Written by Reuters
29 Sep, 2018 | 5:41 pm
REUTERS: The current generation of boxers do not have the wild streak that Mike Tyson wore like a badge of honour during his career and the former world heavyweight champion says the lack of personalities in the sport has contributed to its decline.
Tyson, who was in Mumbai to promote the launch of the Kumite 1 League mixed martial arts competition, told reporters late on Friday that he would be a rarity if he boxed today.
U.S. broadcaster HBO said this week it would drop live boxing from its programming schedule from 2019 due to dwindling ratings, ending a 45-year association with the sport starting from 1973.
While boxing seems to be on the way down, the sport of mixed martial arts is gaining traction in the mainstream with fighters such as trash-talking Irishman Conor McGregor becoming household names.
Tyson said he enjoyed last year’s boxing match between undefeated multi-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr and the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) McGregor.
“I go to the UFC all the time,” he said. “That was a good fight. I was entertained.”
Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight champion in 1986 at the age of 20 and was the undisputed champion until a stunning loss to Buster Douglas in Tokyo in 1990.
He served three years of a six-year U.S. jail sentence after being convicted of rape in 1992 and returned to the ring in 1995. He then added to his notoriety when he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in about two years later.
Tyson, who had his last fight in 2005, picked Briton Anthony Joshua as the best of the current crop of heavyweights.
The 28-year-old Joshua holds the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO belts and has been in talks about a fight with WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder which would give him a shot at becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.
American Wilder will defend his title against Britain’s former world champion Tyson Fury on Dec. 1.
Tyson also said he planned to avoid Bollywood parties while in India and that he would rather visit Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums.
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