Mike Tyson’s world tour kicked off Friday at the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, with the former heavyweight champion sparring four rounds with Corey “T-Rex” Sanders. Sanders entered the ring wearing headgear, while Tyson did not use headgear. The fighters used 16-ounce gloves and wore t-shirts. Tyson dropped Sanders in the opening seconds and pressed the action throughout. Sanders seemed to have little interest in trading punches and virtually all the good connects were made by Tyson. Sanders’ knees were buckled by a Tyson right in round three, and Tyson landed a big right hand in the fourth. No decision was rendered, because it was an exhibition bout.
Update: added 20 more pictures to a total of 32 pictures.
More pictures and quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More’ below).
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson smiles as he enters the ring for his exhibition bout against Corey Sanders in Youngstown, Ohio, October 20, 2006. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz
Additional photos by Joe Bada . AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Ringside report by Brady Crytzer, Antonio Castro and Josh Womack
The Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown, Ohio played host Saturday to the inaugural exhibition bout of Mike Tysons World Tour where, in front of nearly 4,000 fans, the former heavyweight champion of the world went four rounds with veteran Corey T-Rex? Sanders.
The question hung in the air, almost as heavy as the anticipation for the actual fight: What is to be expected? Would the Mike Tyson of old reappear in stunning fashion?
And: What is an exhibition,? anyway, and what exactly are the rules?
As opponent Corey T-Rex? Sanders made his walk to the ring it appeared as though more inquires were raised than explained. Brandishing a navy blue t-shirt and 16-ounce gloves, Sanders signaled proudly to the crowd, crowned unexpectedly with black, protective headgear.
Whispers of Hes going to need it,? could be heard through the stands.
The fans began to cheer wildly as Tyson made his way to the ring wearing his trademark black trunks and, to everyones relief, noticeably lacking headgear. Iron? Mike, smiling ear to ear, met in the ring with deafening cheers.
The men met in the center of the ring where Sanders, despite his nearly eight-inch height advantage and 50-pound weight advantage, was slammed with a hard combination of short punches to the body followed by a blasting overhand Tyson right to the head that dropped him to the canvas.
Though visibly dazed, T-Rex? beat the count on unsteady legs.
Cheering wildly, fans were delighted to see the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world jump on his just-risen opponent to land another hard right hand. With his opponent now on the defensive, with his back against the ropes, Tyson landed another hard hook that crumpled the legs of Corey Sanders.
Just when it appeared as though he was going down for the second time in under two minutes, fans were puzzled to see Iron? Mike lift his opponent back to his feet. The round ended to a chorus of boos with both men in the embrace.
The second round saw Sanders come out with a sly grin on his face as he began to implement a jab. Though carrying a sizable reach advantage, Tyson closed the distance fast with impressively accurate jabs to the head and body.
Tying the shorter Tyson up, the Chevrolet Centres disapproval of Sanders lack of punches was heard loud and clear. After being separated by referee Jim Villers, Tyson landed a hard left hook followed by a right hand that spun the headgear of Sanders, halting the negative feedback.
After seeing the number or rights that landed cleanly, it became apparent that Sanders alleged lack of sight in his left eye was becoming a major factor.
With the tension now gone from the ring, both men became more comfortable throwing combinations. While in close, most of the action was dominated by the tenacious and unpredictable head and body shots of Tyson keeping his opponent off balanced. Finding his grove, Tyson excited the fans by blasting hard uppercuts Sanders jaw.
With the final round now in full swing, the smile that once graced Sanders face was gone as shades of the old Mike Tyson began to resurface. After a bit of shoe shining by Tyson, a perfectly placed powder keg of a right hand rocked the former sparring partner to his core.
Only holding on, the now visibly shaken Sanders was rocked repeatedly with jab-overhand right combinations that brought the crowd into a frenzy. As the remaining seconds ticked away, the Chevrolet Centre appeared satisfied as youngest heavyweight champion of all time placed one last uppercut on his opponents chin.
With no winner to be determined since the bout was held under exhibition rules, some remarks of disapproval could be heard. But, upon the announcement of Mike Tysons name, cheers of affection and gratitude began to come alive.
Having some good-natured fun, Tyson-trainer and former world champion Jeff Fenech made his way to the corner of Sanders.
The first stop of Mike Tysons World Tour was over and it will, most certainly, roll on. –Brady Crytzer
Local cruiserweight journeyman Zack Page (12-8-1, 4 KOs) made 38-year-old Lou “Honey Boy” Del Valle (35-4-1, 22 KOs) look his age, surprisingly outworking the former light heavyweight champion over ten rounds. Scores were 98-92, 97-93, 97-93.
