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The Noble Art of Boxing Entrance Music

The Noble Art of Boxing Entrance Music

The Noble Art of Boxing Entrance Music

By on - 2 comments

Why reggae and dancehall rule.


Boxing and Jamaican music have long been connected in the popular consciousness.   

Both reggae and heavyweight boxing are generally believed to have enjoyed a golden age in the 1970s when great pugilistic events were set to song by deejays Dennis Alcapone (Cassius Clay) and Big Youth (Foreman Vs Frasier - which took place in Jamaica in 1973). The roots singer Prince Alla got his name from his love of Muhammad Ali while Prince Buster and Enos McLeod were fighters before they became vocalists and producers.

Jamaica has punched above its population weight in the sport itself. The 1960s was the era of the island's first world title contender Bunny Grant. The 80s saw Trevor Berbick take a version of the heavyweight crown and Mike "the Bodysnatcher" McCallum win "world" titles in three weight divisions. In 2011 history was made again when current WBA Featherweight champ Nicholas "Axeman" Walters became the first Jamaican to win a "world" belt at home.

Watching boxing regularly and thinking about the music fighters use to approach "the square circle" two things are apparent:

1) very few fighters choose wisely in terms of a track that conveys sufficient hardness, self reliance and self belief 

2) the few who do inevitably select reggae and dancehall as their music of choice

Below are some examples of reggae and dancehall tunes that have set the right tone for fighters in the last two decades...

Conroy Smith - Dangerous

Former Middle and Supermiddleweight champion Nigel Benn came in to this - and the lyrics summed up everything "the Dark Destroyer" was trying to get across. While Benn went for the more famous Hugh "Red Man International" James recording, the Hyman "Papa Life" cut on the Joyride rhythm is harder, tougher and could well be the definitive fighters' theme...

Sizzla - Solid as a Rock

One of Jamaica's greatest latter day champions, Glengoffe "the road warrior" Johnson drew this for the third instalment of his trilogy against England's Clinton Woods. Whether the original Bobby Digital production or the later Damon dash cut is used its message of defiance, self determination and spiritual toughness is the recipe for a psychological edge. Johnson lost a split decision on the night, although this writer believes it could have gone either way.

Tenor Saw - Ring The Alarm

David Rodigan described sound clash as "a musical boxing match" and sound killing tunes have a special power in a fistic context. In a reggae London Derby, Brixton's Danny Williams came into this thumping Stalag classic in his first fight with Harlesden's Audley Harrison. Audley, to his credit, opted for Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come - but in the 45 battle it was already clear who would win before the bell rang...

Let's not forget Lennox Lewis

British born, Canada raised and of Jamaican parentage, Lennox Lewis, arguably the greatest heavyweight of recent times, was also one of the biggest believers in reggae music to guide him to the ring. Here is a list of the soundtracks to his walks:

Other genres

A disco number like McFadden and Whitehead's Ain't No Stopping Us Now was perfect for a flamboyant and gifted stylist such as the late great Hector Camacho. However, not everyone can carry it off. Also, too much of a party track might indicate a fighter is enjoying the local nightclubs more than they should!

Survivor's The Eye of the Tiger may be the ultimate boxing anthem but care should be taken with soft rock and power pop. The Australian based Russian Kostya Tszyu's bespoke theme Something Worth Fighting For was particularly large on the fromage - and could well have thrown opponents off, leaving them scratching their heads as to why such a tough fighter chose such a cheesy song.

Now, all this is written from an English perspective and is meant only as an introduction to a subject worthy of further discussion.

What are your favourite reggae and dancehall boxing entrance tunes?

Which songs' lyrics mean they should be used more?

What's the worst ring walk music you've ever heard?

The square circle below the line is yours.

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Read comments (2)

Posted by Cheesey1 on 01.17.2013
Excellent and original article.

Posted by skadama on 01.22.2013
As an entrance tune its probably more hip hop than dancehall but Mad Lions 'Double Trouble' sounds quiet menacing.... The double trouble being a quick left and right....

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