Evander Holyfield open to third fight with Mike Tyson and dismisses age concerns

The pair, aged 57 and 53 respectively, have met twice previously, in the 1990s, with Holyfield winning both

FILE PHOTO: WBA Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield (R) connects to the jaw of challenger Mike Tyson in the first round of their title fight June 28.  Evander Holyfied retained his World Boxing Association heavyweight title on Saturday night when Mike Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield twice in the third round./File Photo

Evander Holyfield says he is open to a third fight with old rival Mike Tyson – should his former foe ask.

Holyfield, a four-time world heavyweight champion who retired in 2014, has been busy training for a return to the ring for charity, as has Tyson.

The pair, now 57 and 53 respectively, have met twice previously, in the 1990s, with Holyfield winning both. Their 1997 clash is remembered as the “Bite Fight” since Tyson was disqualified for biting off part of his opponent’s ear.

Asked this week about the possibility of another duel with Tyson, this time a three-round fight, Holyfield told BBC Radio 5 live: “If he wants to. If I ask him it's almost like me being a bully saying I want to go against somebody I've beaten twice.

"I don't want pressure on me that 'You just want to fight Mike because you know you can beat him'. If he hits me I'm gonna hit you back, that's what boxing is really about.

“I'm gonna be 58, he'll be 54; you talk about being in good health and doing things the proper way that respects it.

"Anybody that I get in the ring with - if I'm in there with my brother - if he tag me I'm gonna tag him back. If you don't want me to throw bombs you'd better not throw bombs."

Holyfield last fought professionally in 2011 – the final of 57 pro appearances – defeating Denmark's Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen by technical knockout. Tyson, meanwhile, brought down the curtain on his competitive career in 2005 – his 58th pro fight – when he lost to Ireland’s Kevin McBride in Washington DC.

Almost 35 years have passed since Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight champion in 1986 – he was 20 at the time.

The duo's potential return to the ring has been heavily criticised by some, given the fighters' ages and the subsequent dangers involved, but Holyfield said inspiring young people served as motivation.

"I don't have a problem with it,” he said. “I'm doing it for my foundation to tell them what life is really about. When they see me box at 58 years old, they're gonna go 'Wow, how did you do that?' Taking care of yourself, listen to your momma, listen to your father.

"When you become an adult you don't just say all that stuff my parents told me don't work. The reason you made it this far is because of these things your parents told you. I had good parents and a good coach.

"My coach told me at the age of eight years old 'You're gonna be the best fighter that ever came out of the south' and people laughed at him, but I was set when I made the Olympic team. Then I became the undisputed cruiserweight champion, became the heavyweight champion of the world then got it again and again and again - he was right."

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