Since it was announced that 2018 World’s Strongest Man Hafthor Björnsson will fight 2017 WSM Eddie Hall in September 2021 in Las Vegas, NV, both men have taken their preparation seriously. Hall has chosen a more secretive approach while Björnsson has been participating in exhibition fights to showcase his improvement over the last year.
Before the big showdown in Las Vegas is set to take place, Thor took part in one last fight against pro boxer Simon Vallily, a fighter that has experience and size, to hone his skills. The four-round exhibition fight occurred in Dubai on May 28, 2021, and was hosted by CoreSports. Dubbed “Brunch with a Punch,” the fight was streamed for free on the Coresports.world (upon signing up). Like Thor’s first bout against Steven Ward, this was an exhibition bout, and so no official winner was declared.
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Tale of the Tape
Björnsson weighed 206 kilograms when he pulled the historic 501-kilogram deadlift on the “Feats of Strength” series in May 0f 2020. He has since lost 54 kilograms, with a strict 3,600-calorie diet and conditioning sessions, and revealed a chiseled physique in this bout. At 6’9”, the Icelandic legend weighed 152 kilograms (336 pounds). He was still heavy enough that the ring announcer introduced him as a “titanweight.”
Vallily weighed 114 kilograms (252 pounds) and is 6’3”. He has a professional record of 17 wins with three losses and one draw.
Another key point for this fight was the gloves. While normal competition gloves range from eight to 12 ounces, Björnsson and Vallily wore 16-ounce gloves. Even a few extra ounces can weigh down a competitor’s hands, resulting in less force.
Björnsson vs. Vallily — Play-By-Play
If you missed the action, here’s a quick recap of all four rounds.
There was a lot of caution by both men in the opening round. After the first minute, they began exchanging blows followed by tie-ups. The referee separates the contestants before resuming the round. Vallily connected with a left hand before the round ended, but it didn’t appear to phase Björnsson.
After a brief stand-off at the beginning of round two, Vallily rocked Björnsson with a left hook that knocked him back towards the ropes. Björnsson countered with a right hand that knocked Vallily down. However, Björnsson’s hand speed decreased by the end of the round, highlighting endurance as a potential weakness of the Icelandic native. Though he’s made huge strides, Thor will still likely focus on conditioning leading up to the fight with Hall.
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Vallily showed signs of confidence, dancing around Thor while faking attempts in round three. The British boxer scored a left hook that knocked Björnsson down. This is the first time Björnsson has left his feet in either exhibition fight. With under a minute left in the round, Björnsson returns the favor and knocks Vallily down with a left hook of his own. The two then trade body shots, with each man scoring one more big punch each.
The final round began the same as the first, with both contestants showing caution. Vallily kept trying to lure Björnsson in by leaning toward him, but he never took the bait. There were more tie-ups, and it was obvious neither fighter wanted to leave himself open for a big shot. The fight’s final seconds featured a flurry of jabs and body shots by both men as the bell rang. They hugged after the fight and returned to their corners.
When Vallily was asked to evaluate Björnsson’s ability, he praised the “Game of Thrones” actor for the improvements he had made since his first bout with Ward.
He’s come a long way and definitely improved. Kudos to [Björnsson].
Björnsson appreciated Vallily’s willingness to get into the ring and shared his own thoughts about the bout.
“It was good to test my chin and my ability to fight a good opponent,” said Björnsson. He also talked about the challenge of training for a new sport. “It’s definitely mind-blowing how difficult this sport is, not only physically, but mentally. I trained in strongman six times a week. Now I’m training three times a day.”
Before leaving the ring, Björnsson had one final message for Hall before that big pay-per-view fight in September.
“You better be training your ass off because I’m coming for you, and I’m going to knock you out.”
Featured Image: @thorbjornsson on Instagram