Hafthor Bjornsson's boxing skills looked much improved during a tough test against Simon Vallily in Dubai last night.
The four-round exhibition fight was the strongman's final test before his September 18 fight with arch-rival Eddie Hall.
The bout between the two legends of the strongman circuit has been dubbed ‘the heaviest boxing match in history’ and will take place at the home of boxing, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Against Vallily, Bjornsson performed much better than he had done in his previous outing vs Stephen Ward earlier this year. The Icelandic giant is still wild with the power hooks but did connect with his opponent on a number of occasions, twice bundling a wounded Vallily to the canvas.
That said, though Bjornsson played 'The Mountain' in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, he was certainly not immovable in the ring last night. It definitely wasn't a knockdown, but Bjornnsson stumbled to the mat on one occasion during the third round.
A pair of stinging Vallily left hooks at the start of the second and third rounds caused Thor to stagger slightly, too. But the giant recovered well, showcasing a good chin.
The bout ended in a draw but, considering Bjornsson was in the ring against a professional boxer, he put in a solid performance.
Vallily was complimentary of his opponent's efforts at the bell, stating:
“He’s awkward, he’s a big man, getting physical. I seen his last fight and credit to him, he’s come on a lot. He’s got a lot of potential. I’m not just saying that.”
Delighted to have been given a stern test, Bjornsson was also highly commendatory of Vallily at the end of the fight, stating:
"Simon was a good opponent to me, this was good to test my chin as well as my ability to fight in the ring against a professional.
“He gave me some good shots, good hooks that landed well.
“I was very happy with my performance and I'd like to thank him for coming here to Dubai to have this exhibition match."
The man they call Thor saved his fiercest words for upcoming opponent Eddie Hall, issuing a stern warning to his nemesis from the world of pro bodybuilding:
"Eddie Hall, you better be training your a** off," Bjornsson warned after the exhibition. "Because I'm coming for you, and I'm knocking you out - you're going down.
"I respect you as an athlete, and I know you're training hard, but I am going to knock you out, see you soon!
"Don't miss my fight with Eddie Hall, it's going to be a blast and I promise you I'm doing whatever I can to knock him out in September."
"I have dedicated my life to boxing," he said. "I'm training roughly three times a day and I have a huge respect for the sport because it's absolutely mind-blowing how difficult this sport is.
"I come from a world where you don't have to have a lot of endurance, and this is testing my mental abilities to push hard every day in the ring.
"I used to train six times a week in weight lifting, nowadays I train three times a day, it's so much more and I'm a full-time boxer now and I am absolutely loving it.
The Mountain certainly isn't messing about in the build-up to his clash of the titans with Hall.
Assuming Hall is taking the contest equally as seriously as his Icelandic counterpart, locals may wish to get ready for earthquakes in Las Vegas come September!News Now - Sport News