Dubai: Former heavyweight world boxing champion Mike Tyson has chosen Dubai for an announcement on his latest business venture, the Mike Tyson Academy, it was revealed on Tuesday.
The 50-year-old American will hold a press conference at the Burj Khalifa on May 4 followed by a gala launch on May 6.
His academy plans have already garnered interest with franchises set to open in the Middle East, Australia, France, West Africa and China.
Speaking about why he has chosen Dubai to make this announcement, he said: “Dubai has established itself on the world map by hosting many leading sports events and icons, and there is definitely a niche in this market for a fitness centre that is associated with quality and driven by a hard-core, challenging philosophy like mine.
“I strive to maintain consistency across all my centres with trainers that have been certified by me as well as exceptional training staff who will be on site to ensure a certain benchmark is maintained. I am positive that this is going to be only the beginning of a long-running successful association between myself and the region.”
Tyson previously visited Dubai in November 2013 to perform in his four-night autobiographical stage-show ‘Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth’ directed by Spike Lee, at Dubai World Trade Centre.
He was also linked with an unlikely comeback for a rematch against his old foe Evander Holyfield to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2009 - when the pair would have both been in their 40s - but that fight never materialised.
‘Iron Mike’ famously bit Holyfield’s ear off in the second of his two fights with Evander in the mid-90s, both of which he lost, the first by technical knock-out in 1996 and the second by disqualification in 1997.
It was the beginning of the end of a tumultuous career that saw him become the youngest boxer to win WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight world titles in 1986, aged 20.
But he lost them all to Buster Douglas in 1990 and was convicted of rape in 1992 and jailed for six years of which he served less than three.
While in prison he converted to Islam and made a successful comeback in 1995 going on to retrieve his WBC and WBA world titles against Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon before losing them again to Holyfield.
He wouldn’t be the first boxer to attempt to open a gym in Dubai. In 2013, Britain’s former WBA heavyweight world champion David Haye announced plans to open the Hayemaker Gym in Dubai Downtown, but he was briefly arrested for a bounced cheque relating to the development in 2015, and it has yet to open.
Tyson’s academies are said to offer more than traditional gyms and will reflect his philosophy for hard work and discipline. Centres will feature cardio, strength, functional training and boxing. There will be a full scale boxing ring in every location and a range of fitness classes.
For more information visit www.miketyson.com or follow Mike Tyson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For information on how to attend the gala launch email: firstname.lastname@example.org.