Combat sports is in a weird place. The most famous fighter on the planet is a YouTuber who has never faced a professional boxer. His next opponent, in one of the year’s biggest fights, is the 2019 Love Island runner-up. Meanwhile, UFC head honcho Dana White has taken time out from having public altercations with his wife to found the CTE-magnet that is the Power Slap League.
It is into this circus-mirror landscape that Misfits Boxing bring us the very first tag team boxing match. Taking the tag-in-tag-out principle of one of pro wrestling’s signature matches, Luis Pineda and B-Dave will face Stromedy and Austin Sprinz. The card, which in true Misfits fashion features all your favourite YouTubers, influencers and OnlyFans models, takes place at the prestigious Telford International Centre on 4th March.
In celebration (or is that lamentation?) of this fistic first, The Sportsman have compiled a list of some of the strangest boxing and MMA fights in history.
Larry Holmes vs Butterbean
‘The Easton Assassin’ has gone down in history as one of the greatest heavyweights ever to lace the gloves. Known for a piston-like jab and a confidence that some misread as surly arrogance, Holmes shepherded heavyweight boxing from the Muhammad Ali era to the age of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, fighting both in the process.
In his final fight, he threw a hand grenade into any boxing game of “Six Degrees of Separation” by fighting Jackass star and ‘King of the Four Rounders’, Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch. At the age of 52, Holmes scored a unanimous decision over his younger, more powerful but less-skilled foe. In doing so, he allowed trivia buffs to link ‘Butterbean’ to almost every notable heavyweight in history in a couple of moves.
Royce Gracie vs Akebono
We are used to consuming MMA as a tightly-regulated sport predicated on rules and regulations. But it hasn’t always been that way, with Japan embracing the openweight version of the sport long after UFC established weight divisions.
Take this bizarre mismatch. Three-time UFC tournament winner and MMA pioneer Royce Gracie, all 176lbs of him, faces sumo legend and 484-pounder Akebono. Despite the incredible size difference, BJJ master Gracie submitted the sumo star in less than three minutes. A true triumph for the little guy.
Wisemen vs LPH
Misfits aren’t the first organisation to go, “what if we did fights, but with more people?”. Team Fighting Championship went viral in 2014 for a clip of a wild five vs five bout staged on one of their cards.
The clip shows a chaotic battle royale break out between Sweden’s Wisemen team and Poland’s LPH. The somewhat uncomfortable ending arrives when the entire LPH team batter a grounded member of the Wisemen. In future they should probably stick to bringing myrrh to the births of important children.
Triller Triad Combat
From the company that brought you the very successful return of Mike Tyson and the downright horrific return of Evander Holyfield comes a pioneering combat sports concept. In a series of moves literally nobody asked for, the fights take place in a boxing ring that’s triangle shaped for no reason, the rules are specially designed to allow more clinches. You know, that element of fighting that everyone loves? Clinches?
The fights were contested between boxers and MMA fighters because we seem to live in an era where no one can just fight people from their own sport. At least Metallica played a set at one of the cards meaning you could listen to Master of Puppets and pretend you were watching something entertaining, like Stranger Things, rather than Triller Triad Combat.
It’s one of the most iconic fight commentary cliches. When two combatants are throwing hands at close quarters, inevitably an analyst will yelp “you could put this one on in a phone booth!”. Well, somebody did.
Phone Box is a fight concept that does exactly what it says on a tin. Two fighters step into a stylised London phone box and smash each other’s faces in. It evokes the Crystal Maze’s climactic dome game, but instead of collecting bits of shiny paper you’re collecting another man’s teeth.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change