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Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson fight could be a PROFESSIONAL bout – 19 years since 'Iron Mike' last competed – as YouTube star and former heavyweight champion prepare to face off in July

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  • Paul, 27, and Tyson, 57, announced their shock boxing showdown last week
  • Heavyweight icon Mike has only competed in exhibitions since retiring in 2005
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

The promoters behind Jake Paul and Mike Tyson‘s controversial boxing showdown are pushing for it to be staged as a professional contest, according to reports.

Paul, 27, sparked outrage last week after announcing that he is set to face Tyson, 57, in a live Netflix bout on July 20.

Despite appearing to be an exhibition, many were quick to express outrage over the concept of ‘Iron Mike’ stepping back into the ring with a fighter 30 years his junior – especially following recent footage which shows him using a walking stick.

In Paul, he will be taking on a YouTube star carving out a career for himself in professional boxing after picking up nine wins in 10 contests, which has included brutal knockouts against former UFC stars Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren.

A number of high-profile figures in the sport are therefore concerned about Tyson – who is turning 58 in June – taking on a fighter as young and heavy-handed as Paul. 

Mike Tyson could reportedly be set to face Jake Paul in a professional contest this summer

Mike Tyson could reportedly be set to face Jake Paul in a professional contest this summer

Tyson will be 58 by the time he steps into the ring to face Paul, who is 30 years his junior

Tyson will be 58 by the time he steps into the ring to face Paul, who is 30 years his junior

And according to combat-sports journalist Ariel Helwani, Paul and Tyson’s bout may not even be classed as an exhibition, with promoters understood to be pushing for a pro contest.

‘They’re still working on a few important details based on the conversations that I’ve had,’ Helwani said on his latest MMA Hour show. ‘Is it pro or is it exhibition? They want pro, obviously that’s up to the Texas Commission. We’ll wait and see.

‘Weight, I’m told heavyweight. Rounds working on that as well.’

Former British heavyweight boxer Derek Chisora recently claimed that Paul and Tyson will be wearing headguards and using 18oz gloves in a sparring-style fight, a rumor which was shut down by Helwani.

Instead, organizers are reportedly keen for the bout to resemble a standard pro encounter – something Tyson hasn’t taken part in since 2005.

The former world heavyweight champion quit in his final contest 19 years ago, with journeyman Kevin McBride forcing him to throw in the towel on both the fight and his career before the start of the seventh round.

'Iron Mike' has not competed professionally since his 2005 stoppage defeat to Kevin McBride

‘Iron Mike’ has not competed professionally since his 2005 stoppage defeat to Kevin McBride

Since then, he has merely competed in exhibitions over the last two decades, the most recent coming against fellow fight legend Roy Jones Jr back in 2020.

Eddie Hearn believes it will be ‘really sad’ to see Tyson return to the ring against Paul. 

‘For me it’s really sad because Mike Tyson was one of my idols growing up, and to see him fighting at 57, 58… but I also understand that a lot of people are going to tune in and watch,’ Hearn told Mail Sport last week.

‘It’s an entertainment event, Netflix, great to see them involved in boxing. I think it will do really well. But it’s just not really one for me.’