US president Donald Trump wasn’t the only fight fan impressed with this week’s YouTube video of Mike Tyson engaged in a ferocious sparring session.
Melbourne boxing promoter Brian Amatruda immediately got on the phone to arrange a charity bout for the former world heavyweight champion against one of Australia’s footballers-turned-boxers Barry Hall, Paul Gallen or Sonny Bill Williams.
The footage of Tyson showing he has lost little of his once-feared hand speed and power went viral and prompted President Trump – himself a one-time boxing promoter – to tweet ‘Keep punching Mike!’ while former champion Oscar de la Hoya predicted the 53-year-old could still beat many of the current top heavyweights.
An Australian boxing promoter wants to lure former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (pictured) to Australia to fight footballers Barry Hall, Paul Gallen or Sonny Bill Williams in a charity match. Tyson is pictured at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in February this year
Former AFL star Barry Hall (left) and retired NRL star Paul Gallen fought to a draw at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on November 15 last year. Now an Australian promoter wants one of them to step into the ring with ‘the baddest man on the planet’, Mike Tyson
Former All Black and rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams is another target for promoter Brian Amatruda, who wants to bring Mike Tyson to Australia for a charity boxing match
With news that Tyson was considering a return to the ring for a series of three-round charity bouts once the coronavirus shutdown is lifted, there was even talk of a title fight against his namesake, UK world champ Tyson Fury earning him $150million.
While the possibility of such a showdown ever becoming a reality is fanciful Amatruda, who has promoted cards featuring the likes of Anthony Mundine, Danny Green, Lucas Browne, Sam Soliman and up-and-coming AFLW player-turned fighter Tayla Harris, is confident he could arrange a charity bout for Tyson in Melbourne that would fill any of the city’s biggest arenas.
‘I’d hold it at Melbourne Arena where we’d get over 10,000 or even Princes Park where they got 30,000 for Jeff Fenech versus Azumah Nelson,’ he said.
‘He might be 53 years old but he’s still a huge name and any of those blokes Hall, Gallen or Sonny Bill would jump at the chance to get into the ring with him.
‘I’d make it part of a card with a world title fight for Tayla on it. It would be enormous. Not just a fight, it would be an event.’
Promoter Brian Amatruda (right) has contacted celebrity agent Max Markson (left) with a view to bringing Mike Tyson to Australia. Markson brought the former heavyweight champion Down Under in 2012
Amatruda has already taken the first steps to bring Tyson back to Australia.
‘The first thing I did was contact (celebrity agent) Max Markson and ask him to offer Tyson $1million,’ he said. ‘Max brought him to Australia in 2012. He gets on well with him and his wife but the main thing is that he got him a visa to get into the country back then and that’s the key.’
Markson also brokered Tyson’s advertising campaign with Australian company Ultra Tune but having served time in a US jail for rape in 1992, the ex-boxer has been unsuccessful in attempts to get a visa to return to the country since.
‘We’d have to wait until the coronavirus shutdowns are over of course so the fight probably wouldn’t be until early next year – as long as we can get the visa,’ Amatruda said. ‘They gave him one in 2012 and he was fine, he’s a quiet family man now. He didn’t cause any trouble then, so why shouldn’t they let him back in?’
Mike Tyson has lost little of his once-feared hand speed and power. He is pictured after landing a punch on Great Britain’s Frank Bruno at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in March 1996
US president Donald Trump wasn’t the only fight fan impressed with this week’s YouTube video of Mike Tyson engaged in a ferocious sparring session (pictured)
Markson described Tyson as a ‘pussycat’ on his last trip, a personal appearance tour with his wife Kiki, two children and mother-in-law.
‘When he arrived I asked him if there was anything he needed and the only thing he wanted was a PlayStation and some games,’ he said.
‘From then on if he wasn’t doing scheduled appearances or sleeping or eating, he was playing PlayStation.
‘When the tour was over I asked him if he had enjoyed himself and he said he’d had the best time of his life. I said, “But Mike, you didn’t do anything” and he said, “I know, but that was a really good PlayStation”.’
Markson said during the trip he saw a very different Tyson to the man who once infamously told an opponent, ‘I want to eat your children’.
Mike Tyson is considering a return to the ring for a series of three-round charity bouts once the coronavirus shutdown is lifted. Tyson is pictured delivering an uppercut to Buster Mathis Jnr on his way to knocking him out at the Corestates Spectrum in Philadelphia in 1995
Max Markson described Tyson as a ‘pussycat’ on his last trip to Australia. ‘When he arrived I asked him if there was anything he needed and the only thing he wanted was a PlayStation and some games,’ he says
‘I found him very intelligent and funny but Kiki told me that most nights she has to put her arms around him and comfort him until he goes to sleep because he can feel so sad and insecure.
‘I never saw that side of him. He was always very easy to work with and eager to please. He loved signing autographs and interacting with his fans.
‘If anyone asked him to bite them on the ear for a photo he’d be happy to do it.’
So, has the self-styled ‘baddest man on the planet’ lost his spark?
Not if that video of his gym session is any indication – as Hall, Gallen or Sonny Bill will discover, all going to plan.