18 Famous People Who Tried Their Hand at Boxing

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Imagine your favorite artists, politicians, or entertainers with gloves on, fighting in a boxing ring. It’s an unexpected image. Beyond their renowned careers, many famous people have laced up the boxing gloves, driven not by fame or fortune but by a hidden passion for the sport. While they may not have pursued boxing professionally, their brief forays into this sport offer a unique glimpse into their personality.

Famous People Who Tried Their Hand at Boxing

There have been a few famous people who have also tried their hand at boxing. Let’s take a look at some of these famous personalities and celebrities who have stepped into the ring.

1Justin Treadue

Chris Wattie / REUTERS file

Justin Treadue, a name unknown in the boxing world, made a significant impact with a fight that left spectators speechless. Trudeau, an underdog with modest fame, stepped into the ring against a professional fighter in a buzzing, small gym. His sheer determination and skill were astonishing and admiring on Treadue’s part.

Moving with unexpected agility, he weaved and dodged, his punches powerful and precise. In a moment that astonished everyone, he delivered a hard, fast knockout punch, topping his opponent. This fight, marked by Treadue’s surprising victory, became a talked-about event. Further, it showcased that the least expected can sometimes deliver the most extraordinary performance.

2Nelson Mandela

© Bob Gosani

Nelson Mandela, known for his famous apartheid movements, resilience, and freedom, once took a surprising turn in the boxing world. Mandela found strength and solace in the boxing ring during his younger years, far from the political arena. Boxing was not a mere play or violence for him but rather about learning the tactics and discipline of the sport. He didn’t step into the ring for fame or glory but for personal growth.

Though there was no specific famous fight or legendary event in the ring for Mandella, his time as a boxer excellently showcased his enduring spirit. His boxing approach mirrored his approach to life, facing challenges with grace, patience, and determination. This lesser-known fact of Mandela’s life adds another layer to our understanding of this legendary figure.

3Earnest Hemingway

Famous for their literary masterpieces, Earnest Hemingway had a lesser-known and surprising chapter: his passion for boxing. Hemingway, often associated with a pen, was also once equally familiar and comfortable with boxing gloves. He engaged in boxing not for fame but for the love of the combat sport’s raw honesty and physical challenge.

His most notable encounter was an impromptu match with a local boxing champion. This event stunned those who knew Hemingway only as a writer. He fought with remarkable resilience and skills, physically embodying his courage. Hemingway’s boxing days remain a striking testament to his adventurous and diverse spirit.

4Justin Beiber

A global music icon, Justin Bieber, surprisingly participated in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather for a charity event held in 2014. This unexpected show brought up a different side of his character and talents.

The event aimed to raise awareness and funds for various causes; however, Bieber’s involvement in this match demonstrated his athletic skills, which were far from what he was famous for. Indeed, seeing a pop star in a boxing ring with a seasoned trainer was a memorable moment for Bieber’s fans.

5Stephen King

Stephen King, a master of suspense and horror in literature, once boxed rigorously, a stark contrast to his personality and battleground of words. While King has never been engaged in professional fights, matches, or championships, an incident stood out. During a public event, an argument suddenly escalated.

King, typically known as a figure of intellectual prowess, found himself in a realm of physical confrontation. This surprises the crowd as the King defends himself with determination and agility. Though not a formal fighting event, this incident showcased the fighter spirit of a renowned author. In this moment, the creator of fictional horrors became the hero of his own life.

6Ricky Gervais

Who needs to become more familiar with the sharp wit and comedic genius of Ricky Gervais? But it would surprise you to know that he once found himself in an unusual situation, revealing a different side of his personality. There was a memorable event of physical confrontation in Gervais’s life that surprised everyone.

He stepped into a boxing ring for a celebrity boxing match during a charity event. The audience was shocked as they watched him trade his microphone for boxing gloves. Showing unexpected physical prowess and agility, Gervais fought with great determination. This one-off event revealed a new and unknown side of Ricky Gervais, leaving spectators impressed and shocked alike.

7Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian once stepped into the boxing ring, a name associated with glamor and reality TV, a world far from the glitz of Hollywood. Kardashian took part in a charity boxing event in a move that surprised many.

The audience was taken aback as they watched her, usually seen in makeup and designer outfits, wearing customized boxing gloves and gear. Kim’s attention was not about showcasing boxing skills but her commitment to raising funds for charity. This event revealed a different side of Kim, one that embraces physical challenges for a good cause.

8Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, an iconic musician known for his fantastic voice and poetic lyrics, once stepped into the boxing ring and trained in the sport. While no famous boxing event is associated with the name of Dylan, he has been known to follow the sport closely while visiting boxing gyms.

He often sang about fighters and underdogs in his songs, not just as a spectator but also as someone actively trained in boxing. This hidden aspect of his life adds an intriguing layer to his personality, blending the sensitivity of a songwriter with the physical grit of a boxer. His love for boxing underscores the depth and complexity of this celebrated artist.

9Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy, widely known for his powerful acting skills, once developed a connection with boxing for his role in a 2011 film, “Warrior.” To portray a mixed martial artist excellently, he indulged in rigorous training sessions to effectively learn boxing techniques and postures. His journey was not to build muscles but to get into the mindset of a real fighter.

