Justis Huni is out of the Tokyo Olympics after further aggravating existing hand injuries in his TKO victory over Paul Gallen last week.
The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday afternoon reported the news that Huni had been ruled out of the Games and could be sidelined for up to five months, with the boxer himself later confirming the reality on Facebook.
Huni revealed he had needed injections ahead of his fight with Gallen, and was already preparing for surgery once his Olympic campaign was complete. But the fight with the former NRL star clearly exacerbated the problem and has now denied him a shot at Olympic glory.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I announce that my dream of representing Australia at the Olympics this year has been shattered," Huni said.
"Both my hands had been injured during a sparring session leading up to the [Christian Ndzie] Tsoye Fight. I had to have injections into my thumb knowing that surgery would be required after the Olympics to fix it properly.
"In the Gallen fight however, I aggravated both hands in the first round and my team sent me straight for an MRI after the fight which confirmed our worst fears, that I require an operation ASAP on both hands.
"I would like to thank everyone for their support and understanding with this as I am truly guttered [sic] and I know you will be too, but know that I will be back bigger and stronger."
Huni was rated a genuine gold medal chance in the heavyweight division in Tokyo, the 22-year-old using the much-hyped showdown with Gallen as his final tune-up before the Olympics.
The Queenslander had claimed the Australian heavyweight title in his first professional fight in October last year, defeating Faiga Opelu via TKO.
He had then mounted two further successful title defences, plus another TKO non-title victory, ahead of last week's showdown with Gallen, who managed to stay in the contest through to the 10th round despite a barrage of punches.
Huni's withdrawal from the Games is a huge blow for an Australian boxing team that is still searching for a gold medal at the Olympics.
Despite turning professional in October last year, a change in regulations meant Huni was still eligible to compete in Tokyo and the Olympics had remained his chief focus despite the theatrics that accompanied his fight with former NRL star Gallen.
"He's shattered," Huni's father and trainer Rockie told the Herald. "The whole family is shattered, but he took it really bad.
"His brother took it bad, the whole family are pretty much shocked.
"After surgery he will need to wear a sling for six weeks. He should be right to go back after three months, but not full physical contact. That will happen after a five-month period."