Huni family fear boxing-related motive as heavyweight’s house shot up

The father of Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni says there could be rogue elements in boxing who don’t want his son to succeed after the family was rocked by a drive-by shooting at their Brisbane home on Thursday morning.

At least five shots shattered the silence on the quiet suburban street at Sunnybank Hills, in the city’s south, at around 4am, with bullets tearing through the living room window, passing through walls and one even lodging in the family fridge.

There were 10 people in the house at the time, including a six-month old baby. Nobody was injured but Rocki Huni, who also trains his star son, said they were still coming to terms with the attack and were considering whether to stay at the address in the short term.

He said he was baffled by the motive for the shooting but said it may have been part of a campaign to intimidate the fighter ahead of his bout with Joe Goodall in Brisbane next Wednesday night.

Absolutely, there could be someone out there who doesn’t want to see Justis succeed. I’m really worried about that. At the moment, I’m just guessing. I hope with all the cameras we have in the street we find someone that can help us, Rocki said.

It must have been a semi-automatic, it just went bup-bup-bup-bup. But it’s under a week before the fight, I know Justis is shattered but he wants to stay focused. I’ll help him do that because it’s a big fight.

Rocki said things could have been much worse given bullets hit the very chair his wife Paula usually sits to help feed their granddaughter.

Those bullet holes went through our lounge room window. It’s crazy because 4am is about the time my wife [Paula] gets up and sometimes she feeds our granddaughter. They would have sat right in the lounge, right on that chair, where the bullets went through.

Boxing has long had its issues with undesirable elements around the edges of the sport but to target the home of a leading fighter would represent a dramatic escalation. Queensland Police said they were called to the home on Goorong Street about 4am after reports of loud noises and vehicles speeding away.

Officers were then called back to the property just before 7am, where they found the house had been shot at least five times. It was marked as a crime scene and cordoned off as investigations began.

Justis, a 5-0 pro who beat Paul Gallen and missed the Tokyo Olympics through injury, went about his day as normal, finishing a sparring session with former WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne before returning to be with his family.

He said he wouldn’t be intimidated and would continue boxing, with the Goodall bout to go ahead as planned as he takes an important step on his return from injury and twin bouts of COVID.

It’s not going to stop me from boxing, that’s for sure, Huni said. It’s in the hands of the police. I won’t let it get to me.

Very happy everyone is safe and healthy. Everyone at home is rattled. I was still asleep. I heard the shots obviously, we checked to see if everyone was alright.

Browne said he had been threatened multiple times during his long career in the sport but had always stood up to those trying to take advantage of him or seek financial gain.

I want to be honest. I’ve had over 10 years of abuse. It literally could be for anything, it could be boxing related, it could be anything, Browne said.

I’ve been threatened, well and truly, all the big players and bikies, 100 per cent. But you just have to hold your own. I’m very true to myself, I’ll say everything to your face. But it’s funny how nobody ever wants to say it to my face.

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