Super middleweight Tyron “T.T.” Watson (3-0, 1 KO) dropped Stephan “The Millenium Hawk” Pryor (10-2, 7 KOs) in round one and went on to score the upset via split decision over six rounds. Scores were 60-54, 58-55 Watson, 57-56 Pryor. Pryor is the son of former ring great Aaron Pryor.
Heavyweight Octavius Smith (2-1, 2 KOs) demolished Roy Anthony Beckford (0-1) dropping Beckford four times before the carnage was halted at 2:39 of round two.
Hot welterweight “Sugar” Ray Narh (19-1, 16 KOs) scored a sixth round stoppage of Justo Sanchez (16-20-1). Sanchez was given an eight count in the sixth before being sent to the canvas by a Narh barrage. Time was 2:05.
Welterweight Frank Gill (2-3, 2 KOs) stopped Ken-Yon Kellum (0-1) at 1:18 of round three when Kellum’s corner threw in the towel. After the bout, Kellum was having trouble breathing and was taken from the ring on a stretcher.
Middleweight Chris Archer (6-1, 4 KOs) TKO’d Vance Garvey (6-24-5, 1 KO) in round six. Garvey was on the deck before the bout was halted in the sixth.
Tyson-Sanders Post Fight Presser
By Brady Crytzer
“I thought things went well,” promoter Sterling McPherson said to the small congregation of media gathered at the post-fight press conference following the inaugural bout of Mike Tyson’s World Tour in Youngstown, Ohio.
“I was very pleased with how Mike (Tyson) performed,” McPherson said boastfully. “This is the first time Mike has gotten into the ring in almost two years.”
As the clock wound to nearly two o clock in the morning, media were still anxiously anticipating the arrival of the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Little did they know he would never make an appearance. Despite the strong sense of fatigued disappointment in the room, the press conference continued.
Anxious to answer any questions despite the late hour, McPherson clearly laid out the groundwork for the future of Mike Tyson’s World Tour. Since its official announcement, rumors have circulated and possible opponents have been speculated as to who and where Mike Tyson will fight next. Though it is still early McPherson explained, there are some definite possibilities; some more likely than others.
“Right now we have a schedule to keep,” McPherson said. “We have about eight different places that we’re looking to go.”
“Mike is going to sit down and decide where he wants to fight next. He will be fighting again in the next three to four weeks.”
Of those eight places being considered, McPherson mentioned Los Angeles and San Diego as well as countries other than the United States including South Korea and South Africa. Also mentioned in a more official term was the current haven of heavyweight royalty…Russia
“We are also doing a fight in Miami on Super Bowl weekend,” McPherson said smiling. “That should be a lot of fun.”
Sterling McPherson also stated that is all likelihood the next time “Iron” Mike steps into a boxing ring will be on American Soil.
When addressed about the somewhat negative reception including the booing at the sight of Corey Sander’s dawning headgear, the shirts worn by both fighters and the actual action of the exhibition itself, McPherson answered with a respected and brutally honest reply.
“I don’t know what people expected,” McPherson said. “We didn’t try to fake anybody out or pull the wool over anybody’s eyes. This was an exhibition and they (the fans) knew that coming in.”
“People boo at real fights. That’s their prerogative.”
As for anything that is solid at this point, McPherson stated the first official international stop of Mike Tyson’s World Tour would be on New Year’s Eve in Micau, China.
“I like to spice things up,” McPherson said. “I enjoy getting some different regional fighters in their with Mike, but let’s look back. Joe Louis did this. Gene Tunney did this. They did it over one hundred time with the same two sparring partners.”
As the name of Mike Tyson circulates the media, most attention focused on the former “Dynamite Kid” lies in his words claiming that he would fight a woman. Sterling McPherson quickly shed light of any of the rumors.
“That remark was taken so far out of context,” McPherson said. “He was talking about boxing celebrities like radio personality Tom Joyner and women like Ann Wolfe. Ann Wolfe is a fighter. He was intending that to be women that don’t fight.”
Undeterred, Promoter Sterling McPherson continued to show his gratitude to the estimated four thousand fans that attended the event.
“We are excited about this tour,” McPherson said. “Mike is happy and the people of Youngstown are happy. It was a lot of fun.”
“We might even find another spot down here as soon as we can.”