono turned to boxing.
Along with close mate Anthony Mundine, Haumono said he wanted to become
a world champion.
While Mundine has gone on to polarise the nation and make millions of
dollars in the process, Haumono, now 33, has had 15 fights in eight
Master trainer Charile Gergen got him to the US and opened doors to Don
King, but Haumono soon closed them, taking a $20,000 cheque off King and
then splitting with Gergen.
On Wednesday night, he will fight at Campbelltown Catholic Club for the
grand purse of $10,000 - small biscuits compared to the riches he made
as a rugby league star.
There is no question Haumono is a wonderful athlete and you wonder how
things might have played out.
With his dynamite right hand, perhaps he could have been our very own
Mike Tyson. But you can't help thinking he will wind up being remembered
as an athlete blessed with all the gifts who didn't take his chances.
His new trainer Johnny Lewis maintains Wednesday night's fight is merely
a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Lewis wants to take Haumono to Europe, or possibly even the US, and has
media heavyweight Jarrod Frykberg in his corner.
But after the way Haumono treated King when former trainer Gergen took
him to the US the first time, it is a risky move.
"Sol's been great. He's in good shape and this fight on Wednesday is
just the start for him,'' Lewis said.
"We want to step it up from here, get him fighting regularly and look to
get him over to Europe or the US.''
In what shapes as one of Australian boxing's best fight nights in years,
Haumono will take on the four-time Australian heavyweight champion Colin
The star-studded card at `The Cube' in Campbelltown includes IBO
middleweight world champion Daniel Geale taking on Ian MacKillop, rising
star Lenny Zappavigna squaring off against Gary St Clair, and Dave Brown
against Billy Dib.
Respected boxing trainer and promoter Angelo Hyder labelled the
Campbelltown card as a quality line-up.
"These blokes are all world-class fighters and the match-ups are
fantastic. Everyone's got something to prove,'' Hyder said.
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