NRL great Paul Gallen has revealed his struggle to find sparring partners willing to help him prepare for his fight against UFC icon Mark Hunt.
Gallen will fight Hunt at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium on December 16. The former NSW State of Origin captain is already dealing with the effects of a torn bicep, hoping that he will get about one month’s worth of sparring before the heavyweight bout.
Gallen (9-0-1, 5 KOs) told Wide World of Sports that he’d only just managed to assemble adequate sparring partners, given Hunt’s standing in the fight game. The ‘Super Samoan’, the UFC’s former walk-off KO king, is widely revered.
“That’s been a bit of an issue this time actually, getting sparring partners. Because he’s such a big name and such a big legend, there’s a lot of guys who are reluctant to help you train because of who he is,” Gallen said.
“I can understand part of it but at the end of the day, there’s only a limited number of heavyweights in Sydney. Everyone sort of helps everyone where they can and if you ended up fighting one day, you end up fighting.
“But it was a bit of a struggle at the start to find sparring partners. We ended up picking up some and we should be OK going forward.”