Paul Gallen has taken to social media to hit back at controversial former NRL player John Hopoate as the pair prepare for their anticipated charity fight at Hordern Pavilion on February 8.
A video filmed by Gallen’s Sharks teammate Andrew Fifita emerged on social media on Monday in which the Cronulla captain took aim at Hopoate vowing to end his boxing career.
Gallen claims the video was sent using a private messaging service, WhatsApp, and was posted to social media by Hopoate without permission.
In the video, Fifita repeatedly screams “he’s coming for ya” while Gallen promises the fight will be “that last professional sports thing you ever do”.
He then took to his own Instagram account to blast Hopoate’s actions and reiterate his threat.
“WhatsApp groups are designed for teams or groups of people where there’s an element of trust there that you don’t share what’s put on there,” Gallen said.
“Andrew Fifita posted a video on a private WhatsApp group and Hoppa has ripped that off and posted it on social media. I think it’s pretty ordinary myself.
“I just want to remind you, Hoppa, and everyone else, that you chased this fight. You’re the one who called me a coward, you’re the one who said ‘sign the contract’ and that I’ll never fight again. Well I’ve signed it mate and I’ll be there. I promise you right now you’re not going to handle what’s coming.
“I’m really looking forward to the night and I’m training hard and I hope you are as well buddy.
“Because like I said on that video, this will be your last fight, you won’t fight again after this because I will knock you out champ.”
The two have traded barbs in the lead up to the charity fight night, with tickets to go on sale this week.
It started when the bout was announced in December, with Hopoate vowing to “bash Gal” despite the eight year break since his last professional fight.
In 2010, Hopoate (12-5, 11KO) was disqualified against Shane Cameron a year after defeating Bob Mirovic for the Australian heavyweight title.
Gallen’s last fight was in 2017 when he won a unanimous decision against debutant Puna Rasaubale. His record is 8-0 with four knock outs.