Details: Texas Sanctions Mike Tyson-Jake Paul as a Professional Fight

Boxing Scene

Much of the criteria typically leaned upon to approve a boxer’s fitness for a fight is dated in the case of Mike Tyson, who hasn’t been inside a professional boxing ring for 19 years.

In explaining the process used to approve the Monday sanctioning of Tyson’s July 20 bout with YouTuber Jake Paul as a professional fight, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said it factored in the following:

– The number of bouts the contestant has participated in (56, including Tyson’s heavyweight title fights dating to 1986, against the likes of Michael Spinks, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis)

– The number of career rounds the contestant has participated in (215, including Tyson’s 22 first-round knockouts or stoppages)

– The number of rounds the contest is scheduled for, taking into account the experience (or inexperience) of the contestants (eight; Paul, 27, has fought in just 10 bouts and 46 rounds in his young, novelty career)

Texas wound up officially signing off on the bout by stamping the Netflix-streamed bout at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as an eight-round bout with two-minute rounds. The fighters will punch in 14-ounce gloves (instead of 10 ounces) with no headgear.

“Our combative sports staff evaluate numerous factors to determine if an event can be held in a manner that is both safe for both contestants and in compliance with department laws and rules,” Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation spokesperson Tela Goodwin Mange said in a Monday email to Boxing Scene.

Goodwin Mange indicated Tyson had been subjected to a battery of medical prerequisites before gaining this approval.

“Combative sports staff, in collaboration with ringside physicians appointed to the Texas Combative Sports Advisory Board, review the results of each contestant’s required medical tests to ensure they are physically able to compete, including additional testing, as required or requested,” she said in the statement.

A boxing industry official familiar with Texas’ screening of Tyson, who reigned as heavyweight champion from 1986 to 1990, and again in 1996, said that in addition to the medical tests and scans required from Tyson, the state is also expected to inspect video footage of his sparring and training.

Paul, who was born in 1997, five months before Tyson’s infamous ear bite in a loss to Holyfield, has parlayed boxing victories over former UFC fighters Tyron Woodley, Ben Askren, Anderson Silva and Nate Diaz into this card, which will be supported by the rematch between champions Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano.

Paul has also posted first-round knockouts of two second-rate pro boxers within the past six months.

And while Tyson returned to fight an exhibition against former champion Roy Jones Jr., in 2020, there have been concerns that he could be prone to injury given his age and Paul’s power-punching ability.

Conversely, others have expressed disinterest in making the bout an exhibition that could strip the bout of its legitimacy and, in turn, its potential to sell tickets.

Goodwin Mange assured that Texas has prioritized fighter safety over profits.

“The safety of the contestants competing in the ring or the octagon is always the primary concern of TDLR staff,” she said in the statement. “This competition is no different.”

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