After a long road to his first boxing match, which stretched over a year of training, more than 100 pounds of weight lost, and a last-minute change of opponent, former World’s Strongest Man Hafthor Björnsson needed just one round to prove his transformation into the world’s biggest fighter is complete.
Björnsson, a.k.a. The Mountain from his role on Game of Thrones, finished armwrestling champ Devon Laratt by TKO in the first round of their much-hyped boxing match in Dubai atop a card that featured other strength athletes-turned-fighters. Björnsson posted a celebratory photo of himself embracing Larratt in the ring to his Instagram page, thanking his opponent and reflecting on the experience.
“Last night was amazing and I’ll be forever thankful for the experience. There’s no better feeling then the adrenaline you get running through your body when stepping into the ring,” he wrote in the post’s caption. “Thank you @devlarratt for the battle and bravery. You are a champion. Thank you to my whole team, my coach, my wife and all my fans!”
A post shared by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson)
Larratt, who took the fight as a replacement with just six weeks of prep time and no boxing experience, responded to the post graciously. “U r a great champion @thorbjornsson thanks for the experience,” he wrote. He also gave a longer address in a YouTube video. “It’s kind of what I expected,” Larratt said. “It’s nice to feel alive—it’s nice to chase something that’s kind of impossible.”
The matchup was originally slated to feature fellow former World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall, with whom Björnsson has a contentious public feud following their strongman rivalry and Björnsson’s 501kg deadlift in May 2020, which unofficially broke Hall’s record. Both men have documented their transformations and training, trading verbal barbs throughout the process—but Hall suffered a detached biceps injury in August that forced him to withdraw from the match.
That fight is still on the horizon. Björnsson addressed the Hall situation immediately after finishing Larratt in his post fight interview. “Enjoy your life, buddy,” Björnsson said, directed to Hall, according to BarBend. “I’m going to knock you out soon.” Hall responded on social media, commenting on coverage of the fight. “Well done to Thor for beating an old man up with 5 weeks of training,” he wrote, clearly sarcastic. There’s no date set for the clash between Björnsson and Hall, but given the tenor of their responses to each other, a match soon after Hall’s recovery seems likely.
CrossFitters Jacob Heppner and Josh Bridges also fought, with Heppner winning via unanimous decision, according to Sportskeeda. World record-breaking powerlifter Stefi Cohen, also on the card in her second pro boxing match, finished with a draw against Marcela Nieto.
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