The bellowing, burly, Brian Blessed is an iconic British figure in the world of acting and comedy. He will forever be immortalised for his role in Flash Gordon. However his acting career is far from being the true tale of his success. He may in fact be one of the most accomplished men still living. For example he is the oldest man to reach the Magnetic North Pole on foot, along with conquering the peaks of many mountains. He has survived a plane crash, fought a polar bear, delivered a baby and has completed hundreds of hours of space training. This is but a small portion of his accomplishments.
But back to the list. Brian Blessed first love of action came from his early boxing career. He had a short lived career before turning more seriously to acting. In later life he would even spar with the Dalai Lama during a visit. He is also a judo expert in accomplishing 3 dans. With the gigantic frame of Blessed, he would have a formidable stand-up and clinch game, making him a very dangerous man in his time.
Later in life Nelson Mandela was the quintessential figure for peace and freedom. His sacrifice spearheaded him as the symbol of the racial equality movement in South Africa. He fought to end apartheid as leader of the African National Congress, which was then known as a terrorist organisation. His fight against the oppressive South African government landed him in jail for 27 years.
So where did he get his strength in conviction and inner fight for what he believed in. Perhaps it was his past as a heavyweight boxer.
In his own words Mandela was never a great boxer:
“I was never an outstanding boxer. I was in the heavyweight division, and I had neither enough power to compensate for my lack of speed nor enough speed to make up for my lack of power” (Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, page 193.)
However the discipline and determination to box even at the lower levels surely gave him the fortitude to fight for freedom.
He described his love of boxing and how it gave him his first taste of equality:
“Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, colour, and wealth are irrelevant . . . I never did any real fighting after I entered politics. My main interest was in training; I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress” (Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, page 193.)
Mandela of course would be released from prison, become president of South Africa, help end apartheid and win a Nobel Peace Prize.
Abraham Lincoln is widely known as one of America’s greatest presidents. He will long be remembered for his leadership and victory in the Civil war, which brought an end to slavery in America.
However what many people do not realise is that Lincoln was a formidable wrestler. The long limbed six foot four figure towered over the average man of his age. It is no surprise that with this frame he could wield an impressive strength, diminished only by his talent of public speaking.
Although with tales and lore of greatness being enhanced with time it is impossible to say how much is true, many publications list breath-taking feats as fact. For example it is listed on History.com that he lost only once in approximately 300 matches (C Klein, 2012). In the very same article it was claimed that he was quite the trash talker, issuing a challenge after defeating an opponent:
“I’m the big buck of this lick. If any of you want to try it, come on and whet your horns.”
With his wrestling prowess, height, reach and strength it seems President Lincoln would have been a powerful man even without the presidency.
Neil Tyson Degrasse
Neil Tyson Degrasse can raise his hand as one of the celebrity scientists going against the grain of popular culture, to make intelligence cool. However astrophysicist and host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, had his hand raised many times as a successful high school wrestler.
In his time as a wrestler he was not merely a member of the squad, but the team captain. He also revealed in an interview with flowrestling that he was undefeated. In this interview he spoke about the love of physics in wresting and the scientific approach to manoeuvring someone’s centre of gravity.
Undoubtedly he has the advantage over anyone on this list in terms of intelligence. This ability to fight smart and creatively along with his near 6ft 2 inch frame would make Neil Tyson Degrasse a fierce competitor.
The 38th president of America Gerald Ford was a shock president even to himself. Happy to stay within mid-level stature within the Republican Party, he was thrust to limelight and responsibility amidst the controversy of the Watergate scandal.
He remains one of history’s lesser known presidents. However his unremarkable run as president was shadowed by a remarkable athletic career. He earned a football scholarship to Michigan University, becoming their MVP. He also made the college All-Star team in 1935.
After graduating he displayed his knowledge for combat sports by becoming a boxing coach for Yale. Teaching boxing would mean Ford would have some level of expertise in the sport. However admittedly there is very little information to say for sure whether Gerald Ford actually competed himself. It appears he may have been more of a fitness and coaching specialist than a pugilist. However an American President with the knowledge and ability to box is still an extreme rarity.
Who would win?
Gerald Ford would immediately come out last in a fight between these unexpected combatants. In his prime he may well be the fittest of the lot. However his lack of competitive fights would leave him far less experienced. He taught boxing at Yale, which is scrapping the barrel of boxing talent in America. Nelson Mandela would be his closest chance of victory as the only other stand up fighter on the list. However the South African heavyweight would have more experience, and would likely KO Gerald Ford.
Mandela and Degrasse would be fairly evenly matched for third place. Both of similar stature, it would be a case of who could employ the strategy the best to suit their fighting style. However I believe Degrasse would triumph over Mandela as he was more successful in his chosen sport.
It would be a toss-up between the two giants, Brian Blessed and Abraham Lincoln. As somewhat of a comical vision the tall thin Lincoln would square off against the stout, burly Blessed. Although Lincoln would have a longer reach, he would be out boxed at range by the experienced Blessed. Lincoln would try to use his skills at wrestling but would struggle to move the massive frame in front of him. Blessed in return is no slouch at grappling, and could employ judo sweeps of his own. Therefore due to his massive frame, and having the most tools at his disposal, Brian Blessed would emerge victorious in this epic fantasy tournament.