Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said that he has been "sober" since August, characterizing his challenge with substance abuse as "a struggle" during a national conference call on Friday in advance of his company's June 6 ESPN2 Friday Night Fights event promoted by Iron Mike Productions at Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, N.Y.
A 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee who retired with a record of 50-6 (44 knockouts), Tyson has admitted to having blown the money, which led to bankruptcy and his owing much of it to the Internal Revenue Service.
"I’ve been sober since my last discussion about it [August 2013.] It's a struggle," said Tyson, who turns 48 in June. "But as of now, I'm winning. I can only deal with the moment. At this moment, I’m doing really well."
The show will feature junior middleweight Yudel Jhonson (15-1, 9 knockouts) and undefeated welterweight Sammy Vasquez Jr. (14-0, 10 KOs) i separate bouts as well as middleweight Ievgen Khytrov (4-0, 4 KOs) to be broadcast live, beginning at 10:30 p.m., after doors open at 7 p.m. with the first bout tentatively scheduled for 8 p.m.
On Aug. 23 of last year, Iron Mike Productions debuted at Turning stone with a card whose main event was a draw between Brooklyn-based IBF junior lightweight titleholder Argenis Mendez and Canada’s Arash Usmanee, with a unanimous decision by featherweight Jesus Cuellar over previously unbeaten Claudio Marrero.
"I’m very much looking forward to coming back to Turning Stone. I have deep roots in Upstate New York. It was just sensational the last time we were there, and we'll have an even better show this time. Turning Stone was the first stop in my career as a promoter and I'm looking forward to bringing back another successful event," said Tyson.
"Upstate New York is where it all started. It's where I put on my first pair of boxing gloves. I never knew anything about boxing before I came to Catskill, N.Y. and was under the tutelage of the legendary Cus D'Amato. I think fans have an affinity for me because I'm an Upstate guy."
During Friday's lively conference call, Tyson also addressed several other topics, ranging from his role as a promoter, the current state of boxing, and his personal journeys, below.
Mike Tyson on the current state of boxing: "Today's fighters are businessmen, and it may be good, but we fought for pride and ego and just the satisfaction that we were the best fighters on the planet and no one could beat us.
"Fighters nowadays don't take it as personal, as we did in my era. What I'm interested in doing is getting my fighters to fight as consistently as possible so the fans can see them constantly.
"We need the fans to get aligned and involved with the fighters. We have to keep fighters active, because inactivity is the fighter's worst enemy, and activity is his best friend."
Tyson on his new found fame as a live entertainer and actor:
"I’ve gotten more comfortable, and it comes from me being a fighter and being comfortable in front of crowds. When I went on stage, I took to it right away.
"It was just like being in the ring. I was getting live, instant gratification, being on stage, and it all stems from boxing, from being in front of large crowds.”