Giant Roosters forward who sparred Paul Gallen wants to fight Payne Haas in his pro boxing debut – after Bronco was filmed allegedly hitting his teammate Albert Kelly
- Xavier Va’a wants to fight Broncos prop Payne Haas in the off-season
- The 116kg Rooster is an accomplished boxer who held an amateur title
- Va’a also sparred Paul Gallen and qualified for World Youth Championships
Anyone who saw the footage of Payne Haas allegedly hitting his teammate Albert Kelly and thought ‘I wish he’d pick on someone his own size’ could get their wish after a young Roosters forward called out the Broncos enforcer.
Xavier Va’a made his debut for the Tricolours in a trial match earlier this year, but he’s also an accomplished fighter who has won a Queensland amateur title and qualified for the World Youth Championships in 2020.
His manager Shaun Pyne said the hulking forward wants to take Haas on in the ring at the end of the season.
‘Xavier has a real passion for boxing and he would be interested in fighting Payne Haas,’ Pyne told the Courier Mail.
Va’a (left) sparred Paul Gallen (right) as the former Cronulla hard man prepared for his fight with Aussie heavyweight champ Justis Huni in 2021. The young Rooster has won a Queensland amateur title and qualified for the World Youth Championships
The 18-year-old debuted for the Roosters in a trial game earlier this year, and is almost exactly the same size as Haas at 193cm and 116kg
‘He has done boxing all of his life and if there is an opportunity during the off-season to get in the ring with Payne, absolutely he is keen.
‘It would be a cracking fight. They are both big boys.’
That’s something of an understatement. Va’a stands 193cm and weighs 116kg, just a hair off Haas at 194cm and 117kg.
Va’a also sparred with Cronulla Sharks great turned pro boxer Paul Gallen as he prepared for his bout with Aussie heavyweight champion Justis Huni in June last year.
The 18-year-old has a video on his Facebook page showing his impressive form as he hits the pads and looks to have power and speed in abundance.
Haas (pictured playing the New Zealand Warriors in round four) is no slouch in the ring, with boxing trainer Mark Burgess saying he’s the standout fighter at the Broncos
Haas is no slouch with the gloves on, either.
Boxing trainer Mark Burgess, who has worked with the Broncos, praised the Brisbane enforcer’s natural pugilistic ability in 2021.
‘The standout boxer for me was Payne Haas,’ he said. ‘He is one of the best athletes I have seen in all my years of training.
‘The way he was moving his head in the ring, it was like Muhammad Ali.’
Haas (left) is currently waiting to find out if he’ll be punished by the NRL over a video showing him allegedly hitting his teammate Albert Kelly (right) in Sydney on March 20
Haas is currently waiting to find out if he’ll be punished by the NRL for his alleged clash with Albert Kelly outside their Sydney hotel on March 20.
Video shows him allegedly hitting Kelly with a left to the face before pushing him away forcefully with his right hand after the pair got into an argument over Kelly stepping on his shoes.
Given the fact Haas has been in strife with the NRL Integrity Unit several times in recent years, and was banned for three games last year after being found guilty of intimidating police in Tweed Heads on the NSW far north coast.