Tyson looks ahead to latest comeback

While it's been 18 months since former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has stepped into the boxing ring, the 38-year-old is not yet finished.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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While it's been 18 months since former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has stepped into the boxing ring, the 38-year-old is not yet finished with the sport he once dominated. At a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky, USA on Tuesday, June 29, it was announced that Britain's Danny Williams will be Tyson's next opponent when the two meet in a 30 July bout in that city. In stark contrast to the raging or brooding persona Tyson has demonstrated in the past, he appeared humble at the news conference in which he discussed his past, present and future. "I'm not here to be a tough guy today, I'll be a tough guy on the 30th of July, but I'm just happy to be here and fighting again," said Tyson, former World Heavyweight champion. Williams positive In fact, Williams, a former European champion who has won 31 of his 34 professional fights, sounded more like the tough guy, making clear it was not his intention to lie down for Tyson. "I'm happy that Mike Tyson has given me the opportunity...I believe he is one of the greatest fighters of all time. But, you know, I believe I've been brought here to be a fall guy. And I'm from Brixton, South London...we don't play that there. So, what I'm saying to Mike, just be ready for a fight," said Williams. But even in the wake of Williams' challenge, Tyson seemed intent on showing that he is a far different person than the fighter who was prone to violent, profanity-laced outbursts. Forgetting the past Perhaps humbled by a multi-million-dollar debt, as well as a marked decline in ring skills, Tyson indicated that he wishes to put his past behind him in order to move forward. "Well, you know, I may have had a checkered past, which we all have, some more publicized than others. But I think I've grown since then, and I think I may deserve another chance to prove that I've grown," Tyson said. Tyson, who turns 38 on Wednesday (30 June), hasn't fought since stopping Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds on 22nd February, last year. Saddled with debt, he's been living in what he called "self-inflicted exile" in a modest house in Arizona, saying he needed time to shed the spotlight. Tyson seemed to indicate that some of his past problems resulted from the trappings of his own success. "Sometimes I need to go into my own little shell sometimes and give everything up. In order for me to be the best, I have to suffer. You know, sometimes I have too much, and I can't cultivate myself as a person, a fighter, or anything, because it's too many distractions. And I know it's so destructive, and it's a person that can't juggle a successful life, but I don't know, maybe I'm just one of those people, but things were just coming too fast at me," he said. Love of boxing While he concedes that money is a strong incentive for his return to the ring, the former champion says he's also motivated by his love for the sport. "I just wanted to fight. I just wanted, I guess, to hear the sound of the crowds, to hear the sweat, to hear people hit the mat, to hear the gloves off people's heads...the body, this is just what I do, and that's just something I just took myself away from for a long period of time, which I'm so foolish...I'm the most foolish person I know, and, I don't know...I'm just happy to be back," he said. Tyson will earn several millions dollar for the fight, which will go toward paying off US$ 38.4-million in debt. Plans are already in the works for 7 more fights over the next 3 years to help Tyson pay off various settlements. (AP)