Anthony Joshua sends message to Mike Tyson as comeback fight announced

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Anthony Joshua says Mike Tyson looks as if he “is going to come and rule the heavyweight division” as he gave his approval for the former world champion’s exhibition bout with Roy Jones Jr.

The two veterans announced on Thursday they will meet in an eight-round contest in Los Angeles in September.

Tyson, 54, has been teasing a return to the ring for months, though it initially looked as though former rival Evander Holyfield would be in the opposite corner.

However Jones Jr, 51, has instead stepped up to the plate, and current IBF, WBO and WBA champ Joshua has sent his best wishes to both men in advance.

“I think it’s for a passion from them both, it’s what they’ve known,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “Mike Tyson has been fighting since he was like 13 years old, Roy Jones, his dad pushed him to become a great.

“Good luck to them both, it’s all they know. They haven’t got to do it to compete with the young lions in the division now.

“We’re bigger, we’re stronger, sports science has improved so there is more technology. The whole sporting world has kind of developed.

“If Mike Tyson wants to come back and fight someone from his era for the love of the sport, crack on, I wish them well.”

Tyson last fought professionally more than 15 years ago in the sixth defeat of his career to Irishman Kevin McBride.

Meanwhile fellow former world champion Jones Jr remained active until as recently as 2018, winning his last four match-ups before his short-lived retirement.

That said, videos have emerged of Tyson in the gym as he has been getting in shape for a return, and Iron Mike has looked in typically devastating form.

“You’ve seen a clip on social media so you think, ‘he’s back in action, he’s fighting fit’,” Joshua said. “But it’s like one of the old footballers doing a crossbar challenge.

“Mike Tyson hitting the pads with that ferocious behaviour is just second nature to him.

“To someone watching from home it looks like this guy is going to come and rule the heavyweight division.”

The fight is expected to attract plenty of viewers, particularly old school boxing fanatics keen to catch another glimpse of their sports heroes in action.

Nevertheless, there are obvious concerns over the safety of both fighters given their advanced years.

Joshua added: “I hope they come out healthy and I hope it adds value to the sport of boxing, the sport we love.”

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