Tony Galati has gone from Spud King to king of the ring.

The Spudshed owner pulled on gloves and headgear to take part in The Corporate Boxing Event for Strong Minds Strong Mines on Saturday night at Crown Perth in front of a cheering crowd.

Galati went toe-to-toe with professional boxer Daniel Smith in the exhibition match, and said he “actually went pretty well” in the stoush.

He added he “pulled up a bit stiff” on Sunday morning but otherwise suffered no injuries in the ring.

“It was a privilege to be fit enough at my age to give it ago last night and raise money for charity,” Galati, 60, said.

“It just goes to show that if l can do it, anyone can do it.”

Galati’s son Frankie was also among the nine Perth identities and chief executives who took part in the challenge, which was the culmination of a 12-week training intensive with three-time UFC World Champion Soa “The Hulk” Palelei.

The event raised more than $50,000 for a series of charities, including the WA School of Mines Alumni.

Strong Minds Strong Mines is an initiative of Macmahon Holdings that provides mining companies with the tools to improve the wellbeing of their staff.

Palelei said he was proud of the rookie boxers for raising awareness around mental health through their participation.

“Breaking the stigma around mental health is key regardless of what industry you’re in, as we know it can affect anyone in any occupation,” he said.

TONY Galati has gone from spud to stud after dropping 20kg in 12 months with the help of former UFC heavyweight Soa “The Hulk” Palelei and personal trainer David Lindsay.

Palelei was shocked to learn the potato king worked out in the same blue singlet and shorts ensemble which had helped make him a WA icon.

“I don’t think I’ve seen him wear anything else,” Palelei said.

Galati, now 100kg, trains at a gym he set up at his O’Connor freezer depot.

The 55-year-old was never a couch potato but he was eating lots of fast food while working long hours, from 4am to 8pm, six days a week.

Galati has applied that same work ethic to his exercise regimen, religiously working out six nights a week.

He even manages to squeeze in workouts in between meetings.

“You have to be fanatical about it,” Galati said.

“Whatever you do, you have to give it your best shot and never give up.”

Galati has ditched the meat pies and now eats mainly protein, fruit and vegetables, while still indulging in his beloved potatoes.

His sons Sebastian, 25, Frankie, 26 and Anthony 23, also use the gym.

Sebastian first inspired his workaholic father to exercise.

“He said ‘Dad, if you just workout 45 minutes a day, you will live 15 years longer’,” Galati recalled. “Imagine how much more work you can do in 15 years.”

Palelei trains his other clients at the gym and receives an endless supply of free potatoes. “And let me tell you, Soa can eat a lot of potatoes,” Galati said.

Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is set to take on UFC and PRIDE veteran Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei in a charity boxing match.

Johnson has been training with Palelei, who retired from mixed martial arts in 2015 with a 22-5 record that included 18 knockouts, for several weeks ahead of the bout and is raising money for the Coeliac Research Group.

Part of the proceeds from the Corporate Boxing Event which will take place at Perth’s Crown Casino will go to the charity, which holds a special place in Johnson’s heart. “We have a daughter who suffers from coeliac,” he told the Daily Mail.

Luckily for Johnson, Palelei has said he will ‘look after’ him in the ring, with the former MMA star adding that he “can throw a punch”. He told the West Australian : “We’ve been doing some training and he’s pretty good.

“He can throw a punch. But we just want people to step into the ring with a professional boxer or a fighter and they’ll be looked after.

“It’s their night to shine and they won’t get hurt.” The event will also be raising money for the Strong Minds programme, which Palelei has worked with as mental health ambassador since surviving a suicide attempt.

Palelei works closely with their Strong Mines and Strong Schools arms, adding: “I’d been troubled, going through depression and anxiety. If it wasn’t for my oldest daughter, I wouldn’t be here.

“I still have my moments, but I share my story and hopefully it can empower and encourage people to tell their story and it’s about them having the courage to reach out.”


Chief executives and members of parliament from Perth will be pitted against professional athletes as part of a corporate boxing event to raise money for important organisations working in mental health and scholarships to the School of Mines WA. On Saturday, November 13, Member for Jandakot Yaz “The Mumbai Express” Mubarakai will take part in the event in Burswood where he will face former amateur MMA fighter Tasi “The Iceman” Kalolo.

The contenders receive 12 weeks of intensive training with experienced boxers before they enter the arena, allowing them to showcase their strongest mental and physical abilities. Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei is a former MMA fighter who is the leader of an award-winning program called Strong Minds, Strong Mines, aimed at helping with the high rates of mental health issues on mine sites and with FIFO workers broadly. Through the assistance of Mr Mubarakai, Soa is expanding his program to include a new program, Strong Minds, Strong Schools, aimed at school age students who also often struggle with mental health issues.

Strong Mind, Strong Schools will be an eight-month program rolled out to participating WA schools, beginning with the south metro area. The program will aim to reach students and educate them about mental health and break the stigma around it. The program addresses many different subjects about mental health and educates students on strategies to build and maintain good mental wellbeing.