Mike Tyson will make his long-awaited ring return this September against former unified champion Roy Jones Jr in California, at an event provisionally-titled “Frontline Battle.”
The 51-year-old, who has thrilled fans by filming himself looking sharp and powerful during intense training sessions this year, is said to have agreed to meet 54-year-old Moscow-based Jones Jr in an exhibition fight on September 12.
The California State Athletic Commission is thought to have sanctioned the veterans’ scrap at the state’s Dignity Health Sports Park, with pop stars including Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Future, The Weeknd, Pitbull and Marshmello providing live musical accompaniment, according to TMZ.
Boxing editor Michael Benson posted a photo that purportedly showed the promotional poster for the fight, featuring the pair facing off above the tagline “everything is on the line”.
Big news: @MikeTyson is coming back. He will fight @RealRoyJonesJr in an eight-round exhibition match. Heard there will be boxer vs MMA fighters on undercard. Looks like it will be in Cali. Don’t have the date yet.
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 23, 2020
Speaking earlier this week, Jones Jr, who spent almost a decade at cruiserweight before winning the WBU German version of a title in his last fight in 2018, hinted at the potential matchup.
“Mike is a legend,” he told sports.ru. “It would be crazy to receive an offer to enter the ring with him and refuse.
“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. And since he did that, how can I say no?”
Jones Jr held titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight during the earlier part of his career, and has suggested that the fight will take place for charity.
Tyson is likely to be the naturally heavier man but has not fought since 2005, when he made the second of two unsuccessful comeback attempts in a defeat to Kevin McBride that finished with him retiring halfway through the fight.
Undefeated two-weight champion Andre Ward claimed earlier this year that Jones Jr had turned down a $40 million fight with 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 $40 million guaranteed,” ward told JRE Clips.
“I wanted to see him fight Tyson and ride off into the sunset. One more and you’re out.”
Dual Russian-US citizen Jones Jr has also been sparring heavily in recent weeks, as well as acting as an ambassador for Russian tourism and heritage, going hunting in Russia and watching the Moscow Victory Day celebrations last month.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the California State Athletic Commission confirmed bout will take place with no fans, while the fighters will not wear amateur-style headgear for the exhibition bout.
Confirmed with CSAC’s Andy Foster that Mike Tyson will fight Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition bout on 9/12 in Cali. No fans in attendance, he said. No headgear. “Larger gloves,” but “they‘re still working that out. Maybe 12 (ounces),” he said. First reported by @KevinI.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 23, 2020