Jack Beeston is back; this time he takes us through some of the ring-walks that have stuck in his mind over the years.
“Most guys lost the fight before they even got hit… when I come out I have supreme confidence… the closer I get to the ring the more confident I get…once I’m in the ring I’m a God… I never take my eyes off my opponent… As soon as he looks away I know I have him”. Mike Tyson on the art of the intimidating entrance.
A good ring-walk can overawe your opponent before you even land a glove on them, but a bad one might haunt you forever. Here is a look at some of my favourite entrances, as well as a couple that make me laugh.
- MIKE TYSON v Donovan “Razor” Ruddock II ‘Welcome to The Terrordome’(Public Enemy)
“The baddest man on the planet”, Iron Mike was the absolute epitome of intimidation, I could have picked any of his ring-walks, but his second bout with Razor Ruddock to Public Enemy’s classic Welcome to the Terrordome seemed to have the appropriate ring to it. Entering without any of the crappy advertisement- splayed t shirts we see so often, Tyson came to the ring in a loose white over- shirt and his trademark plain black trunks looking like a man who was there to do one thing and one thing only: win.
His second fight against Ruddock was arguably one of the last great Tyson performances, though many would argue that even by 1991 he had already lost what made him so special under Cus D’Amato. Either way, this ring walk, combined with one of the greatest Hip- Hop songs of all time brings me goosebumps every time I see it.
- NASEEM HAMED v Wayne McCullough ‘Thriller’ (Michael Jackson)
Before Nigel Farage and Co pissed all over Britain’s credibility as a cool country, “Prince” Naseem Hamed was part of a wave of cult British figures in the 1990s who made Britain the coolest country on the planet. Somehow, the city of Sheffield produced a boxer who danced his way to the ring, wore leopard print trunks, vaulted over the ropes and had an explosive punching and stance style more akin to a fencer than a conventional British boxer. Naz was the most exciting boxer this country has ever produced, and his ring walks suited that title.
Hamed’s alluring PPV status led to corporate backing for his entrances, which meant they were always extraordinarily over the top. I could have picked any one of many ridiculous examples, however my favourite was against Wayne McCullough. The fight took place on Halloween, and Naz entered (perhaps inappropriately) through a fake graveyard while Michael Jackson’s Thriller played, a song perfectly befitting the occasion and the fighter himself- Naz went on to win by unanimous decision.
- WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO V Everyone ‘Can’t Stop’ (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Despite his slightly cringeworthy behaviour in the ring with Anthony Joshua at the weekend in which he sounded more like a robot than a human being, Wladimir Klitschko has had his ring-walk tune sorted for years now, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ classic Can’t Stop provides the perfect backdrop to the entrance of the man who dominated heavyweight boxing for so long, with the example below incorporating a light show that Chillis would surely admire.
- RICKY HATTON v Pauli Mallignagi ‘Ricky Fatton/ Blue Moon’ (Various Artists)
Ricky Hatton’s unrivalled popularity in this country was largely due to his down to earth character and exceptional sense of humour.
Having come under criticism for his yo- yo dieting in between fights, the Hitman entered the MGM Grand in a fat suit accompanied by a personalised jingle mocking his weight, which gave way seamlessly to Man City’s anthem Blue Moon. Whatever his weight before training camp, Hatton still went on to win the fight by TKO in the 11th, and left with his belts.
- ANTHONY JOSHUA v Dominic Breazeale ‘Talking the Hardest- Anthony Joshua Dubplate’ (Giggs)
AJ’s ring-walks tend to take longer than his fights, but this one stood out for me. Here, AJ entered London’s O2 arena to a dubplate version of Giggs’ classic Talking the Hardest, a song that was subsequently and hilariously described by a music publication as ‘The National Anthem of London’. Additionally, Joshua wore an all- white robe as a tribute to Muhammad Ali who had died just weeks before, drumming the crowd up in to a frenzy which Ali himself would’ve been proud of.
Joshua refers to the 02 as the ‘lion’s den’, having won his IBF strap there and he has fought in the dome on multiple occasions. Here, Breazeale played the role of Lion-prey well, getting a shellacking for 7 rounds before eventually hitting the canvas.
… The Bad:
- SCOTT QUIGG walks to the ring from home
Scott Quigg is about as exciting and charismatic as McDonald’s cheese, and here he proved that with a very strange and entirely embarrassing ring-walk.
Whether this was an attempt at something exciting on a shoestring budget or simply a publicity stunt gone wrong, Quigg’s ring-walk started AT HIS MUM’S HOUSE (where, despite his riches, Quigg still lives) in Bury, and ended in the ring, just streets away. The sight of Quigg walking the streets of Bury in full boxing gear and in broad daylight is genuinely bizarre, and is made worse by the soundtrack: one of Eminem’s “shouty” later body of work which, combined with the strange scene, makes for hilarious viewing.
- USMAN “UZZY” AHMED v Ashley Sexton
For every Naseem Hamed there is an Uzzy Ahmed, and boxing is a sport that will very quickly bring you down to earth (literally) if you can’t walk the walk to match your talk.
Dancing his way through the arena in true Naz style, Uzzy’s exploits inside the ring didn’t match the great Prince. Going head to head with Sexton on his arrival and generally giving it large, Uzzy proceeded to get knocked out in genuinely horrific fashion in the second minute. The video has since been viewed nearly TEN MILLION times, and the now 35 year old Ahmed sadly boasts a losing record, with his most recent fight taking place in a leisure centre in Leicestershire.
… and The Ugly
FLOYD MAYWEATHER v Oscar De La Hoya ‘Straight to the Bank’ (50 Cent)
I’m going to be honest, I nearly put this in the worst entrances category, but coming out to fight the great Mexican- American Oscar De La Hoya… on Cinco De Mayo…with 50 Cent…in a sombrero and poncho, and then going on to win is nothing if not memorable, despite the highly dubious nature of the stunt.
Mayweather beat the much loved and widely admired Golden Boy via a split decision, and while I seriously dislike the man you have to admire the sheer not-giving-a- fuck-edness on display in this entrance. In any case, the fact that he now enters the ring with Justin Bieber and not 50 following their spectacular bust up is a sure sign of decline if I’ve ever seen it.