BUSY BOY: John Hopoate will fight Paul Gallen before coming to Cherbourg the next day.
BUSY BOY: John Hopoate will fight Paul Gallen before coming to Cherbourg the next day. Rob Williams

Hoppa to 'bash Gal' before coming to Cherbourg

RUGBY LEAGUE John Hopoate will be one of the crowd favourites at the Legends of League game on Saturday, but he has one small thing to sort out before he makes his way to Cherbourg.

Hopoate has accepted the challenge from NRL star Paul Gallen to fight for the Australian heavyweight title.

The two NRL stars will touch gloves in front of a packed Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Friday night.

To date, Cronulla Sharks captain Gallen hasn't lost a fight in his boxing career, but Hopoate is not fazed.

"They think I am going to be an easy match for them, but they have another thing coming,” he said.

"I am going to bash Gal.”

At 45, Hoppa is eight years older than Gallen, but he is confident age won't be a factor in their bout.

"He thinks he is going to win and he thinks I won't get past one round,” he said.

"I'll retire him from boxing and retire him from footy hopefully.”

Hopoate and his wife have 11 children, three of them will be playing for NRL clubs this coming season.

He said all his boys are better players than he was, including Bulldogs star, Will.

"As parents that's what you want, you want them to be better than you,” he said.

His fatherly advice to them all was simple.

"Do as I say and not as I do,” he said.

With so many children, Hopoate said his kids knew they had to perform if he was going to come and watch them play.

"I've got seven boys to watch, I'm not wasting my time coming to watch them do nothing,” he said.

"They don't have to score six tries, just have a dig.”

Hopoate will get the early flight Saturday morning after the Gallen fight and be in Cherbourg ready for the Legends of League 5pm kick-off.

He predicts he will still have plenty in the tank to teach the Cherbourg players a thing or two.

"I will make light work of Gal and I'll be saving all my energy to come to Cherbourg and take it out on the Cherbourg players,” he said.

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