Satisfy The Cruiserweight Who Will Combat ‘The Mountain’ Hafthor Bjornsson’s Debut Boxing Battle

It can be just a make a difference of hrs right until Steven ‘The Peaceful Man’ Ward techniques into the ring with just one of the world’s strongest men a 6ft-9inch, 344-pound powerhouse dependable for feats this sort of as shattering a 1,000-12 months-old toughness record by carrying a 32-foot, 1,433lb log for 5 ways, deadlifting 501kg at his gym in Iceland and hurling a 56-pound kettlebell 19 toes.

The activity is a challenging just one. There will be a 133lb excess weight distinction when Ward will come face-to-deal with with his up coming opponent, as properly as a considerable gulf in height but when I request him to make a prediction for the struggle, the calm cruiserweight laughs. “Everybody has a video game strategy till they get punched in the experience,” he tells SPORTbible. “What happens when I strike him in the face? He could go awol and starts wrecking the put!”

Hafthor Bjornsson, recognized by quite a few as ‘The Mountain’ from Sport of Thrones, will make his eagerly-predicted boxing debut in Dubai on January 16 when he faces Ward in three, a few-minute rounds. The Icelandic strongman has stepped up his preparations in advance of an eagerly-predicted bout towards bitter rival Eddie Hall later on this 12 months and he’s designed some really serious development.

Given that the combat was officially declared in Could previous year, Bjornsson has lost a amazing 110lb and now, to his credit history, the 32-yr-aged will take a look at himself towards former WBO European gentle-heavyweight champion Steven Ward an skilled fighter who retains a experienced history of 13-1-, with notable victories towards Liam Conroy, Josip Perkovic and Steve Collins Jr on his file.

Ward, who place on a dominant display in his very last fight – a highly-predicted cruiserweight debut against Jone Volau in September – was very first released to Bjornsson in Belfast when he was undertaking some filming and at any time since, the pair have stored in contact while he did not really know who he was at 1st.

“When they very first informed me about meeting him [Bjornsson] in Belfast, when this all started, they explained that I am going to go down and meet up with ‘The Mountain’. My reply was ‘who the hell is The Mountain?’ They said ‘Thor’ and I just laughed to be honest. I would never ever listened to of him. I you should not look at Activity of Thrones but he was there and that is exactly where it all began.”

The 30-yr-old, who trains out of Belfast and Manchester at VIP Gym, was associated in Freddie Flintoff’s journey in professional boxing a couple several years back and sparred the former England cricketer in the establish-up to his debut battle in opposition to Richard Dawson at the Manchester Arena.

He admits he imagined it was likely to be a related predicament with Bjornsson but items have “escalated” because.

“I just thought I was going to be going over to do some sparring potentially, support him master the ropes and give him some practical experience – striving to assist him in which I could. But factors have just escalated from there.” Wards tells us.

“The big gentleman appears to be to be taking it incredibly major and he wished an prospect to see what it really is like on the evening – to have all those butterflies in the abdomen while obtaining that emotion of heading to the ring.

“You see all these Youtuber’s and things executing all these fights but I find this various. He is an elite athlete – he is the bloody World’s Strongest Man. He’s massive. It is not like a YouTuber. He’s a professional athlete in his very own ideal and his activity.

“So I assumed why not. It is really an possibility for me to go up versus just one of the world’s strongest men and it really is good for me to help him out. I was content more than enough with the provide. In fact, I am pondering 2 times about it now…only joking!”

Ward is unquestionably aware of his opponent’s capability, even with staying sceptical at initially. He has found some actual assure from Bjornsson in a selection of education classes and expects a complicated challenge when they go toe-to-toe on Friday evening.

Footage Of The Mountain Showing His Boxing Skills Emerges And He Looks Frightening
published at8 months back

In actuality, the cruiserweight fighter has supplied some fascinating insight into Hafthor’s preparations in modern months.

“At first I thought he’d be dead sluggish you see these World’s Strongest Guys and things they’re just that large that they usually are not genuinely built for the boxing video game so I expected him to be a plodder around the ring,” says Ward. “But then I noticed him accomplishing some shadow boxing and pads and he really moves properly for the dimension of him. I messaged him expressing “you shift effectively for a massive man.”

“I considered his feet was going to be like led…caught to the floor. But no.

“He’s getting it major y’know. He was telling me about fighters who he’s watched and their various kinds – and how a bigger fighter beats a more compact just one. He’s messaged me before pondering if I could propose a superior venue for a huge audience to assist him produce. The significant person is keen to find out so honest engage in to him.

“And apparently he applied to enjoy skilled basketball as perfectly. So yeah, he moves nicely for a significant lad!”

‘The Mountain’ weighed in at 454 lbs for the duration of his entire world record deadlift final year but the 32-yr-old has misplaced above 100lb since – which is nevertheless much heavier than Ward, who weighed 198lbs in his most current cruiserweight fight in opposition to Jone Volau in September.

The Belfast-born fighter, even so, insists he is not nervous about the body weight difference.

“I am not fearful about it, but it can be of course a contributing variable – the guy is massive.” Ward tells SPORTbible.

“He is a significant lad…so you will bloody know about it (when he punches you). Even if I set my fingers up and he hits me, he’s that robust you’d imagine he’ll do some injury. But there is a massive distinction involving the technique of boxing and throwing a punch – just due to the fact your arms are large will not necessarily indicate you have a tricky punch. You see these fighters that are truly wirey and knock everybody out. It is all about the bodyweight transference.

“1 factor I do surprise is how big the ring will be. Certainly there’s diverse sizing rings and the thing with him is he is a huge lad so will they get a more compact ring? That would limit me staying able to move possibly. It ought to be exciting!”

Ward says he has approached the fight “like any other”, pursuing a demanding regime in the make-up to the Dubai-primarily based party. He has experienced 2 times a working day five times a 7 days and goes for a “large operate” at the time a week.

That remaining claimed, he states it’ll be “great craic” in any case and even fantasised about a probable Rocky-design and style minute.

“I am making an attempt to not assume about it as well a lot. I’m just fired up to get in there. It’ll be a bit of a laugh anyway would not it. It’s going to be fantastic craic.” states Ward.

“He’ll be in there hoping to punch my head off and I marvel what it’s going to be like… whether it will be like an aged tale like a sleeping large. It could all be heading all right until finally I strike him with a clean shot and I then wake that sleeping large. And then he goes mad, picking me up like when Hulk Hogan picked up Rocky in the movie.

“Who appreciates…it may possibly change into a single of those people comedy exhibits!”