Published: March 10, 2005
March 10, 2005
BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai kickboxing officials want former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to come to Thailand and learn the national sport, the Nation newspaper reported.
The World Boxing Council-Muaythai, recently formed to promote the sport and to hold title fights around the world, has been speaking to Tyson’s representatives and will travel to Las Vegas next Thursday to meet with Tyson, the paper said.
“He likes muaythai, and he’s being encouraged to make the switch,” a senior official involved in the talks with Tyson told the Nation.
“He’ll need to spend some time here in Thailand, not only learning the sport, but also how to show the proper respect for the traditions and culture that go with it,” the official said.
“He’ll be very welcome here in Thailand, but he will have to learn to be humble, show respect and uphold the traditions of muaythai,” he said.
“We’ll teach him the wai kru (the show of respect by fighters to their trainers), take him to the temple to make merit, and teach him how to show the proper respect to his rivals in the ring.”
Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear in a title bout in 1997, and served three years in jail for the 1991 rape of the former beauty queen.
Tyson said in Rome last week that he would make a boxing comeback on June 20 in Washington, but he didn’t name his opponent.
Australia’s acting immigration minister Peter McGauran said last week that Tyson was unlikely to meet the character requirements to receive a visa for an attempt to relaunch his career in Australia.
The former world champion’s last bout was a fourth-round knockout loss to Englishman Danny Williams last July.