13 of the most iconic ring walks in boxing history

With no imminent boxing action to get our teeth into, all we have to hold onto this summer is nostalgia. 

Many will have wondered how Anthony Joshua would have graced the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ahead of his clash with Kubrat Pulev. 

The fight itself may not have gone down in heavyweight history, but sometimes we remember these nights as much for the spectacle beforehand as the bout itself. 

Some of the most memorable encounters were etched into our collective consciousness as much for the ring walks as what happened afterwards. 

Mike Tyson was the master of terrifying his opponents before a punch had even been thrown, while Tyson Fury is all about the entertainment factor.

But come up with an iconic ring walk, and chances are you’ll be written into folklore. 

13. Conor McGregor (vs Floyd Mayweather, 2017)

McGregor’s entrance to ‘The Foggy Dew’ is par for the course, but this was the only time we’ve seen him step into a boxing ring accompanied by the dulcet tones of Sinead O’Connor. 

12. Nigel Benn (vs Steve Collins, 1996)

Four months after announcing his retirement in the ring, the middleweight returned with a laser show, his silhouette being met with raucous cheers from the crowd before entering alongside the legendary Frank Bruno. 

11. George Groves (vs Carl Froch, 2014)

The Londoner pulled out all the stops at Wembley Stadium with an open top red bus, a reading from Shakespeare, and blasting out ‘Underdog’ by Kasabian. Unfortunately he remained the underdog throughout the night and got knocked out in the eighth round. 

10. Wladimir Klitschko (vs David Haye, 2011) 

Klitschko left Haye in the ring for almost 10 minutes, nursing that ‘broken toe’. Then he emerged with fireworks, George Foreman, and footage of him declaring he was going to knock the Hayemaker out. 

9. Floyd Mayweather (vs Oscar De La Hoya, 2007)

Mayweather set out to deliberately antagonise when he donned a sombrero and the colours of the Mexican flag against De La Hoya on the weekend of Cinco De Mayo. He topped it all off with an assault on the ear drums in the form of 50 Cent rapping. 

8. Naseem Hamed (vs Vuyani Bungo, 2000)

Hamed probably deserves a list of his own. The man was absolute box office and none more so than when he descended on a leopard-print magic carpet, ready to fist-bump Puff Daddy and do a front flip over the top rope. 

7. Muhammad Ali (vs Earnie Shavers, 1977)

Back in the days when nobody had really thought of using entrance music, the Greatest walked down to meet Earnie Shavers to the haunting sounds of the Star Wars theme. 

6. Ricky Hatton (vs Jose Luis Castillo, 2007)

Few Brits of the modern day have been able to capture the public imagination in the US quite like the Hitman. Hatton began with Winston Churchill’s ‘We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches’ speech before the avid Manchester City fan broke into ‘Blue Moon’. And like Mayweather, Hatton wasn’t above some unnecessary baiting by adding ‘Manchester Mexican’ to his suit and wearing a Sombrero. 

5. Bernard Hopkins (vs Roy Jones Jr. II, 2010)

One of the few ring walks that served its purpose of being genuinely terrifying, ‘the Executioner’ returned to face Jones Jr. again after 17 years, complete with face-mask and the weirdly sinister ‘My Way’ playing in the background. 

4. Chris Eubank (vs Steve Collins, 1995)

Rolling in on a Harley Davidson motorbike accompanied by Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’. Who else but Chris Eubank Sr? Collins had to close his eyes to shut out the spectacle. 

3. Tyson Fury (vs Deontay Wilder, 2020)

Post-fight, all anyone could talk about was Wilder’s own ring walk, courtesy of that ridiculous excuse that his costume was so heavy it had made his legs tired. Even so, the Gypsy King’s entrance on a gold throne, in full regal attire, hasn’t been forgotten. 

2. Naseem Hamed (vs Wayne McCullough, 1998)

Prince Naseem couldn’t resist exploiting the opportunity presented by fighting on Halloween and his team must have spent a fortune on a production that included tombs, skeletons and the iconic Michael Jackson song ‘Thriller’. 

1. Mike Tyson (vs Michael Spinks, 1988) 

OK, an admission. As you’ve probably guessed, we love the cheap gimmicks as much as any boxing fan, but Iron Mike was above that. One of his most intimidating ring walks came against a visibly perturbed Michael Spinks. There was no music, only a low hum and the sound of jangling metal before the heavyweight champion stepped into the ring. Spine-tingling. 

Some, like Groves and McGregor, couldn’t follow up these antics in the ring. 

And others, we can’t help but feel, should be above these cheap tricks. 

Either way, they made for an iconic spectacle and have ensured these fighters wrote their name into history. 

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