By: Sean Crose
Boxing and professional wrestling have always had a mutually beneficial relationship. Bring in a big time fighter from the sweet science and the wrestling ring starts to sizzle. One needn’t think of the outrageous Muhammad Ali – Antonio Inoki bout of 1976 to grasp the relationship between professional grappling and professional fisticuffs. One needn’t even have seen the infamous Hulk Hogan scene in Rocky III (though one is well advised to if one hasn’t). All anyone has to do to understand how well the relationship works is look back at Floyd Mayweather’s battle with wrestler Big Show at WrestleMania 24.
For the boxing/wrestling connection, more often than not, tends to be wildly over the top and fun…as wrestling at its best should be. Over the past several days, the connection has reared its head again, as Tyson Fury – the undefeated heavyweight some argue is the lineal champion of the world – has made his presence felt in the world of WWE. On Friday, Fury was spotted ringside at a televised event, the program SmackDown. During the course of the evening, Fury ended up in the ring, going face to face with Braun Strowman, a top wrestler roughly the same height as the nearly seven foot tall boxer.
Things came to a head Monday evening when Fury was once again showcased in front of a live and broadcast WWE audience. As Sky Sports puts it: “there was another head-to-head between the two giants last night too, with things reaching a boiling point when Fury taunted Strowman about the lack of heavyweight title victories in his career.” Strowman then attacked Fury, security got in between the two, and the now full blown enemies were kept away from each other…until Fury knocked out the security guards. The two brawlers subsequently ended up getting it on in the ring until a bevy of wrestlers broke them up. It was a classic boxing-wrestling scenario (some might even call it high art), one which will undoubtedly lead to other noteworthy events. Don’t be surprised to see Fury in the role of pro wrestler in the very near future.
Not that Fury will leave boxing behind. There’s a major rematch with Deontay Wilder in his planned future, so long as Wilder defeats Luis Ortiz in a rematch of their 2018 battle on November 23d. Yet there are, admittedly, far less entertaining ways for Fury to spend his time before facing Wilder again. Loud, obnoxious, and frequently funny, Fury is a boxer born to be embraced by pro wrestling fandom. In a sense, he is taking up the torch as part of a long tradition.