Mike Tyson set for ring return at age 40

Youngstown, October 4 :

Notorious former world heavyeight champion Mike Tyson began collecting money for his comeback when tickets went on sale here on Tuesday for his October 20 ring return in a four-round bout.

Mike Tyson’s World Tour, a series of four-round exhibitions, opens with a fight here at a 6,000-seat arena against former sparring partner Corey Sanders, a far cry from the glory days the convicted rapist once enjoyed.

Now the 40-year-old American hopes to capitalise upon his fame and his need for a fitness regime. “I was a little overweight, smoking too much, and I started to get in shape,” Tyson said. “I was training in Las Vegas and 2,000 people a day were there. Why not do an exhibition? Once I started training, the stress left. I’m not slurring. I’m not angry. Life’s lessons are priceless. I’m happy to be here. I’m truly nervous. I haven’t done this for a while.”

Tyson, 50-6 with 44 KOs, has not fought since quitting after six rounds against Kevin McBride at Washington in June of 2005 and immediately announced his retirement. He has kept a low profile since then.

“I learned life is short and very unpredictable,” Tyson said. “You have to stay humble and not get too emotional. I’m trying to keep my cool.” Tyson could become the King of the Four-Rounders if he can recapture past form and lives up to his pre-fight promotional hype of 100 four-round fights across the world.

“One hundred times four is as many rounds as I fought my whole career,” Tyson said. “This tour is going all over the world — Europe, Asia, Middle East — everybody is bidding

in anticipation.”

Tyson, who made hundreds of millions of dollars in the ring, said he remains in a “financial quagmire” but that this comeback is more about improving his outlook more than his bank balance. “The money I make (on the tour) isn’t going to help my bills, but I’ll feel better and won’t be depressed,” Tyson said.

No other dates have been announced for the comeback tour, although promoter Sterling McPherson promises the comeback will meet its global aspirations. “We’re giving the public all over the world a chance to watch him box again,” McPherson said.

Tyson, who turned pro in 1985, became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history in 1986 at age 20 and ruled supreme until a 1990 10th-round knockout loss to James “Buster” Douglas in Tokyo.

A rape conviction shut down Tyson’s career for three years but he returned to claim two world titles before his infamous biting of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997 brought a one-year banishment from boxing. Another comeback bid famously included Tyson vowing to eat the children of British world champion Lennox Lewis, who knocked out Tyson in the eighth round of their 2002 showdown at Memphis, Tennessee. Yet another return flopped with Tyson losing to British journeyman Danny Williams in a fourth-round knockout in 2004 and losing to McBride a year later.

Fighters from four former Soviet Union nations own the major heavyweight titles, but none of them impresses Tyson. “Anybody can beat you from the couch. I don’t think these guys are as bad as people say. They work hard to fight 12 rounds,” said Tyson, who has not fought 12 rounds since winning a 1991 decision over Razor Ruddick.