Tom dedicated himself to mastering the art of boxing by giving his 100%. This hard work paid off, resulting in a highly compelling and authentic performance. He pushed his physical limits to showcase his deep commitment to the craft, showing that he is not just an actor but a performer who truly lives his role.

10George Orwell

Who is unknown to the famous author of dystopian masterpieces like “1984” and “Animal Farm,” George Orwell. But to your surprise, he had once a chapter of boxing in his life. Orwell learned boxing while at Eton College and continued to box on several occasions. This phase of his life is not much celebrated regarding specific boxing events or fights. However, his sports participation and passion were more than a school activity.

Boxing for Orwell was an expression of his deep interest in the fighters’ struggles and achievements, a theme evident in his literary works. His interest in boxing, though not marked by any special event, showcased his life’s narrative of resilience against the odds.

11Idris Elba

A multifaceted British actor, Idris Elba is known for his commanding presence on the screen and has a unique connection with boxing. Elba once undertook a personal boxing challenge documented in the “Idris Elba:Fighter:” series, where he trained as a professional kickboxer.

After a slow start, Elba successfully tapped into his potential and won with a first-round knockout victory. His journey into combat sports included rigorous training, showcasing his physical strength and mental dedication. Elba’s connection to boxing and kickboxing was a test of endurance and a reflection of his personality to push boundaries. This phase added another layer of appreciation to his immersive career, displaying versatility.

12Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand, an iconic singer and actress, is not commonly associated with boxing. However, she showed her fighter spirit and skills through her romantic involvement with John Peters, a former heavyweight boxer. This event not only highlighted her diverse interests but also brought her closer to the raw intensity of the sport.

Streisand’s association with Peters offered a rare glimpse into her life beyond the screen and stage, revealing her hidden interest and appreciation for the complex world of boxing.

13Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal had a connection with the world of boxing for his role in “Southpaw,” which required five months of dedicated training. Starting with the fundamental techniques, his rigorous regime focused on mastering the art of boxing.

Gyllenhaal and his trainer spent considerable time perfecting his footwork and jab, emphasizing the importance of every move. While he didn’t compete in the official fight, Gyllenhaal was engaged in many sparring sessions, including face and body shots. This commitment showcased his willingness to physically embody the character’s journey in the ring and his dedication to the role.

14Aron Carter

Aron Carter, known as a musician, surprisingly stepped into the boxing ring in 2021 for a celebrity match. This event has shown a completely different side of Carter, far from his usual artistic personality.

The match was a display of his physical prowess as well as his testament to versatility and willingness to explore new challenges. The fight added an unexpected chapter to his career, blending the world of sports and entertainment in a unique celebrity showdown.

15Keanu Reeves

Famous for his actionable roles in Hollywood, Keanu Reeves surprisingly intersects with boxing. While not a professional boxer, Reeves trained in various combat sports and martial arts, including boxing, for his roles. These training sessions reveal her combat skills and physical prowess.

Learning boxing techniques also enhanced his on-screen authenticity and commitment to manifesting his character fully. This aspect of Reeves’ life highlights the lesser-known facet of his personality and career, demonstrating his respect for the discipline inherent in boxing.

16Will Smith

Known for his versatility as an actor, Will Smith indulged in boxing for his role as Muhammad Ali in the 2001 biopic “Ali.” To authentically portray the legendary boxer, Smith went through intensive training sessions, learning the techniques of this sport. This preparation was integral in transforming him mentally and physically into the character.

Smith’s dedication to the role included rigorous boxing workouts and sparring sessions that gave him a deep appreciation for boxing. His portrayal of Ali was critically acclaimed, showcasing his ability to capture the true essence of one of the greatest boxers in history.

17Hilary Swank

A renowned actress, Hilary Swank is notably connected to boxing through her Oscar-winning role in “Million Dollar Baby”. For her role in this film, she stepped into the boxing ring and underwent rigorous training sessions to portray a determined boxer authentically.

Her dedication to the role was evident from her passion for learning boxing techniques, which earned her public admiration while unfolding her hidden talent as a fighter. Swank’s immersion into the world of boxing further showcased her ability to embody the physicality and spirit of a professional boxer, making her performances memorable events of Hollywood and sports.

18Sean Connery

Known for his role as James Bond, Sean Connery had an early interaction with the boxing world before his cinematic fame. Connery actively participated in bodybuilding and pursued boxing, competing in amateur fights in Scotland.

This is a lesser-known phase of his life that highlights a physical facet of Connery’s youth, contrasting with the sophisticated characters he portrayed later. His early boxing career and experience possibly contributed to the commanding presence he brought to his roles as an actor.

Unveiling the Unexpected

Above are the most famous people who have stepped into the boxing ring. In a remarkable display of grace and grit, these celebrated figures stepped out of their comfort zones, unveiling a fighter’s spirit in the boxing ring. Lacing up their gloves, they revealed a unique aspect of their character, overshadowed by their public personas.

This unexpected journey into the world of boxing highlights a profound truth: within each individual, regardless of fame, lies a wellspring of untapped potential and unyielding courage. Their stories remind us that the heart of a champion beats in many, often in the places we least expect.

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John Lee is a content marketing expert with over 10 years of experience in developing compelling articles and research reports that engage and educate audiences. With a creative mind and passion for words, John has helped numerous brands with their target audiences through well research and high quality engaging content.
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