Aussie bad-boy Quinten Hann swaps his boxing gloves for a snooker cue today as the Totesport Grand Prix enters its third day at Preston’s Guild Hall.
But though Melbourne-born Hann is well known for courting controversy on and off the table, the world number 18 isn’t hanging up his gloves for good.
Quite the opposite. Hann plans to continue the fight game, especially because of his “love-hate relationship with snooker“.
“Some days I love snooker – and other days I hate it,” he admits on the eve of his first-round game against Scotsman Marcus Campbell.
He does have extra incentive to get through on this occasion, with the possibility of a second-round meeting against arch rival Mark Williams.
“I practised hard all last season, the first time that I really put a lot of effort into my game, but I was still disappointed at the end of it,” said Hann.
“I lost four first-round matches last season, although I did reach two quarter-finals and then the semi-finals of the Irish Masters.
“I can’t really explain it. Snooker is good some days, but I enjoy the boxing. I get a real buzz and adrenaline rush out of boxing.
I think people forget I’ve been playing snooker for over 15 years. I’ve lost my appetite a bit for the game. I expected more from last season.
“I’ve never really done that well at Preston, so hopefully I can get past the first round. And if I win I could play Mark Williams in the next round – and I hate him.”
Hann’s well-documented dislike for the former world number one and world champion has led the Aussie snooker player to challenge him to a boxing bout.
As yet Williams has not accepted the invitation from the Aussie who beat fellow snooker player Mark King earlier this year but was beaten by Gaelic footballer Johnny Magee last month in Dublin.
“I broke his nose but I lost on points – I was robbed,” complained Hann.
“I’d love to get Mark Williams in a ring, but he just won’t do it. He’s probably scared of me, although I know he was a good boxer when he was a junior. I think he was unbeaten for 14 fights.
“We’ve been trying to get a fight on, probably in Cardiff because he’s massive there. That would be nice if it could happen.”
Hann claims he has given up alcohol in recent months and taken up other sporting pursuits such as tennis and fishing. Indeed, Hann hints this may be his last season in snooker.
He said: “I’ve got other priorities in my life right now – snooker is just a job.
“I’ve probably played four matches in the last four months, what with boxing and doing other things.
“I’ll just try and do as well as I can and take it from there. I’m not putting any pressure on myself. If I get past the first round I’ll be happy.”
Williams, whose last title success came at the Guild Hall in the LG Cup 12 months ago, meets Irishman Michael Judge in his opening game.
So far the big names have fared successfully, though Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White needed deciding frames yesterday to overcome Jamie Burnett and Patrick Wallace respectively.
Golden oldie Steve Davis, 47, knocked out Sean Storey 5-1 and world number eight Peter Ebdon accounted for Simon Bedford 5-2.
In fact, Matthew Stevens, seeded six, is the only member of the top 16 so far not to have got through.