On Aug. 8, 2020, 2018, World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Hafthor “The Mountain” Bjornsson announced his retirement from strongman. Part of his decision was to put all of his focus toward training for his upcoming boxing match against 2017 WSM champion Eddie “The Beast” Hall in September 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. There did not seem to be much talk about whether we would see either Bjornsson or Hall in an actual boxing match outside of training before their bout. After all, the hype surrounding “The Heaviest Boxing Match In History” was high from the moment both former strongmen accepted seven-figure contracts for the fight.
However, Bjornsson took to his Instagram page to announce an exhibition bout against Steven “The Quiet Man” Ward on Jan. 16, 2021, in Reykjavik, Iceland. It will be free to watch — further details, such as where to watch, have yet to be announced.
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Who Is Steven Ward?
Steven Ward is a 30-year-old professional boxer from the United Kingdom. According to BoxRec, he stands six-foot, two inches tall and fights with an orthodox stance (meaning he’s right-hand dominant). Since his debut on Nov. 5, 2016, Ward touts a professional record with 13 wins — four of which came by way of knockout — and only one loss. The blemish on his record was served via technical knockout (TKO) by Ricards Bolotniks (17-5) of Latvia on Dec. 14, 2019.
There is a notable difference in weight between Bjornsson and Ward. Ward competes in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions — 81 kilograms (178 pounds) and 91 kilograms (200 pounds), respectively. His last three bouts have been light heavyweight contests. Although Bjornsson has dropped significant weight during his training, he will likely still weigh significantly more than Ward when it’s time to touch gloves.
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Neither Bjornsson nor Ward noted what weight class they would compete at for this exhibition on their corresponding Instagram posts. Considering that Bjornsson weighed well over 400 pounds during his world record deadlift on May 2, 2020, they will presumably be competing as heavyweights (no weight restriction). During his last check-in on Instagram, Bjornsson revealed his weight to be 170 kilograms (374 pounds). That said, despite weighing about half of what Bjornsson weighs, Ward (obviously) boasts the skill advantage.
Rolling With the Punches
This will the first time we will see Bjornsson box in a competitive setting against a professional boxer. Considering that Bjornsson has predicted that he will knock Hall out in the first two rounds of their bout, the expectations are set fairly high for Bjornsson to perform well in this exhibition.
Judging by Bjornsson’s post, he plans to use the exhibition as a learning opportunity to gather real-world experience in the ring:
Stepping in the ring with a professional boxer will not only showcase what I have learned but also give me the opportunity to find out what I need to work on in the months to come.
Regardless of the outcome, the betting odds for “The Heaviest Boxing Match In History” are likely to swing heavily in one direction following this bout.
Featured image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram