Skip to main content

Mike Tyson’s return to professional boxing after a two-decade absence is one step closer.

Former world heavyweight champion Tyson and his upcoming opponent, YouTuber-turned-boxer Paul, will do battle in Arlington, Texas this summer in an old school vs. new school clash of styles. The fight, in which the two combatants will have a thirty-year age gap, has raised more than a few eyebrows in the combat sports community since its formal announcement several weeks ago — and despite admitting that he and Paul are “friends,” Tyson says that their accord will be suspended for as long as the bout lasts.

“I really like Jake a lot,” Tyson told the media on Monday, including The Mac Life. “But once he’s in that ring, he has to fight like his life is depending on it. Because it will be.”

And as for the age disparity, Tyson said that any concerns for him and his well-being are unwarranted.

“I think the people that said that wish they were up here,” he 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. You’ve got the both of us and we’re going to do this. We’re friends. There’s no doubt we’re friends. But in that ring, we’re not going to be friends. That’s just what it is.”

As for Paul, facing one of the most fearsome punchers in the sport’s history won’t phase him, he said, and nor will Tyson’s power.

“I know I will be able to,” Paul said, when asked of his capacity for being punched in the face by Tyson. “I’m a natural born heavyweight. This is what I was born to do, to move up into this weight class, and I’m going to show Mike who has more power. Because he’s underestimating me. I think everyone else is underestimating me and I believe I hit harder.”