On Sept. 18, 2021, in Dubai, UAE, 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Hafthor “The Mountain” Björnsson defeated Canadian arm-wrestler Devon Larratt via technical knockout (TKO) in the first round of their main event boxing match of CoreSports’ Fight Night 3. Larratt was the last-minute replacement for 2017 WSM champion Eddie Hall who had to withdraw from the bout two months beforehand due to rupturing his left biceps in a sparring session.
With only six weeks to prepare, Larratt was a heavy underdog against Björnsson, who held the height, weight, reach, and age advantage. The bout was a quick victory for Björnsson. Hall watched the bout and filmed his live reaction for his YouTube channel. Check out his thoughts below:
Although there is no confirmation of it, Hall alleges that Björnsson’s first two exhibition opponents — Steven Ward and Simon Vallily — were told to go easy on “The Mountain.” Hall is unimpressed by the output in the main event bout that didn’t last a full round. According to Hall’s video, Björnsson landed nine punches to Larratt’s five.
Hall immediately noticed Björnsson’s strategy to strike first and claim control of the center of the ring. A right jab pushed Larratt to the outside, where the Canadian danced a bit to get a sense of Björnsson’s reach. Another flurry by Björnsson was met with a clinch by Larratt before he threw his first punch. The two boxers lost their balance and toppled into a corner, where the referee reestablished the fight.
Hall wasn’t impressed with Björnsson’s seemingly loose jab. Nor was the 2017 WSM champion impressed by how Björnsson threw the punch without much intent of how to follow it up. It was punished by a big right hook by Larratt. Björnsson’s retaliation was a giant cross that sent Larratt backward into the ropes. The referee jumped in to perform a standing count that confused Hall.
I’ve never seen that in boxing before. That’s weird.
Hall had critiques for Larratt as well; mainly about Larratt’s squared stance toward Björnsson, which Hall deemed as “dangerous.” A recurring muttering from Hall while watching the bout was “sloppy.”
The fight was stopped with 20 seconds to go in round one, but Hall was keen to the pace change at the end when Larratt’s cardio seemed to wane.
“When your cardio goes — his arms dropped, he had no…offense or defense,” Hall explains.” Unless you’ve been training for a long time…three minutes is a long time to be in the ring with someone with that adrenaline going.
Hall believes that Björnsson had the skill advantage but thought that gap should have been wider given that the discrepancy in prep time for the bout — 18 months for Björnsson versus six weeks for Larratt.
That’s nothing to be proud of on Thor’s behalf. Not impressed with that, to be honest.
By the end of his reaction video, Hall’s education for ring generalship was apparent. He noticed how Björnsson moved to the right against Larratt, “which is what you do against an Orthodox* fighter.” Despite that, Hall encouraged Björnsson to continue to do what he is doing in training as Hall believes it will result in an easy victory for him when he meets “The Mountain” in the ring.
The Beast vs. The Mountain
There is no current date set for Björnsson and Hall’s eventual match, but CEO of CoreSports Don Idrees has confirmed in an interview with strongman Laurence Shahlaei that the fight will definitely happen. The tentative time frame for the bout at the time of this article’s publication is March 2022.
Hall confirmed that he has returned to training, including sparring three times per week. He has plans in place to spar against legitimate fighters in the coming weeks but is unlikely to share any of that footage as he “only puts out what he wants [us] to see; what he wants Thor to see.”
At the end of the fight, Björnsson called out Hall, saying that he would “knock [him] out soon.” Hall received that by fake crying while squealing that his feelings were hurt. Hall was not impressed with Björnsson’s trash talk. Hall’s confidence after seeing the main event is “through the roof.”
We’ll see come early 2022 if the fireworks that Hall promised at the eventual press conference will be lead to haymakers in the ring.
*An Orthodox boxing stance is where the fighter’s left foot leads. A Southpaw stance is the opposite — right foot leads.
Featured Image: @eddiehallwsm on Instagram