Cronulla star Paul Gallen has confirmed he will return to the boxing ring to fight infamous retired NRL player John Hopoate.
Just weeks after code-hopping superstar Sonny Bill Williams laughed off Gallen's public calls for the pair to trade fists in the ring, it was announced Thursday that Gallen has had to settle for a fight with the 44-year-old former Manly star.
Hopoate fired the first shot after the announcement of their fight came the day after Gallen's coach at Cronulla, Shane Flanagan, was deregistered by the NRL.
"I'll end his sporting career, he can sit in retirement with his coach," Hopoate said.
Hopoate and Gallen will throw down at a Star of the Ring Charity Fight Night at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on February 8. The event will be be broadcast on Main Event.
Gallen has not fought since his unanimous decision victory over Puna Rasaubale in 2017.
The former Sharks captain recently knocked back a chance to fight Hopoate in November, after committing to a rehabilitation program with the Sharks for a shoulder injury he carried through the end of the 2018 NRL season.
Gallen's ducking saw Hopoate come out and publicly slam the former NSW State of Origin captain.
Hopoate told The Sunday Telegraph last month Gallen is a "coward".
"He talks up a big show, he accepted the fight and now they're telling me he won't sign the contract," Hopoate said.
'Either sign the contract or retire from boxing.
"He knows what's happening if he jumps in the ring with me, that he's getting knocked out, and that's why he's running scared and won't sign."
Hopoate was recently spotted re-enacting his infamous "Hoppa" incident when he finger-poked opponents at the Legends of League tournament on the Central Coast last month.
Wearing a white glove, Hopoate appeared to focus on the nether regions of several Newcastle Knights legends during the exhibition event.