Grime sensation Stormzy walked boxer Anthony Joshua onto the ring at London’s 02 this weekend, but it’s not the first time boxing and music have collided…
Stormzy and Anthony Joshua
Introduced at the Anthony Joshua V Dilian Whyte British Heavyweight fight as “superstar grime recording artist Stormzy” at London’s O2, the 22-year-old rapper changed the lyrics to ‘Shut Up’ to: “Man try say that he’s better than AJ, tell my man shut up… Better than AJ? Shut up!” The track hits back at coverage of Stormzy’s appearance at the Brits with Kanye and a host of other rappers, when critics online referred to him as a “back-up dancer”, but there’s no doubt he was centre of attention in the ring at the 02. It’s currently Stormzy’s moment: there’s a campaign to get ‘Shut Up’ to Christmas Number 1.
Diddy and Prince Naseem
Except the New York rapper and mogul was called Puff Daddy back in 2000, when Yemeni Yorkshireman Prince Naseem Hamad knocked out Vuyani Bungu 38 seconds into the fourth round of their WBO featherweight title fight at London’s Olympia. Hamad flew in atop a magic carpet and landed snugly next to Puffy, who was later there to embrace him in a victory celebration. It wasn’t Prince Nassem’s only pop moment: in 1996 he released the rap track ‘Walk Like A Champion’ with hip-hop group Kaliphz. It went to UK Number 23 and proclaimed: “Prince is in the house!” We suspect a certain Minneapolis funk superstar had something to say about that.
Kendrick Lamar and Adrien Broner
Before Broner and Antonio DeMarco slugged it out for the WBC lightweight title at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in 2012, the former boxer walked on with man-of-the-hour Kendrick Lamar, who – finally, once he’d grappled with what was allegedly a busted microphone – performed his acclaimed track ‘Backseat Freestyle’. He changed the lyrics to ‘Broner had a dream! Adrien had a dream!”, while the chorus “All my life I want money and power” seemed fitting when a commentator remarked that “Broner has said he wants to generate a billion dollars of revenue in his career and you have to hand it to him for his ambition”.
Floyd Mayweather and Lil Wayne… and Justin Bieber
This was pre-redeemed Bieber, in 2013, when he was vying to become the grown-up, ‘credible’ pop star we know today. So naturally he strutted alongside Lil Wayne when the diminutive rapper performed ‘A Milli’ to walk ‘Money’ Mayweather onto his fight with Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Weezy hunches over as he delivers verbal volleys, a vision of barely contained energy and power, while Bieber sort of saunters along beside them. It’s like they’ve taken one of The Inbetweeners on a school trip.
Oasis and Ricky Hatton
Wearing a fat suit to poke fun at himself (he has a reputation for putting on weight between matches and has been nicknamed ‘Ricky Fatton’) Hatton stomped into the ring at the MGM Grand in Vegas to a parody of Status Quo’s ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’, which went: “Hi ho Ricky Hatton, he’s eaten all the pies now, baby”. The boxer was there to beat Paulie Malignaggi in the 11th round and Noel and Liam carried his belts during the walk on. Hatton once said: “When I think of the most important things in my life, there’s my family first and Campbell my son, then I’ve got boxing, next comes Manchester City, then it’s Oasis.”