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Murray Wenzel

Huni eyes return after injury all-clear

Australian heavyweight boxer Justis Huni is eyeing a return to the ring in March. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Justis Huni has avoided the need for more hand surgery and is eyeing a return to the ring, possibly against Lucas Browne in March.

The Brisbane heavyweight is 7-0 and has world title ambitions, but was facing the prospect of a quiet 2023 after injuring his knuckles in a bruising defeat of Kiki Leutele in November.

It was feared Huni had suffered the same injury that ruled him out of the Tokyo Olympics, with surgery and subsequent logistical disruptions keeping him out of the ring for 12 months.

But long-time manager Mick Francis confirmed to AAP that the 23-year-old's hands had healed well and he would return to full sparring sessions soon.

Francis said they would steer away from using the less-protective horsehair gloves Huni wore against Leutele that contributed to the damage.

"His hand's fine and we'll look at different gloves, mix things around," Francis said.

"They get sore after each fight, but only for a week or two and sort of come good again. The doctors have had a look and don't quite understand it."

The Tasman Fighters CEO said he had been in discussions with Browne, ranked No.10 in the WBO standings, as one of four fights this year. The bout would take place at the Fortitude Valley Music Hall on March 17.

Francis also hopes Huni will fight twice in the US this year.

Veteran Browne reignited his career with an upset first-round stoppage of Junior Fa in June, and was due to headline a lucrative December bout in Dubai that was abruptly cancelled.

Huni moved to No.15 in the WBO rankings after his defeat of Leutele, and Francis said victory over Browne would likely see his charge move inside the top 15 in three of the four major organisations.

"Lucas is so dangerous; Justis needs to be on his game because Lucas can knock anyone out in one punch," Francis said.

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