Sonny Bill Williams has blasted Barry Hall as a ‘bully’ and vowed to ‘shut him up’ as unease escalates ahead of next Wednesday’s fight in Sydney.
The former football stars are the real deal as boxers with Williams a former New Zealand heavyweight champion and Hall a former junior Golden Gloves champion.
Williams, 36, has left no stone unturned in his preparation, spending six weeks in the UK training with world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Kiwi slugger Joseph Parker and respected Irish trainer Andy Lee.
TURF WAR: Sonny Bill Williams vs. Barry Hall, live and exclusive on Stan Event, March 23. Buy the event now on stan.com.au/event
And as Hall prepares to train with UFC star Alex Volkanovski in Wollongong tomorrow, Williams has delivered a first verbal jab at the AFL great.
“I’m not a talker but the last few months have really shown me what kind of character Barry is,” Williams said after his final serious training session at his gymnasium in Carlton, Sydney’s south.
“He’s not a spring chicken and looks like he’s looking for that star. I know I represent the rugby and league crowd and it’s time to hopefully silence the bully.
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“He was a bit of a bully on the pitch, so it’s going to be good to get in there and have a fight with a bully.”
Williams is 8-0 in his professional boxing career while Hall, 44, has only one professional fight on his resume, the controversial 2019 draw against Paul Gallen.
But Williams hasn’t had a serious boxing challenge in seven years and admits he needed to search to rediscover that ugly edge.
“When you have kids it softens you up, that’s natural. But training with world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and one of the best heavyweights in the world in Joseph Parker, learning from Andy Lee in Ireland – it’s very uncomfortable,” admitted Williams.
“Training in different gyms, training with different guys that I’ve never met before, European champions, going through it all and sticking it out, growth comes from that.
“It’s going to put me in a good position next week…six weeks of hard work in the UK, but it’s made me really determined to get in there and hide Barry. Take the frustration out.”
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