Hafthor Bjornsson, known by many as ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones, made his eagerly anticipated boxing debut earlier this week against former WBO European light-heavyweight champion Steven Ward.
The 32-year-old, who has reportedly lost a remarkable 110lb since the Hall fight was officially announced, looked in great shape in the three minute, three round fight.
And in the second, he dropped his opponent with a powerful right hand, although it bizarrely hit Ward on the shoulder blade, which caused him to fall over.
Ward, who put on a dominant display in his last professional fight – a highly-anticipated cruiserweight debut against Jone Volau in September, gave Bjornsson some valuable experience in the ring.
The Belfast-born fighter hit ‘The Mountain’ with a number of solid body shots and even left the former strongman with a bloody nose.
But he was floored for a brief moment when Bjornsson connected with a right hand to the back/shoulder blade.
You can see that exact moment of the fight at 54:04 in the below livestream.
So how did this unusual bout between ‘Thor’ and Ward materialise?
The Irishman was first introduced to Bjornsson in Belfast when he was doing some filming and ever since, the pair have kept in touch; although he didn’t actually know who he was at first.
“When they first told me about meeting him [Bjornsson] in Belfast, when this all began, they said that I’ll go down and meet ‘The Mountain’. My reply was ‘who the hell is The Mountain?’ They said ‘Thor’ and I just laughed to be honest.” Ward told SPORTbible before the fight.
“I’d never heard of him. I don’t watch Game of Thrones but he was there and that’s where it all started.”
The 30-year-old, who trains out of Belfast and Manchester at VIP Gym, was involved in Freddie Flintoff’s journey in professional boxing a few years back and sparred the former England cricketer in the build-up to his debut fight against Richard Dawson at the Manchester Arena.
He admits he thought it was going to be a similar situation with Bjornsson but things have “escalated” since.
“I just thought I was going to be going over to do some sparring potentially, help him learn the ropes and give him some experience – trying to help him where I could. But things have just escalated from there.” Wards tells us.
“The big man seems to be taking it very serious and he wanted an opportunity to see what it’s like on the night – to have those butterflies in the stomach while having that feeling of going to the ring.
“You see all these Youtuber’s and stuff doing all these fights but I find this different. He is an elite athlete – he’s the bloody World’s Strongest Man. He’s massive. It’s not like a YouTuber. He’s a professional athlete in his own right and his sport.
“So I thought why not. It’s an opportunity for me to go up against one of the world’s strongest men and it’s nice for me to help him out. I was happy enough with the offer.”