8 Boxers Who Wrestled For The WWE

There’s a lot of crossover potential in the world of professional sports. While everyone who knows wrestling knows that it’s largely “fake” (although wrestlers can still sustain real injuries), as WWE legend “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan says to Betway, wrestlers still need to be “strong…aggressive…[and] quick” if they want to succeed. That’s why many professional athletes (and celebrities besides!) find themselves in the WWE ring at some point.

This is true of mixed martial arts fighters, wrestlers from other promotions, and boxers, who often find themselves caught up in the dramatic storytelling of the WWE universe. Whether it’s beloved title bout winners or underhanded heels looking to make a new name for themselves, plenty of boxers have stepped into the ring with the greats of professional wrestling. Here are 8 boxers who have wrestled under the WWE banner at some point in their careers.

1. Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury has been making noises about returning to the WWE in recent months, and given the outcome of his first appearance, he’d be right to. Back in 2019, he battled Braun Strowman at the Crown Jewel event held in Saudi Arabia. Naturally, Fury emerged from that conflict victorious, and he looks like he’s raring to go again. Fury’s effortless charisma and love-to-hate heel persona make him ideal material for the WWE, so we wouldn’t be surprised if he does make a return to the promotion, perhaps on a more permanent basis.

2. Ricky Hatton

Strangely enough, although Ricky Hatton was an iconic boxer at the time, the WWE didn’t really use him to his full potential. Instead of immediately putting him in the ring and pitting him against a wrestler (or, indeed, a fellow boxer), the WWE decided that the best way to use Hatton would be in a backstage skit involving Chavo Guerrero. The writers pitted Hatton against Guerrero in – wait for it – a darts match. Naturally, Hatton won, and the resulting match (see, they did eventually put him in the ring) was more of a joke than a serious endeavour.

3. Muhammad Ali

Now here’s a boxing icon for the ages. Muhammad Ali appeared at the very first ever WrestleMania competition, although perhaps not in the way you might think. Ali did end up fighting in Japan, but at WrestleMania, he was merely a guest referee for the main event, which was a tag team match involving Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Ali would appear a handful of times further, but he never made the impact he could have in the ring, which is a shame. It would have been fun to see him join the roster! Speaking of Mr. T…

4. Mr. T

You might think we’re cheating here, since most people know Mr. T for two roles: B.A. Baracus in The A Team and Clubber Lang in Rocky III. However, Mr. T actually is a legitimate boxer, and he has a background in the sport that made him perfect for Stallone’s movie. That prowess helped him when he crossed over into the WWE, fighting alongside Hulk Hogan against the aforementioned tag team at WrestleMania I. He also participated in a few gimmicky boxing matches against the likes of Bob Orton later on down the line.

5. Floyd Mayweather

At the point Floyd Mayweather appeared in the WWE ring, he was completely undefeated, which made him a huge attraction. The WWE decided he would participate in a match against the hulking giant known as the Big Show. As anybody who knows Mayweather will attest to, his natural persona is that of a sneering heel, so taking on the Big Show made sense. Unfortunately, Mayweather actually, really broke the Big Show’s nose, and then managed to further cement his dominance at WrestleMania, where the boxer emerged victorious against Big Show once again.

6. Mike Tyson

No list of boxers who dabbled in the WWE would be complete without the legend that is Mike Tyson. It’s arguable that Tyson not only helped with WWE’s domination in the famous Monday Night Wars, but he also helped to kick off the Attitude Era, feuding with Stone Cold Steve Austin and even joining Triple H’s D-Generation X stable. WrestleMania XIV was Tyson’s biggest event; he was an enforcer for the main event, which saw Stone Cold taking on HBK. Many years later, Tyson would once again appear on the WWE and slap Chris Jericho down to size.

7. Lennox Lewis

In 1992, Lennox Lewis was at the height of his powers. That’s probably why the WWE arranged for him to accompany Intercontinental Championship hopeful Davey Boy Smith to the ring in London during the 1992 SummerSlam event. As a British sporting institution, Lennox added gravitas to Smith’s bid, as well as a pathos and a heroism that made Smith seem even more likeable to his audiences. Much later, Lewis would be offered a lot of money to battle Brock Lesnar in the ring, but would apparently turn it down. It’s a shame; we’d have loved to see that fight.

 8. Evander Holyfield

Last but not least, we have Evander Holyfield’s appearance at the WWE, where he intervened in the ongoing Matt Hardy-MVP feud. At the time, Matt Hardy was scheduled to face off against MVP, but Holyfield ended up doing battle with the Hardy Boyz stalwart instead, on MVP’s recommendation. Holyfield knocked Hardy out, of course, but MVP belittled him, saying he hadn’t knocked Hardy out quickly enough. Naturally, Holyfield turned on MVP and floored him to huge cheers and appreciation from the bloodthirsty crowd. 

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com