14 May 2024

Mike Tyson's warning to Jake Paul ahead of pro fight

12:47 pm on 14 May 2024
Former boxer Mike Tyson in 2021.

Mike Tyson has issued Jake Paul with a warning (file photo). Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, preparing for his first professional fight since 2005, warned YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul that his life will be on the line during their 20 July bout.

Tyson, 57, speaking at New York City's Apollo Theater during a press conference to promote a fight against an opponent who is 30 years his junior, said he wants to show the world he is still a great fighter.

"I really like Jake a lot but once he's in that ring he has to fight like his life depends on it, because it will be," Tyson said.

The heavyweight bout at the Arlington, Texas home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys will be contested over eight two-minute rounds with each fighter using 14-ounce gloves. The outcome will be included in both fighters' professional boxing records.

Tyson, who said he requested the shorter rounds because he feels it will lead to greater action and a more entertaining fight, shot back at critics who suggested he is making a big mistake by returning to boxing.

"The people who said that wish they were up here," Tyson said. "Because no one else can do it. Who else can do this? Who else can shut the sporting world down, no one else can do it. So you got the both of us.

"We're friends, but in that ring we're not going to be friends."

Tyson also said he did not hesitate at the chance to fight Paul.

"It was a no-brainer," Tyson said.

"He was the new up and coming guy on the scene and I like shaking the sports world to its core and I'm doing it now. It's just something I want to do."

Paul, a 27-year-old YouTube influencer-turned-boxer, has won nine of 10 boxing matches with six knockouts against a mix of celebrities and middling fighters.

He suffered his sole career boxing loss in February 2023 when he lost a split decision to Tommy Fury, the half brother of World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

US Youtuber Jake Paul fights Briton Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia 2023.

US Youtuber Jake Paul fights Briton Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia 2023. Photo: AFP

Paul said people should not overlook Tyson.

"Age doesn't matter, age is just a number. He's a killer, he's a warrior, he's been doing this his whole entire life. So it's second nature to him. I've been doing this for four years," Paul said.

Paul suggested he is being underestimated by Tyson and boasted that he has more power than the man once considered one of the most feared men in the world.

"I know it's going to be tough, I know I'm going to have to fight through adversity, I know I might even go to the canvas," Paul said.

"I'm scared, don't get me wrong, but it's not about the fear stopping me, it's about going into it even though I am scared and that's what true bravery is."

Tyson and Paul will participate in another press conference on Thursday in Arlington.

- Reuters