NRL star Papalii boosted by boxing prep | Ralph Lauren

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Seeking to emulate the boxing fortitude in his family, Canberra Raiders and Queensland star Josh Papalii says he has found the right amount of balance in his training in the lead up to the 2021 season.

Papalii, who is in the prime of his footy career, says he’s in the best shape of his life this NRL preseason with a boxing bout still to come against Ben Hannant.

Speaking in Townsville ahead of Friday night’s All Star boxing event, Papalii says not only thinking of the looming footy season has been great for him.

“Yeah, just resetting has been good. Not always thinking about footy and I think the boxing just refreshes me to come in a bit fresher than normal.”

“The footwork is up there, the kind of footwork you need in boxing I can definitely bring that back to my training and footy game.”

The Raiders prop jokingly added along with the fitness and footwork, there isn’t much else to bring to his footy arsenal.

“Only the endurance side of things you probably take out of it or maybe if I get get in a scrap on the field,” he joked.

The Canberra forward is never too far from boxing, with heavyweight cousin Alex Leapai giving him his first pair of boxing gloves.

Papalii headlines the All Stars boxing event as one of the few current NRL players participating.

He added there wasn’t any pressure or expectations from his coaches and teammates down south.

“The club have said there’s no concern about injuries or anything like that. I’ll be wearing head gear and a mouth guard, though there is my sensitive nose and that’s about it.”

“This is very exciting for me as it’s my first time experiencing all this.”

“I get to ride this wave alongside some of my closest mates, my brother and my old man as well.”


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