It would not be an exaggeration to say that Saudi Arabia is inching towards becoming the new boxing capital of the world. It has leveraged its resources to stage multiple important fights like Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk, Francis Ngannou vs. Anthony Joshua, and Dmitry Bivol vs. Artur Beterbiev. However, one omnipresent name in the boxing-scape of the kingdom is Mike Tyson.

The former heavyweight champion has never fought in Riyadh, but he is revered as a popular face among boxing fans over there. He is present as a guest at almost every boxing event that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia puts together. A promoter from the region, Amer Abdallah, explained the contributions Tyson has made to the sport not just in the Kingdom, but in the Middle East at large.

From boxing events to gyms to even MMA, Iron Mike does it all

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In a conversation on the Mayweather Channel, the promoter explained the important roles Tyson had to play in his recent visit to the region. He noted, “I represent Mike in the Middle East. Had a long-time relationship with him. We just did a two-week tour. Went to Riyadh for the PFL launch there, which was a great event. Hung out for a while in Riyadh, caught up with a lot of old friends.”

On February 24, at the PFL vs. Bellator clash that pitted fighters of both clans against each other in Riyadh, Tyson was accorded the honor of presenting the winners of the top three fights with the specially made Champion of Champions title belt. The promoter further added, “He loves the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and he has a wonderful relationship with His Excellency, Turki Alalshikh. He has a lot of great relationships there and he’s of course got the Mike Tyson Boxing Club there.”

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At the onset of the Riyadh season last year, Tyson opened his boxing gym in the Boulevard City of Riyadh called, Mike Tyson Boxing Club. The state-of-the-art facility was promoted by HE Turki Alalshikh, who happens to be the backbone of the boxing scene in the Kingdom.

What else did Mike Tyson do there? Abdallah noted, ” So we had a good time there and then we went and we were invited to Libya for their first-ever professional fight which was an interesting experience. And you know, it was on the eve of the announcement of the Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson fight.”

Having done so much in the region, it is obvious that Iron Mike has done a lot for the growth of boxing in the region. What about the people there? How do they see Mike Tyson?

Mike Tyson is larger than life

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Amer Abdallah noted, “Mike is just larger than life man. He’s just and I always pinch myself when I’m around him like man, this guy is just a living legend. That’s what he is. Everywhere he goes, he just captivates people. Like the look on their faces when they see him. And that’s what I do, I look at the people.” Mike Tyson is a regular face among the attendees at major boxing events that happen in the region. He was also set to headline a face-off in the Saudi this year.

In January, it was rumoured that Mike Tyson would fight in a boxing match against MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko in Saudi Arabia. While reports suggested that negotiations between the two parties had begun, the fight never solidified.

Mike Tyson might not make his comeback in the Middle East as a boxer, but that does not mean that he values the region any less. It remains to be seen where this relationship with the Middle East takes Mike Tyson next.

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Will he ever fight in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.