A big man with a big reputation, Solomon Haumono is a lesson in humility.
Just weeks after training at the Long Life Fight Gym in Las Vegas – famous for hosting Roy Jones Jr, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard – Haumono strolls into Wagga’s PCYC with just a kit-bag and quietly goes about his business.
No entourage. No demands. No trainer. No fuss.
Just a lot of gratitude to mate Anthony McCracken and trainer Terry Neason for having him.
“I used to live in Albury so I love this country and I love all these people,” Haumono said.
“Crackers is a warrior and I’m just thankful to be here.”
The pair go toe-to-toe in a willing sparring session – eight rounds in the heat.
“We’ve always helped each other out. It’s a different side of boxing. A real side of boxing, which is a good quality,” Haumono said.
“People are real, they understand the game.
“The world’s hard enough. Walking out the door there’s all bullcrap, too much fanfare.
“We’re after the same thing. We’ve been in it for a while but we’re still hungry.
“People doubt us but that just motivates us so when we get there it will be sweeter.”
At 40, the former NRL player’s dream of winning a world title is virtually all-or-nothing now at every fight.
He should be in Sydney to fight Marcin Siwy at Luna Park next Thursday but the bout with the unbeaten Pole was cancelled.
“It’s out of your hands, so what do you do? Keep working forward.”
Haumono (23-2-2, 20KO) was hoping for a win to launch him into the WBA top 10 rankings.
He still hopes to land a fight against Australian Lucas Browne or highly-rated Kiwi, Joseph Parker.
“That's a big possibility,” Haumono said.
“Hopefully this can happen really soon so I’m just getting myself in the right frame of mind because it will be a hell of a fight.”
He called out Danny Green at Christmas but that appears unlikely.
“Danny’s Danny. He’s done what he’s done so we’ve got to prove it to him. He can pick who he wants. I put my hand up.”
Haumono played more than 150 NRL and Super League games and has no regrets about not taking up boxing earlier.
“I think everything happens for a reason, hey. I wouldn’t have survived being in it when I was younger. Just my mind wasn’t there and I think it showed on the football field.”
The father of five hesitates when asked if he’d like to see his kids in boxing. Then, with a laugh: “I encourage them to be good at school.”
With that, and two more rounds of thankyous to his hosts, Haumono is gone.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.