It was always going to be the biggest test of Renold Quinlan's career and he knew there was only one way out. He needed to knock out the Australian boxing legend Daniel Geale.
Geale, 35, is among the most decorated fighters Australia has produced in the last decade; a former unified middle weight world champion who, unlike Danny Green or Anthony Mundine, was forced to travel abroad, to Germany, to secure his biggest wins.
Renold Quinlan on the other hand was a nobody; just another journeymen battling it out on undercards and in RSL bouts around the nation's rural and regional fringes.
Born in Port Macquarie, on the NSW mid-north coast, Quinlan is the son of an Aboriginal Dunghutti man and a Fijian mother. He spent his youth in the often-thuggish West Sydney zones of Minto and Rosemeadow before eventually settling in Redfern, the famously black suburb in the city's centre.
Boxing is in the blood for Quinlan. His grandfather, Sailosi Vatubua, represented Fiji at the amateur level and won the gold medal at the 1966 South Pacific Games in Nouméa. His indigenous heritage, meanwhile, brought him in close contact with Anthony 'The Man' Mundine. The two became sparring partners with Quinlan fighting on a number of Mundine's undercards.
After winning his first pro fight in 2008, Quinlan took a two year sabbatical from boxing. He returned in 2010 to claim another TKO win over Mick Porter in Newcastle before taking another two year lay-off from fighting between 2011 and 2013.
When he eventually choose to stick with the sweet science he carved a swathe through Australia's middle weight ranks on his way to an 8-0 record and a showdown with Jake Carr in 2014 for the Australian Super Middleweight Title at the Hordern Pavillion in Moore Park, Sydney. The fight went the distance but Carr took the cake in a unanimous points decision. It was a lesson. When you're up against the champ you gotta knock 'em out.
When the opportunity to fight Geale came up many close to Quinlan warned him not to take it. He was not inexperienced enough, they said. Geale would have too much class.
When the date and venue for the fight had to be rescheduled following the passing of Geale's mother - it was moved from Leumeah, in Sydney's west, where both fighters had lived, to Launceston, in Geale's home state of Tasmania - it ensured there was only one way out. A hometown fight against a legend of Australian boxing meant a knockout or nothing.
"A lot of people told me not to take the fight with Geale, said it was too early in my career, but I wouldn't have taken it if I wasn't sure that I was ready," said Quinlan.
Sitting in the change rooms prior to the fight, Quinlan asked asked an official to grab a texta and write the number "7" on his strapping.
"I said to him, 'write 7 on both of my wraps because this fight is not going past the seventh round', I was very confident I would stop him," he said.
It took a lot less than that. After dominating the opening round, Quinlan let rip a mega left-right combo that floored Geale in the second. When the Tasmanian tried to get up he stumbled forward into the ref, leaving the official with no choice but to stop the fight. It was the biggest boil over in Australian boxing since South-Sydney brawler, Garth 'The Hood' Wood, won The Contender reality TV program and knocked out Anthony Mundine six years earlier.
"I got an opportunity and I took it, and this will open doors for me. I am ready to be Australia's next boxing superstar," he told Fox Sports afterwards.
"Now that I have a version of the world title I'm ready to take on anyone at super middleweight, or I'll even fight the big names at middleweight. Let boxers like Felix Sturm and Badou Jack know I'm ready, or I'll happily take on GGG."
"I'm putting the world on notice. I'm ready to be Australia's next boxing star. I'm in a place where no man will get in my way."