By Danni Levy
Eddie Hall enjoys offloading his final words of warning to opponent Thor Björnsson ahead of their long-awaited bout on March 19th.
The heaviest boxing match in history is just one week away! In the clash of the strongmen we’ve all been waiting for, The Beast Eddie Hall will finally get to face his archenemy, Thor Björnsson in the ring on Saturday March 19th. The event will live stream on SEGI.TV from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
Cruising onto the runway like it’s a trip to the Bahamas, Eddie describes how he’s sitting back, relaxing and “having a wank”, ahead of the date he describes as “the desolation of Thor”.
“We’re both in this for the money, sure, but this is very personal,” Eddie reminds me. We last spoke in July 2021, prior to the bicep injury which forced him to have to postpone the event. “This for me, is revenge. It’s getting my own back. This guy put a black cloud over my win at World’s Strongest Man five years ago. I’ve taken that pent-up anger and I’ve been using it in my training so that I can fight in a more relaxed manner. Boxing is like a game of chess. You’ve got a full board of pieces and with each shot you take a pawn away, then a bishop and then eventually, you’ve got ‘em in the corner. That’s how I’m seeing this. It’s a game of chess to me. I’m going in with a nice, relaxed attitude.”
Eddie has dropped 11 kilos since our last chat and now sits at 147 kilos.
“I did a lot of extra training and cardio on a 12-week camp, then I came down with COVID,” he says. “I was bed ridden for five days. I only just managed to get my temperature down and get well enough to board the flight here to Dubai. “I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying the last bit of bodyweight that came off wasn’t intentional. I’m still on around 6,000 calories a day.
“I’ve never, ever once heard a boxer say, ‘I wish I was weaker for that fight’, or ‘I wish I was lighter for that fight’.”
“The 12-week camp was pretty tough. It’s been non-stop for the last two weeks in Dubai. Now it’s all about just keeping sharp, keeping relaxed and cruising in with a nice, composed mindset. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna get any fitter or stronger in one week. I’m not gonna get any more technical. I’m not gonna learn any new boxing skills. So, I may as well just let my body recover. Staying sharp is the main thing. I’m staying off my phone completely. I’m got my PA with me, so I’m not reading any emails, messages, or social media. I’m just staying away from everything.”
Eddie insists he has all bases covered in order to be able to adapt his strategy on fight night.
“I’m prepared for all circumstances,” he says. “I know I’ve got the potential to knock him out in the first thirty seconds and I’ve also got the potential to go the full six rounds. I’ve been fighting with pro boxers, and I’ve put some pro boxers in their place. I won’t say who or how, I’ll let them come speak for themselves. But I know I can go ten rounds at a very, very hard pace.”
Having previously thought himself challenged in the reach department, Eddie received some welcome news about how his opponents wingspan stacks up.
“The promoter asked me to measure reach and it’s 80 inches, which, believe it or not, is a huge reach for someone my height. I’ve got the same reach as a 6’8” guy. As it turns out, Thor has an identical reach. So, he’s got no statistical advantage other than being taller, which actually makes it easier for me because you’re never as strong punching downwards. You’re always stronger punching upwards. So, I’ve actually got the overall advantage in terms of reach and the height.”
Eddie believes maintaining size is fundamental to putting his opponent against the ropes.
“My goal has been to come into this fight as big, heavy, strong, and fit as possible,” he says. “I’ve never, ever once heard a boxer say, ‘I wish I was weaker for that fight’, or ‘I wish I was lighter for that fight’. I’ve never gassed-out and I’ve never been knocked out. So, at the end of the day, I’m pushing big, heavyweight boxers onto the back foot because of my size, because of my presence. Coming in heavy is a good strategy for me. Thor, for whatever reason, looks like a skinny dog on heat.
“For me, it’s just stupid. It’s supposed to be the heaviest boxing match in history, and he just looks ill. It’s not just me saying that, I see comments all over the place from people asking if he’s sick. That’s not me saying that, but the general public. I think he has genuinely got a problem with cardio. I don’t think he can sustain the full six rounds. I believe that’s why he’s lost so much weight. because his fitness levels are terrible.”
“When someone is coming at you with a bottle or a baseball bat and slashing your face with a knife or trying to stab you with a screwdriver, you gotta think fast, you gotta move fast, and you gotta do things you wouldn’t normally do, like biting their nose off. I’ve done all that stuff and it’s definitely helped.”
“I know for a fact I’m fitter than Thor. I know for a fact I can go for more rounds and that I can hit harder. There’s nothing Thor’s got on me. And now I know we have equal reach, there’s absolutely nothing for me to worry about at all.”
Having sparred with the best in the business, Eddie is feeling confident about his technique.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an accomplished boxer, but the fact that I’m holding my own against high-level fighters who’ve got 60-70 matches under their belt just goes to show I can hang with the pro boxers very, very easily,” he says.
