An Australian expat has ambitious plans to stage a boxing fight involving Mike Tyson in Thailand.
Tyson, arguably the most feared fighter in heavyweight boxing history, is training again with plans to climb back into the ring to raise money for charity.
Dean Bourke, who first met ‘Iron Mike’ more than 20 years ago, has already submitted a proposal to Tyson’s management team and has been in contact with major brands in Thailand who are said to be very interested in sponsoring the event.
Dean met Mike Tyson through his former business partner and friend 3 time World Boxing Champion Jeff Fenech, while building the FENECHS boxing brand in Australia.
“Jeff was always a close friend of Mike’s and so I would tag along to the USA with him and was lucky enough to meet Mike”, Dean told Thaivisa by email.
Jeff went on to become Mike’s trainer in the latter part of his career.
Dean, who himself comes from a boxing and Muay Thai background, first moved to Bangkok 14 years ago where he owned the license to the Everlast boxing equipment brand. He later worked for FBT Sports Co. for 8 years where he helped to design and promote the brand around the world.
More recently Dean has been working as a boxing promoter, promoting more than 50 fights in Thailand.
Dean explained that he had been in contact with Tyson’s management team about another project called FIGHT FOR FAMILY – a Muay Thai reality TV show in which Mike Tyson was approached to be host.
“I had been trying to promote some different boxing shows and had the idea to do a series of fights in the Thai jails that would help prisoners locked up for petty crimes and give them something to look forward to, plus help their families financially while they were in jail.”
“I came up with the idea of FIGHT FOR FAMILY, a series where Thai prisoners fight foreigners (non prisoners) and the winner of the fights to hopefully get a reduced sentence, raise money for their family and then upon release give them a chance of fighting for a Muay Thai world title.”
“After 2 years we got the approval from the Corrections Department for this series and a shot at Netflix picking up the show BUT I wanted Mike Tyson as the host,” Dean said.
“I contacted his wife who asked me to liaise with his LA Management company but it all got put ‘on hold’ due to Covid”.
While discussions were put on hold, the news broke that Tyson could be about to make a sensational comeback to the ring at the age of 53.
Dean contacted Tyson’s LA manager, Chris Smith, to discuss the possibility of hosting a Mike Tyson fight in Thailand.
Tyson’s management team have signalled their interest in the fight taking place in Thailand, Dean said, with discussions expected to continue once the situation regarding COVID-19 improves.
A Mike Tyson charity fight in Thailand “could assist the Thai economy with proceeds generated being donated back into the Kingdom to those in need”, Dean said.
There has been media speculation that Tyson will go to Australia to fight, but Dean described those reports as “fake news”, insisting that Tyson’s management team have not received any offers about hosting the fight Down Under.
Dean says the event could draw up to 1 million viewers worldwide via pay-per-view and has earmarked Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium as a potential venue.
“Mike Tyson is a great guy and wants to make money for charity, Dean said.
“He hasn’t 100% confirmed anything yet but our plan IF Mike will accept to fight is to do it in Thailand at the same time he would host the prison show FIGHT FOR FAMILY.
“Any such fight in Thailand would benefit Mike’s charity PLUS the majority of proceeds of the fight and Pay Per View, would plan to put back into the Thai economy to help the recovery, Dean added.
The news comes amid reports Tyson is very much on the comeback trail.
Videos posted on Tyson’s various social media profiles showed the former world heavyweight champion in training looking every bit as fast, ferocious and powerful as he did in his heyday.
In one video, Tyson declares “I’m back”.
At his peak, Tyson was regarded by many as the most intimidating heavyweight boxer of all time, with 44 of his 50 victories by knockout.