Mike Tyson will face Roy Jones Jr in his first fight for 15 years after finally sealing a comeback contest.
Tyson has been undergoing rigorous training in recent months and he has been open in his willingness to return to the ring – with a number of possible opponents mooted.
But now he has confirmed a fight with Jones Jr, who is considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in history. The pair were filmed signing their contracts, with Tyson appearing to smoke marijuana as he did so.
Mike Tyson is set to come out of retirement for an exhibition fight against Roy Jones Jr
Jones Jr and Tyson are expected to face off in an eight-round clash on September 12 this year
Tyson signing the contract for the fight (left) and Jones Jr doing the same (right)
MIKE TYSON RECORD
Total fights: 58
Wins: 50 | Losses: 6 | No contests: 2
Wins by KO: 44
ROY JONES JR RECORD
Total fights: 75
Wins: 66 | Losses: 9
Wins by KO: 47
The pair will face each other on September 12 in an eight-round exhibition clash that is being called ‘Frontline Battle’.
Dean Toole, CEO Of Island Fights and Jones’ business partner, told Sportsmail: ‘Roy will fight anybody, anywhere.
‘If someone calls Roy out in his career it’s a done deal, he could be 80-years-old – if someone mentions his name, he’s fighting them.’
The fight was initially sealed two months ago, with Toole adding: ‘Roy called me (at) about 11.30 at night about a month and a half, two months ago, and told me he’d got the fight, he was fighting Tyson and he sent me a video of them on Zoom – both signing their contracts.’
Jones still needs to pass medicals in California, with paperwork being submitted for them this week.
Tyson has been working out during lockdown as he prepares for a return to the ring
According to Yahoo Sports, the fight will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The pair will not wear headgear but will wear larger than normal gloves.
‘This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off,’ Andy Foster, the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, said. ‘They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends.’
The intention is to make it available on pay-per-view and a social media platform called Triller.
The fight will be held in California, and will be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission.
Triller is backed by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Little Wayne and The Weeknd – and the event will feature an undercard and live musical performances.
Jones Jr has not competed at heavyweight level since losing to Antonio Tarver in 2004
Social media platform Triller is viewed as a competitor to TikTok and is now aiming to make a move into live events and sports.
Triller will also release a 10-part documentary series covering Tyson and Jones Jr’s preparation for the fight, with two episodes being released every week.
Jones Jr has an incredible reputation after holding titles in four different weight classes – middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight – during his career, which ended in February 2018.
He is confident he can compete with Tyson after training regularly since then. Toole said: ‘He has never drunk, never smoked and he works out every day’.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion, meanwhile, has not fought since 2005.
Tyson has been inactive since 2005 but has not been short of offers for comeback fights
While 54-year-old Tyson has also eyed a trilogy bout with Evander Holyfield, that will now have to wait.
Jones Jr said earlier on Thursday that he’d be willing to step into the ring with Tyson.
‘Yes, it’s true – Mike is a legend. It would be crazy to receive an offer to enter the ring with him and refuse,’ he told sports.ru.
‘I had no intention of going back and fighting again but, for the sake of Mike Tyson, I agree to make an exception.
‘For me, this is an opportunity that I cannot refuse. Of all those who wanted to go into the ring with him, he chose me.
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Tyson, now 54, has been preparing for a return
‘And since he did that, how can I say no?’
Former two division champion Andre Ward previously claimed Jones turned down $40million to fight Tyson in 2003.
‘There was a Tyson fight on the table and I believe I’m accurate when I say that it was somewhere around $40m guaranteed,’ Ward told JRE Clips.
‘There was an upside too. You stay at heavyweight, keep the weight on, and Tyson wasn’t quite Tyson at that time.
Tyson was eyeing a trilogy bout with Evander Holyfield but will now face Jones Jr
‘He was still dangerous but he wasn’t quite Tyson. I think they were working towards it. What I heard was Roy wanted more money.
‘Roy somehow said, “No, the fight will be there down the road”, and put his attention to Antonio Tarver, and the rest is history. I wanted to see him fight Tyson and ride off into the sunset. One more and you’re out.’
Jones, now 51, runs a combat school in Moscow and has not competed as a heavyweight since losing his belt to Antonio Tarver in 2004 and retired as a cruiserweight 14 years later.
Jones Jr fighting Enzo Maccarinelli during a bout in Moscow on December 12, 2015