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Mike Tyson Says He'll Fight Lennox Lewis in September After Holyfield Talks

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2021

FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2019, file photo, Mike Tyson attends a celebrity golf tournament in Dana Point, Calif. Hulu on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, announced it has ordered “Iron Mike,” a limited series about the life of boxing great Mike Tyson. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Willy Sanjuan/Associated Press

Boxing legend Mike Tyson said Tuesday night that his next opponent will be a familiar foe in the form of Lennox Lewis.

While speaking to TMZ Sports, Tyson said: "I'm gonna fight Lennox Lewis. ... September."

Tyson faced the Englishman once before, losing a heavyweight title bout to the champion by eighth-round knockout in 2002. A second fight between them could play out a bit differently, as Tyson is now 54, while Lewis is 55.

Tyson has not had an official fight since 2005, but he returned to the ring for an exhibition against Roy Jones Jr. in November.

While the bout was ruled a draw, Tyson looked good and the event was a huge success, as Tyson's Legends Only League (h/t Josh Peter of USA Today) reported that it did more than 1.6 million pay-per-view buys and over $80 million in revenue through Triller.

Given the interest Tyson generated, it seemed like a near certainty that he would step inside the ring again, although it was unclear who his opponent would be.

Another former rival in Evander Holyfield was initially thought to be the target given his history with Tyson. They fought each other twice in 1996 and 1997, and Tyson infamously bit off part of Holyfield's ear during the 1997 bout.

Talks between Tyson and Holyfield broke down, however, and the 58-year-old Holyfield instead agreed to fight Kevin McBride in an exhibition on June 5. McBride, 47, was Tyson's final official opponent in 2005, beating Tyson by referee stoppage.

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Like Tyson, Lewis is one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, and it has been many years since his last official fight.

Lewis retired after beating Vitali Klitschko by sixth-round technical knockout in 2003, making him one of only two fighters to beat Klitschko. At the time of his retirement, Lewis was 41-2-1 and was the WBC, IBO and The Ring heavyweight champion.

Tyson also boasts an impressive career record, standing 50-6 with two no-contests and 44 of his victories coming by way of knockout.

Lewis' 13-inch reach advantage kept Tyson at bay when they last fought, and while a lot has changed since then, one can only assume that Lewis will employ a similar strategy in September should the fight occur.