Tyson Fury: Mike Tyson Exhibition Boxing Match Was Discussed, Didn't Materialize

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

Tyson Fury, of England, celebrates after defeating Deontay Wilder during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said he was offered an exhibition fight with Mike Tyson, though it doesn't sound as though the matchup will come to fruition. 

"I had a phone call saying, 'Would you like to fight Mike Tyson in an exhibition fight?'" he told BT Sport. "I said, 'Hell yeah,' but I don't think anything's materialized out of it, to be honest."

Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 @BTSportBoxing

"I got a phone call asking if I wanted to fight Mike Tyson in an exhibition!" 😳 Tyson against Tyson for charity? 👀 https://t.co/qDAIEkVxlB

As for the rumors of Tyson returning from retirement to face Evander Holyfield—who beat Tyson twice in the 90s, including the infamous "Bite Fight" in 1997, when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ear—Fury said he wouldn't begrudge either man a return to the ring.

"They're both old now so they're a bit long in the teeth, but then who am I to say anything about what anyone's capable of?" he noted. "I wouldn't try to kill anybody's dreams of doing anything they want. If they're both medically fit to fight, then let them do what they've got to do. It's their life, not mine."

The 53-year-old Tyson facing Holyfield (57) would be a far more fair bout than him taking on Fury, who is 31 and in his prime. Fury is fresh off of beating Deontay Wilder in February by seventh-round TKO and is now an impressive 30-0-1 in his career, with a draw against Wilder in 2018 his only fight that didn't result in victory.

Tyson announced his return to the sport earlier in May, saying simply "I'm back" while showing off a video of his workouts:

ESPN Ringside @ESPNRingside

“I’M BACK.” - The Baddest Man on the Planet 🥊 (via @MikeTyson) https://t.co/kE2ug8waOe

He was a heavyweight champion in his prime, winning his first 19 fights by knockout, making him one of the most powerful and feared boxers in history. In total, 44 of his 50 career wins came by knockout, a staggering number. 

Whether he still has that power into his 50s is unknown. But a return to the ring from Tyson would be a major draw for boxing fans, especially if he took on an old rival like Holyfield. Facing a current champion like Fury would more likely be a somewhat painful and one-sided affair in favor of the current WBC heavyweight champion.