2023 State of Origin - QLD v NSW: Game 1
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Tevita Pangai Junior of the Blues looks on after defeat during game one of the 2023 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues at Adelaide Oval on May 31, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Former NSW Blues front-rower Tevita Pangai Junior has made an astonishing admission ahead of his first boxing fight since departing the sport of rugby league.

Months after being selected to represent the NSW Blues in Game 1 of the 2023 State of Origin series, Pangai Junior confirmed a bombshell announcement that he would step away from the game to pursue a career in boxing.

The 27-year-old has played with the Bulldogs since joining them at the start of the 2022 season. That came after a short six-game stint at the back end of 2021 with the Penrith Panthers and 96 games with the Brisbane Broncos between 2016 and 2021, in which he would play under Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett.

Pangai Junior has now made a surprising statement that he will earn more money boxing and that he will become the next heavyweight champion of the world.

“I want to be the best, I want to be world champ. That's what I want to do,” Pangai said via the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I want to be bigger than Choc [Mundine]. He's the man, but I'm the ‘Bad Man'. That's my new nickname.

“We hope Fury retires in the next two or three years, and then it hopefully opens up. He's a bit too tall for me, but anything is possible.

“Look at what Jai [Australian world champion cruiserweight Jai Opetai] did on the weekend, he smashed a British guy who was six-foot-seven. It's about precision in boxing.”

NRL Rd 8 - Bulldogs v Roosters
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Tevita Pangai Junior of the Bulldogs looks on during the round eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia on April 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

“I didn't leave for happiness, I left for money,” he added.

“I know what I can do, I'll back myself. I will make more than $750k. I will make that this year alone.

“I'm gonna be busy, I'm going to dedicate my life. I've already told my wife, she needs to buy into this lifestyle because I won't be at home, I will be in the gym.”

"I want to be bigger than Choc [Mundine]. He's the man, but I'm the ‘Bad Man'."

Tevita Pangai Junior will take on Frank Amato in his third professional boxing bout.