Tyson vs. Paul will be sanctioned pro fight

Sports

The July 20 bout between YouTuber-turned-prizefighter Jake Paul and former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson will be classified as a sanctioned, professional fight by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.

The heavyweight showdown will be contested over eight, 2-minute rounds with each fighter using 14-ounce gloves. The outcome will affect their professional boxing records.

“Mike Tyson and Jake Paul signed on to fight each other with the desire to do so in a sanctioned professional fight that would have a definitive outcome,” Most Valuable Promotions co-founder Nakisa Bidarian said in a statement to ESPN. “Over the past six weeks, MVP has worked with its partners to satisfy the requirements of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) to sanction Paul vs. Tyson, and we are grateful that we have gotten to this point.” Since the announcement of the fight, which will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and will be streamed on Netflix, there were questions surrounding what the rules would be given the two fighters have more than a three-decade age difference.

Tyson, 57, hasn’t won a professional boxing match since a knockout win against Clifford Etienne in February 2003. He fought professionally twice after collecting his 50th win but was stopped by Danny Williams in 2004 and Kevin McBride in 2005.

By the time Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) enters the ring July 20, he will be 58. Paul will be 27.

That 31-year age gap will be the biggest in the history of professional boxing, eclipsing the 24-year gap between Archie Moore (49) and Mike Dibiase (25) when they met in 1963. Moore defeated DiBiase by third-round TKO, but he also was quite active, fighting four times as a 48-year-old before calling it a career at 49.

Tyson hasn’t competed as a professional since he was 38. In 2020, he met Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition. Tyson exceeded expectations in the bout, which ended in a split draw but did not go on his professional record.

Paul’s sudden rise in combat sports began when he knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson on the undercard of Tyson-Jones Jr. Paul (9-1, 6 KOs) has since become a staple in big-money events, during the recent wave of crossover boxing matches, with wins coming against former UFC stars Tyron Woodley, Ben Askren, Anderson Silva and Nate Diaz.

Paul redirected his energy to facing boxers with more experience, after suffering a decision loss to Tommy Fury in 2023, with the goal of being ranked by a sanctioning body and eventually challenging for a world championship. He followed the traditional boxing track for two bouts — knockout wins over journeymen Andre August and Ryan Bourland — before he pivoted back to a fight against Tyson.

The fight will be Netflix’s first foray into combat sports and its third live sporting event overall. With an eye on breaking streaming records for a live sporting event, the promotion added the highly anticipated rematch between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano for Taylor’s undisputed super lightweight championship as the co-main event. The two first met in 2022, with Taylor edging Serrano by split decision at Madison Square Garden. The fight proved incredibly successful and lit the fuse for the current boon in women’s boxing.

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