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Mike Tyson’s return to the ring later this year against boxing neophyte Jake Paul in Texas could be a professional bout, according to reports.

It was revealed last weekend that Paul, the social media star who has compiled a 9-1 record in boxing across the past few years, will fight former heavyweight champion Tyson in Arlington, Texas on July 20. Immediately following the announcement, questions were raised about the specifics of the fight — and principally the three-decade age difference between the 27-year-old Paul and Tyson, who will be 58 by the time the fight comes around.

And according to talkSPORT’s Michael Benson, who cited a report by Ariel Helwani, the fight’s organisers are pursuing regulation of the bout with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) — the governmental agency that oversees combat sports in the state.

However, Benson notes that the TDLR has yet to formally approve any such request.

If the fight is instead listed as an exhibition, it will likely be similar to Tyson’s last outing in the ring in 2020 where he competed against fellow prizefighting icon Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round fight that was ultimately recorded as a draw.

Similar to that contest, is it expected that neither man will be required to wear headgear.

Should be bout proceed as a professional fight, it would be the first time that Tyson has competed in a legitimate, sanctioned bout since a June 2005 loss to Irish heavyweight Kevin McBride.

Paul, meanwhile, registered his ninth professional win earlier this month when he stopped Ryan Bourland inside the first round of their clash in Puerto Rico.

The July 20 fight between the Tyson and Paul will be broadcast exclusively to subscribers of the Netflix streaming platform.