Tyson, Eubank, Groves: Ranking the greatest ring walks in boxing history

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Ring walks are back in fashion.

Despite being the home of showmanship, the US has always had a patchy relationship with the art of the fight entrance.

In recent years, Al Haymon’s famed PBC stable has largely ignored the practice and even the world’s most saleable fighter, Canelo Alvarez, barely registers on the ring walk Richter Scale.

However, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom group are putting the fizz back in the fight biz these days.

This list has been compiled by considering the impact, the artistry and the size of the fight.

For example, Tyson Fury’s Apollo Creed-inspired entrance to the tune of Living in America would have been a top contender had he done it against title-holder Deontay Wilder and not Otto Wallin.

Certainly, it had more panache than Bernard Hopkins’ effort against Roy Jones Junior but, then again, The Executioner had pure menace, a world title and a 17-year-old grudge on his side.

But, without further ado, here’s my top six.


6) Roy Jones Jr v David Telesco

We all know Madison Square Garden is the most prestigious boxing venue in New York City.

However, nearby Radio City Music Hall had never held a fight in its 68-year history before Roy Jones Junior put his three light-heavyweight titles on the line against David Telesco on January 15, 2000.

In keeping with the venue, Jones appeared at the back of the auditorium in a tuxedo, albeit with large red boxing gloves sticking out.

He was joined by rappers Method Man and Redman. They danced and sang as they swept down the steps toward the stage then spent another few minutes performing in front of the ring.


5) Bernard Hopkins vs Roy Jones Jr 2

Bernard Hopkins had always ‘done it his way’. The self-styled Executioner had harboured a deep resentment after losing to Roy Jones Junior in 1993 so he made a statement when they were finally rematched in 2010.

He revived his old entrance costume, a black gown with a hood covering his entire head and decorated with a large red X.

He was led in into the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas by a Sinatra-style crooner singing a reworked version of My Way with lyrics specific to Hopkins' career.

Meanwhile, three backing singers swayed in the ring as support. It was meaningful if lacking a little in pyrotechnics. The same could be said of Hopkins’ one-sided points victory.


4) Carl Froch v George Groves 2

George Groves had spooked Carl Froch in the build-up to their first fight at the MEN Arena.

First in the build-up by winning the war of words, then by staring down the champion in the centre of the ring before the first bell and finally by knocking him over in the opening round.

Froch was struggling before catching Groves in the ninth and profited from a controversial stoppage. For the rematch, Groves grabbed his opportunity at Wembley Stadium.

He was driven into the bowl on an open-top double-decker bus and backed by narration from Henry V and then Kasabian’s Underdog. After that, he puffed out his chest, hopped off and made his way to the ring. However, Froch punched his ticket in the eighth round with a decisive right hand.


3) Chris Eubank vs Steve Collins

The word Eubank fizzed out of the blackness at the Green Glens Arena in 1995.

Then the preening Chris rose on a platform with his muscles shimmering and jaw stretched forward in arrogance. He surveyed the screen from the top of a 1975 Harley Davidson Shovelhead motorbike.

It was the pride of his collection and valued at £10,000 even then. Eubank was jeered normally for such showmanship but this time the reaction was especially intense as he was on enemy territory in Steve Collins’ backyard in County Cork.

So, typical Eubank, he got off and prowled in the ring to the strains of Tina Turner’s Simply The Best. It stoked the atmosphere but Collins would profit with a tight but unanimous point victory.


2) Mike Tyson v Michael Spinks

Tyson was never a showman and shunned the theatrics of others on this list. He was all business and bare-chest, with only a Tupac track and intimidating aura to support his arrival.

His menacing minimalism reached its peak when he took on unbeaten lineal heavyweight champion Michael Spinks in Atlantic City in June 1988.

The latter was bouncing around the ring and appropriately dressed in a clean white gown when a rumble came over the Convention Hall.

It was the low drone and clanking chains of a piece of industrial music written by a composer under the pay of the venue’s owner, Donald Trump.

The intense, brooding noise grew as Tyson’s menagerie moved towards the centre. It took them two-and-a-half minutes to reach the ring. An intimidated Spinks would be knocked out in 91.


1) Prince Naseem Hamed v Vuyani Bungu

Green smoke billows out from the top of the arena at Olympia on March 11, 2000. A small, perfectly-poised man sits on a small platform covered in leopard skin and held aloft by cables.

It slowly lurches into life and he sails over the expectant crowd in Kensington then comes to rest at the back of the arena again.

The man, still perfectly poised, stares contemptuously into the camera as his safety harness is unhooked.

He stands up, fist pumps the waiting Puff Daddy and strides toward the ring. He reaches the apron, surveys the crowd and grabs the top rope with both hands. In an instant, he has flipped into the ring and starts dancing.

It was classic Naseem Hamed and just about pips his incredible Thriller-themed effort before he beat Wayne McCulloch in 1998.

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