They say size doesn’t matter, but when you can pair size with skill it can be a difference maker.
All sports have athletes that are abnormally large, physical specimens. This does not guarantee success in any sport they decide to compete in, but it does give them immediate attention. In basketball greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlin stood around 7’1″ and were two of the best to ever play the sport. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Manute Bol and Shawn Bradley who stood around 7’6″. Most people remember them for their height, not their skill.
In combat sports, it isn’t all too common to see many fighters that are north of 6’6″ and are very successful. A lot of the times the size comes with a lack of speed and skill. There are, however, exceptions to this. Alexander Volkov, Stefan Struve, and Travis Browne are a few that have had successful careers. In Kickboxing Semmy Schilt stood 6’11” and wrecked havoc throughout K-1. Winning the most K-1 Tournaments in the history of Kickboxing. In Boxing, there is Taishan Dong who stands 7’0″ and is often referred to as the Yao Ming of Boxing. He is originally from Beijing, China and is a mountain of a man.
Taishan with the Golden Boy Promotions team.
Taishan Dong started off in Kickboxing before he switched to Boxing. He signed with the famed Golden Boy Promotions team. Although his official nickname is the Great Wall of China, he was often billed as the Yao Ming of Boxing. He was heavily pursued by other Boxing promoters such as Top Rank but ultimately decided on Golden Boy. It seemed he chose them because they promised to promote him in the United States. He made his professional debut in mid-2014, and by the end of 2015 had compiled a 6-0 record fighting for Golden Boy. As you can see in the video below, he wasn’t beating the best in the world, but that is common in Boxing when a fighter is being built up.
After his sixth fight in December of 2015, Taishan stopped Boxing. There has never been an indication as to why he stopped. It seems something went bad with the relationship he had with Golden Boy but nothing has been confirmed. Despite this, it seems he is still under contract to them and if he doesn’t want to fight for them then we likely won’t see him in the ring again.
It seems he has moved on because most recently he was filmed trying out for professional wrestling with the WWE. Some have said that when he started training with better teammates and was getting put through hell in training he didn’t like it too much and he no longer wanted to compete in Boxing. Despite what rumors circulate Taishan is the only one that knows. He had skill and agility for a man his size, but as it seems a long-term career in Boxing wasn’t in the cards for him.
It will be interesting to see if Taishan makes it in the WWE. I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back and give Boxing another try. If he does make it to the WWE then that will likely mean the end of Boxing for him. He can probably make more money pretending to fight than actually fighting.