Hafthor Bjornsson Retires from Boxing: Will Attempt Weight over Bar Record at Rogue Invitational 2022

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (Image via Instagram @thorbjornsson)
Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (Image via Instagram @thorbjornsson)

Hafthor Bjornsson has succeeded in every enterprise he has ventured into—boxing, strongman, acting, and business. However, he has now decided to return to his roots and plans to compete in strongman again to the delight of his fans worldwide.

Hafthor Bjornsson became famous for portraying Ser Gregor Clegane (The Mountain) in the HBO series Game of Thrones for five seasons. Recently, the Icelandic giant from Reykjavík transformed his physique by losing 55 kg (121 lb) in a span of 18 months. This was in preparation for the boxing match against fellow strongman Eddie Hall, over disputes regarding the 2017 World's Strongest Man placings.

His short-lived boxing career involved 2 wins and 2 draws. While the wins came against 2017 World's Strongest Man Eddie Hall and arm-wrestling legend Devon Laratt, the draws came against professional boxers Simon Vallily and Steven Ward. In his brief career, Hafthor Bjornsson showed true dedication and respect to the sport, mastering the fundamentals very quickly.

Despite rumors of a fight with World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and bodybuilder Martyn Ford, Hafthor Bjornsson unexpectedly declared his retirement from boxing in a YouTube video titled "I'm DONE with BOXING", which was uploaded on his official channel on October 17, 2022.

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Why Has Hafthor Bjornsson Retired from Boxing?

In a candid conversation, Hafthor discussed his reasons behind the sudden decision.

“Now I’ve made a difficult decision and the reason why it took me so long to finally make this video was because this is actually a very difficult thing to talk about. I’ve made a decision to move on from boxing, to not compete in boxing again, to say goodbye to boxing and just not fight again. I had a good run, I did it for two-and-a-half years. It was nice to do so because first when I started I had a lot of people not believing in me. I was a beginner in boxing, but I proved a lot of people wrong by working hard. I proved people wrong and I made people proud, and that was very satisfying for me. But in reality, the passion was never there, it was all grind and I never really loved the sport. That’s just the hard truth. I have a lot of respect for the sport because I know how much work goes into boxing. Just the passion isn’t there.”

Hafthor revealed that despite all the hard work he put into training, he never had a true love for the sport. He made the decision to box against Eddie Hall purely out of compulsion, over a longstanding dispute regarding the 2017 World's Strongest Man Finals. The "double dipping" incident and Thor's allegations of officials helping Eddie Hall had forced the strongman community to take sides.

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The issue became even more problematic when Hafthor successfully lifted 501 kg (1104.5 lb) on the deadlift during the 2020 World’s Ultimate Strongman “Feats of Strength” series, breaking Eddie Hall's 500 kg deadlift record set at the World Deadlift Championships in 2016. Bjornsson achieved this record at his personal gym in Reykjavik, Iceland, and despite being sponsored by Rogue, it is still considered by some to be unofficial.

The rivalry reached its zenith on March 19, 2022, when the two met to settle their disputes in a boxing match titled "The Heaviest Boxing Match in History." While Eddie relied on brute strength, Hafthor Bjornsson focused on the basics—footwork, technique, and stamina. Hafthor knocked down Eddie twice to win the fight via a unanimous decision.


Rumours Regarding His Fight with Tyson Fury

“I’ll admit there was a time when there was talks between Tyson Fury and I, well his team and my team. There was build-up starting, but that never went through.”

Hafthor had alluded to a boxing match with World Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury but revealed that the talks between their teams fell through.


On His Return to Strongman

“I’m 33 years old now, turning 34 in November. For me, it was just like, should I spend the last few of my years as an athlete doing something I don’t love, or should I just go and focus on my businesses and focus on the things that I love, like lifting weights?”

At 33, he would like to return to his true passion—strength training and strongman. With 30 international competition wins, Hafthor Bjornsson is the third most decorated strongman in history behind Lithuania's Zydrunas Savickas and Poland's Mariusz Pudzianowski. In 2018, he became the first and only person to have won the Arnold Strongman Classic, Europe's Strongest Man, and World's Strongest Man competitions in the same calendar year. Due to his brute strength and dominance across every single strongman event, many analysts and strongman experts regard Hafthor as "the strongest man to have ever lived."

His return to strongman will involve breaking his own record at the weight over bar. Hafthor Bjornsson has improved his own record at the event many times. In September 2017, Bjornsson topped his previous 19’5″ weight over bar world Record with a 19’9″ toss at the Loon Mountain Highland Games in New Hampshire. In March 2018, he slightly improved this record, hitting 20' during the Arnold Classic Strongman. At the Scottish Highland Gathering and Games 2018, Bjornsson pushed his world record a little further with a 20’1″ toss, clearing the bar with ease. At the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic, he threw 56 lb (25 kg) over a height of 20’2″—setting the current world record.

“I gave it a few years — I hoped that someone would break it, but no one was able to. So I think it’s about time that I break this world record.”

Bjornsson will look to break his record during the 2022 Rogue Invitational during the Rogue Record Breaker competition on Sunday, October 30, 2022. He has been quietly preparing for the event. Toward the end of his YouTube video, Hafthor tossed 55 lb over a height of around 5.5 m (18 ft) with ease.

Although he will not be competing at the main event at the Rogue Invitational, he dropped hints regarding his future in strongman when he said:

“And then, who knows? Maybe I have to come back to strongman and break my own deadlift world record.”

Conclusion

Strongman fans across the globe expressed their support regarding his return. Laurence Shahlei aka "Big Loz," the unofficial spokesman of the strongman community, released a YouTube video discussing the same.

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With Hafthor Bjornsson recently getting back into strength training and hitting PRs seemingly every day, strongman fans around the world will be eagerly waiting to see the Icelandic giant back in competition.

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Edited by Ramaa Kishore
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