The long-awaited matchup between Hafþór ‘Thor’ Björnsson and Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall is set for September 2021, but KSI’s boxing coach Viddal Riley is already seeing holes in the former’s game that needs improvement.
The 23-year-old trainer is squarely in Hall’s corner for the matchup, but gave Björnsson’s pro boxing debut an honest look. While he liked how the 2018 World’s Strongest Man looked in the ring, his technique in trading blows has to be better, according to Riley.
“Thor, don’t run in again,” the coach said after seeing the 6’-9’’ fighter leaning too far into his jabs and charging into his opponent. While he did see a lot of things that needed improvement, KSI’s trainer said it was typical for a new boxer to find his range with those kinds of swings.
Riley identified that his jab looked more like ‘paw’ in that Björnsson swung at his opponent instead of looking to land a straight hit. By extension, this makes it hard for the boxer to pinpoint his range, hurting his chances at landing meaningful blows.
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This contributed to the weakest part of Björnsson’s game that Riley thinks needs to improve before the September fight against Hall: getting pushed back.
“What you got to worry about, if you’re Thor, is that if Steven Ward is pushing you back, I’m pretty sure [Eddie Hall] can push him back,” he said.
Maintaining your position in combat sports is pivotal to not only executing your game plan but keep from getting tired so early in a fight.
The 32-year-old lost about 110lbs (50kg), so there’s no question that he’s committed to giving himself the best chance against Hall. However, Riley thinks that he still has a way to go before his dance with The Beast.
Some of the problems are only going to get fixed by spending more rounds in the squared circle, but KSI’s coach simply doesn’t want to see the hulking Thor lunging into his opponents.
Both Hall and Björnsson have been seen tirelessly training for their boxing career, and both have a few more months to clean up their form before they meet in the ring.