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WBC says it will rank Mike Tyson if he’s serious about comeback

Fighters Network

Mike Tyson will be ranked by the WBC if boxing competitively is part of his comeback plans, says the governing body’s president, Mauricio Sulaiman.

Tyson has sparked excitement and no little consternation through a succession of social media videos that show him going through explosive pad workouts. During one such clip, the 53-year-old two-time heavyweight champion declared: “I’m back.”

Tyson’s old rival Evander Holyfield, himself now 57, has stated he would be prepared to face a man who infamously bit off a chunk of his ear in their 1997 rematch.

That would be a third meeting between Tyson and Holyfield, while 48-year-old heavyweight Shannon Briggs claims to have signed to fight his fellow Brooklyn native.

MORE: Eddie Hearn has reservations about Tyson returning

Both of those potential bouts would seemingly be exhibition events for charity, although another of the division’s all-time greats — Larry Holmes — remarkably suggested this week that the winner of Holyfield-Tyson III could then be pitted against a current top-10 contender.

When this was put to Sulaiman, who was speaking to Stats Perform News courtesy of @trcksuits, he responded: “Mike Tyson was the youngest to win a world championship. Maybe he will be the oldest! He’s a tremendous, legendary figure. He’s an icon for the sport, an icon for the WBC.

“He could knock out anyone with one punch, at any time! So of course we will support him.

“I don’t like to speculate. This is a topic we are all entertained by. An exhibition is one thing; if he comes back he has to be licensed and has to go through a thorough process.

“I’m not going to kill the dream. I’m going to be very supportive of Mike Tyson, he deserves it. If the dream is to say ‘I will be ranked,’ I am saying yes, we will rank him.

“Every world champion has a provision that he can come back, like Sugar Ray [Leonard], who was inactive. But Tyson’s case is different, he’s been away many years.

“But I am in full support of Mike Tyson. I believe this will bring entertainment and he’s doing it for charity. He wants to serve the world in this difficult moment.”

Why does everyone act like I only have one ear #besafe @MikeTyson

— Evander Holyfield (@holyfield) May 12, 2020

Sulaiman was keen to point to Tyson’s considerable ring absence, considering his decorated career ended in 2005 on the back of consecutive stoppage losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.

“We need to first understand what it is. I think it’s an exhibition. The safety has to be top priority,” he said. “It is great to see athletes promoting the sport. Mike Tyson had a very complicated life in boxing.

“Now to see him losing weight, active, healthy, is great and we have to support him. But we have to see if it is a real fight. I am hearing that it’s an exhibition and we are fully behind him.”

Tyson’s complex life in and out of the ring has led to concerns over the adverse effects him lacing gloves again could have for the sport as a whole. Sulaiman balked at the idea any negative publicity would be problematic

“Don’t watch it, if you don’t like it,” he added. “I love to see NFL players do reunions, I love to see legends doing something.

“Why not allow them to do something for charity? The only thing we have to be careful about is their safety. Why would we block it otherwise? We offer him our full support.”

Feature by Dom Farrell