What happened when the two world’s strongest men met in the boxing ring

What happened when the two world's strongest men met in the boxing ring

Heavyweight boxing is for wimps. How about a “Titanweight” fight? Eddie Hall: The Beast vs The Mountain (BBC Three) charted the build-up to what was billed as the biggest, strongest, heaviest boxing match in history. If you’re partial to beards, tattoos and thunderous punching, you were in for a treat.

 

Since a dramatic bust-up in 2017, the two former World’s Strongest Man champions had waged a bitter rivalry. Stoke-on-Trent cult hero Eddie “The Beast” Hall and Icelandic giant Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson (aka The Mountain from Game of Thrones) were pals until Bjornsson accused Hall of cheating. For Hall, this was unforgivable. He took up bodybuilding to help his teenage mental health issues, using it as “a coping mechanism and void-filler”. He’d promised his beloved gran on her deathbed that he’d one day win World’s Strongest Man. For sore loser Thor to spoil his redemptive moment rankled. They agreed to settle the score in the ring. As Hall’s wife Alex said, it was “a fight for his happiness”.

 

Cameras got an intimate view of Hall’s cosy domestic life. We saw his obsessive training regime and strict diet, eating £20 worth of smoked salmon each day. No wonder Alex got funny looks in Tesco. We witnessed an injury setback, when he tore his bicep, and subsequent surgery.

el blends weight loss and diet

 

Come fight night, this admirable film – made by Louis Theroux’s company – faltered. Shoddy action photography only made you appreciate how well the sports channels do it. The film was a little too in thrall to hype, money and social media bluster. The Rocky-style narrative had a surprisingly downbeat ending when the judges awarded victory to Bjornsson. His superior reach and technique had overcome Hall’s bullish aggression and punching power. “Like being hit by a bread van,” as his trainer described it.

 

Hall’s wife worried what this “man of extremes” might do if he lost. Thankfully he was philosophical, taking comfort from his close family. “Sometimes you need a nudge to realise how lucky you are,” he said. There was beauty in this beast.

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