Boxing: Eddie Hall slammed for 'bullying' sparring partner after footage of Thor's fight emerged

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Eddie Hall has come under criticism for a ‘sparring’ video he released on YouTube over the weekend.

In the last few months, Hall has been training vigorously in preparation for his much-anticipated showdown with former friend and now hated rival Hafthor Bjornsson.

Since his retirement, Hall has been prolific on YouTube, as he grows his brand and stature in the athletics world to even greater heights.

He has been making sure fans, neutrals and perhaps even Bjornsson himself can see his boxing progress, regularly sharing footage of his training in preparation for the big bout. Hall has understandably focused on drills aimed at teaching him the basics of boxing. He has also been seen working on cardio and muscular endurance training.

Last weekend, we got the first serious glimpse of the skill level of Game of Thrones star Bjornsson, when he clashed with Belfast fighter Steven Ward. Cruiserweight Ward’s usual opponents weigh in around the 91kg mark, whilst Bjornsson tips the scales at a whopping 156kg.

Bjornsson’s combinations showed a lot of the same flaws present in his early training videos, as they were very slow, predictable and generally quite easy for Ward to deal with. He did have some positives to take from the fight, however, such as his head movement looking better than is to be expected for a man of such stature, and his jab looking promising. He was also able to knock Ward down to the canvas.

Being in a boxing ring in a recorded exhibition will be great preparation for Bjornsson, providing valuable lessons and in-ring experience with the Hall showdown in mind. Despite the massive size difference, Ward showed intent. Unsurprisingly, the exhibition ended in a draw, as seems customary for these types of fights.

The Icelandic giant Bjornsson gave a message to Hall after his exhibition bout, saying: “Eddie, you just have to train, man. I’m taking this seriously. I’ve seen you training. You been fighting this poor guy. You say you’re training hard. Bro, from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t look good. I promise I will be in the best shape of my life in September and I’ll knock him out.”

Hall responded to Bjornsson’s exhibition with another video post, which has irked fans online.

The video shows Eddie ‘sparring’, and clearly dominating a significantly smaller, passive opponent. Hall furiously attacks his partner, who dons full protection, but offers no real offensive threat at all. It gets to the point where Eddie has him backed into a corner and lays into him with venom.

One commented: “Paddy shouldn’t be a sparring partner; he’s just getting hurt plus he obviously scared of Eddie, so it is useless for both of them.”

Someone else wrote: “Getting boring now, Eddie’s training just seems to be him smacking the hell out of paddy every video."

Another posted: “His ‘sparring partner’ is more like a punching bag."

A fourth wrote: “Eddie and Paddy in that small ring seems like a ‘bullying’ situation to me almost lol.”

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Eddie, although looking the more impressive in training up until his last couple of posts, has made himself an easy target here. Training, in which his opponent offers nothing in return, won’t help him when he faces the 6-foot, 9-inch monster Hafthor Bjornsson.

I’m sure the fans’ comments online will get back to Hall in some way, and he will want to avoid the public perception of him being a flat-track bully.

Bjornsson admitted recently to past steroid use, made false allegations that Hall cheated to win the 2017 World's Strongest Man, and, ironically, video evidence was released that shows Bjornsson to have cheated at that event. These factors meant public perception generally sided with Eddie Hall in the stars’ feud.

However, Hall’s recent training beat-down and Bjornsson taking on a pro boxer in a proper exhibition bout, may start to turn this tide.

Expect an Eddie Hall exhibition bout soon, as he will want to regain the fans’ respect, and make sure he is properly prepared for the big fight.

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