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'An INSULT to boxing!' Mike Tyson shuts down potential showdown with rugby player Sonny Bill Williams

'An INSULT to boxing!' Mike Tyson shuts down potential showdown with rugby player Sonny Bill Williams
Heavyweight legend Mike Tyson has shut down a potential charity bout with Sonny Bill Williams as an “insult to boxing” after the New Zealand rugby player turned-boxer expressed interest in facing ‘the baddest man on the planet’.

Rumors have recently swirled over a ring return for the youngest man ever to win the world heavyweight championship. It's over three decades since Tyson, then going by the nickname ‘Kid Dynamite’, sliced through Trevor Berbick in two rounds to win the WBC belt aged just 20 years 4 months and 22 days.

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But the Brooklynite, who turns 54 in June, sparked talk of a comeback when he went viral smashing the pads in a recent Instagram post, and has since received offers to box bare knuckle and a $650,000 offer from Australian promoter Brian Amatruda to fight Down Under.

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New Zealand rugby international Sonny Bill Williams brazenly threw his hat into the ring, claiming at the weekend: “If it’s for a good cause, I’d love to get in the ring with Mike Tyson. It would be an honour ... a career highlight to share the ring with an iconic figure of world sport.”


“I grew up watching Tyson and his fights. It’s hard not to admire the power and ferocity of Tyson like so many other sports people around the world. It would be a humbling and surreal moment in my life to stare at him and know I was facing one of the greats of the sport,” the 35-year-old added.

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All Blacks veteran Williams is 7-0 as a professional boxer having first laced up the gloves in the paid ranks in 2009 alongside his international rugby league and rugby union career, but has since appeared in the ring only sporadically and last fought in 2015.

Despite the friendly challenge, Tyson shut down any hopes of a match with a vicious putdown he was famous for in his fighting days, after getting in touch with Sydney-based promoter Mark Markson.

"Mike felt it would be an insult to boxing if he fought a footballer," Markson revealed.

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"He doesn't have any interest in coming to Australia at the moment – plus, there is no international travel anyway because of the coronavirus – but said if anything changes I'll be the first to know."


Despite the chasm in class between their careers, the two share a common opponent in South African former contender Frans Botha, who provided Tyson with one of his toughest night’s work and also one of his most famous knockouts when ‘The White Buffalo’ danced around and frustrated a lethargic Iron Mike before being nailed with a highlight reel right hand when they met in Las Vegas in 1999.

Fourteen years later and Williams labored his way to a scrappy 10-round unanimous decision over a 45-year-old Botha in 2013 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, a million miles away from the bright lights of Sin City.

Tyson has also been the subject of an alleged $20 million offer from Bare Knuckle Fight Club (BKFC) to make an ungloved return to the ring, as well as a prospective acceptance of a call from Russian MMA fighter Sergei Kharitonov to meet under boxing rules.

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