He was one of rugby league’s great cult heroes.
But, these days, George Rose is lighting up a different sport as the CEO of No Limit Boxing.
So, you can imagine he’s grinning from ear-to-ear after his latest bout on 7 July, featuring Tim Tszyu and Michael Zerafa, sold out the newly-named Tszyucastle Entertainment Centre within 24 hours.
“I’m stoked,” he said.
“The response was amazing.
“The first time that we came to Newcastle, we had the fight sell out in eight days, I thought that was really impressive.
“For this to happen so quickly shows how much the local people love the fights.
“And, it’s a credit to Tim and Michael, too.
“They’re two of the best boxers in Australia.
“Novocastrians know this is going to be a fantastic night of fights.
“These guys will really set this place on fire.
“When the Tszyucastle Entertainment Centre is rocking on 7 July, it’s going to be a hell of a night.
“The atmosphere at Newcastle is one of the best experiences I’ve had in this game.
“When I heard the Tszyucastle chants (against Dennis Hogan), I had goosebumps.
“I didn’t realise how many people up here loved Tim Tszyu until then.
“It was unbelievable.
“As a boxing promoter, that’s the kind of thing you want – to be in sold-out venues, where people are absolutely loving it and going nuts.”
Tszyu enters the arena undefeated, with 14 knock-outs to his credit, while Zerafa boasts a 27-4 win-loss record.
Rose had nothing but praise for the pair.
“When you’re at the top of the tree like these guys are, there’s a lot of tension on who’s the best,” he said.
“Essentially, this fight will answer that question in Australia.
“At the moment, Tim is well-regarded as being the best; Michael wants to be that.
“They want to beat each other – you can hear it in their words.
“Tim will be a world champion, that’s a given.
“Michael’s been on that international stage, too.
“He’s ranked No. 8 in the world, he’s a hell of a talent, he’s fast and he’s hungry for this fight.”
However, Tszyu was ready for the onslaught, Rose warned.
“This fight could be anything,” he said.
“One thing I’ve learned about Tim is not to try and predict what he’s going to do.
“Every time he comes out, he shows us something new.
“He’s got that knock-out power, he boasts brilliant skills and he’s smart in the ring.
“Tim’s selling out stadiums.
“Now, he has his own arena named after him.
“But, don’t forget, Michael’s a seasoned boxer.
“He’s only lost to world-rated opponents.
“He is rightfully ranked where he is and one of the best boxers in Australia.
“The calibre these guys are – all it’s going to take is one little lapse and the fight could be over like that.”
As a sportsman, himself, Rose played 154 first grade games in the NRL over a 12-year period, representing the Sydney Roosters (2004-05), Manly Sea Eagles (2006-13), Melbourne Storm (2014) and St George-Illawarra Dragons (2015).
The front-rower also ran onto the field for the Indigenous All Stars on six occasions.
“Boxing is easier when you’re not having to take the hits,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“I’ve always been a fan of the sport – and I absolutely love watching it, especially really good fights.
“One thing I have the power to do is put together top bouts and make a great night of entertainment.”
Rose told fans not to discount former NRL star Paul Gallen’s prospects either.
“He’s unbeaten after 13-odd fights,” he said.
“When you’ve got a record like that, it sort of speaks for itself.
“Gal’s just knocked off an ex-world champion in Wollongong.
“He’s proven he’s capable of being there.
“Like anyone, if you can step into the ring, and put your balls on the line and deliver, you deserve the credibility.”