“One of my strongest points is body shots. A lot of boxers tend to go for the head constantly. I’m a very mixed fighter. I go body, head, body, head, body, head. The big difference between myself and Thor is that he’s never had a proper fight in his life, whereas I grew up with these fists. And when you grow up with your fists, you’ve gotta think on the spot. When someone is coming at you with a bottle or a baseball bat and slashing your face with a knife or trying to stab you with a screwdriver, you gotta think fast, you gotta move fast, and you gotta do things you wouldn’t normally do, like biting their nose off. I’ve done all that stuff and it’s definitely helped.”
Eddie claims Thor is scared.
“He’s telling people he’s confident, but when I look into his eyes I see a scared little boy,” he says. “And that’s what Thor is. He’s grown up on his mom’s tit. He’s not been handled very well. His whole life he’s been nurtured, and he’s been surrounded by ‘yes’ men who tell him he’s great. They’d walk around with him at Strongman competitions; one holding his ball bag and the other holding his water bottle. But in the boxing ring, when that bell goes, it’s just me and him. The ‘yes’ men can shout all they want, but they can’t get in the ring and fight for Thor. So that’s his downfall. He’s surrounded himself with ‘yes’ men and it’s given him this false confidence.
“I put on this persona for Strongman as an entertainer. I lift big weights and I fire up the crowd. But people haven’t seen the real Beast yet. And I’m not ashamed to say it, because a lot of us have done it as males. When I was younger, I had a big chip on my shoulder, and I would actively go out looking for fights. I’d fight groups of up to ten people and I used to love it. I’d get them with a baseball bat and stab them in the guts with a screwdriver, or slash them with knives. I’d always come out better than everybody else. And that’s the real Beast. That’s the real personality I’m gonna bring into this ring.
“When I look into his eyes I see a scared little boy. He’s grown up on his mom’s tit.”
“Though he denies it, Thor hates me and I’m fine with that. I hate him, because he put that black cloud over my win. I won the World’s Strongest Man in 2017. And instead of returning home to celebrate, the headlines pointed to Thor allegedly being robbed of the title. Can you imagine, you’ve chased the lifelong dream, you achieve it, and then the next day, a man literally puts a black cloud over your win. I’ve had to live that for five years and even now people are still commenting saying it was fixed because of what Thor said.
“I’ve wanted an excuse to punch this man in the face for a long time. Where I’m from, if someone burns you, you bite their nose off. We had to get along for professional reasons whilst presenting Strongman shows, but this fight- this is real. I’m not a false person. I’m not two-faced. I hate Thor. And he hates me. We’re gonna settle this like men should settle things.
“This will not be left to the referee’s decision. This is either gonna be a knockout, or the fight will be stopped. Thor will either be on his back, or the referee’s gonna save his life before that happens.”
Eddie has solid final prep plans that leave no massage stone unturned.
“I’m staying relaxed for the last few days,” he says. “I’m doing a bit of swimming, a bit of walking, and a bit of boxing. I’m sunbathing, eating nice food, listening to music. This week I’ll do a bit of stretching, a bit of physio, maybe have a wank. There’s no stress on my behalf. As I said, this is a game of chess to me. Of course, I’ve got a lot of pent-up anger, but I’ve used that anger during training. On fight night, I’m playing a game of chess, and that’s it.
“I’m sleeping like an absolute baby. I’m so relaxed. It’s been really nice actually to get away from home, endorsements, sponsors, and ignore my phone. I’m just relaxing. All the family’s flying out for the fight, even relatives I’ve not seen for years who live in Australia. We’ll all go for a beer after I’ve finished with Thor.”
“When I was younger, I had a big chip on my shoulder, and I would actively go out looking for fights. I’d fight groups of up to ten people and I used to love it. I’d get them with a baseball bat and stab them in the guts with a screwdriver, or slash them with knives”.
Eddie reveals he plans to continue boxing and already has an opponent in mind for his second fight.
“I wanna move on to another fight and I know for a fact Thor doesn’t want to rematch,” he says. “I don’t blame him. He knows what’s coming to him and he doesn’t want that to happen twice. At the end of the day, I’ve been boxing for two years, and I’ve put my heart and soul into it, so it’d be a shame to fight once and make an exit. I’d like to carry on. I’m not saying I wanna fight with pro boxers, but I think this sort of clash of the celebrities has really taken off. Mariusz Pudzianowski has been coming onto my channel and having met him, he seems like a nice guy, so it’d be good to do business. It could be another battle of the strongmen. Another clash of the title.”
As I say goodbye to Eddie and prepare to catch up on weigh-in day, he has one last statement to make.
“Just to finish up, Thor’s a cunt,” he says.