BOXING

Mike Tyson-Jake Paul bout set for eight rounds, sanctioned as pro fight for July 20

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The rules have been set for the heavyweight fight between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul and they include two-minute rounds and 14-ounce gloves for a sanctioned pro bout scheduled for eight rounds.

Because it is a sanctioned pro fight, the outcome will count toward their records. Tyson is 50-6 with 44 knockouts and Paul is 9-1 with six knockouts.

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The rules were proposed by the promoter, Holden Boxing LLC, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees combat sports in Texas. The fight is scheduled to be held July 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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“The camps for both fighters agreed on the promoter’s proposed terms for the bout and the terms were submitted to TDLR for approval,” Tela Mange, Communications Manager for the TDLR, told USA TODAY Sports by email. “You would need to ask the promoter about the reasoning for the shorter rounds.”

Bryce Holden, principal of Holden Boxing, did not respond to requests for comment.

Standard fights feature three-minute rounds and 10-ounce gloves, which Tyson used to deliver devastating knockouts during his pro career.

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“To call it a professional bout is a bit inaccurate and creative use of words,” Teddy Atlas, a retired trainer who once worked with Tyson, told USA TODAY Sports by text message.

Retired trainer Abel Sanchez told USA TODAY Sports, “might as well call it an glorified sparring session.”

But Tyron Woodley, the former UFC champion who in crossover boxing matches lost to Paul by split-decision in 2021 and got knocked out in their rematch, said the designation of the bout is irrelevant. “It was a real fight whether it was exhibition or not,” he told USA TODAY Sports.

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The two-minute rounds are expected to favor Tyson because of potential issues for the boxer who will be 58 at the time of the fight. The 14-ounce gloves are expected to favor Paul because the heavier gloves could soften the impact of Tyson’s punches.

“I think they call that a compromise,” said Azim Spicer, who is Tyson’s brother-in-law and has been involved in business deals with the boxer and said Tyson is happy with the rules.

MVP, co-founded by Paul, and Holden Boxing, the promoter for the fight, first disclosed the the rules in a press release issued Monday. The TDLR later confirmed the rules to USA TODAY Sports.

Mike Tyson looks on prior to the heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou at Boulevard Hall in 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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JUSTIN SETTERFIELD, GETTY IMAGES

Whether Tyson, 57, and Paul, 27, would face off in an exhibition or a pro bout has been a matter of speculation since the fight was announced March 7.

“The safety of the contestants competing in the ring or the octagon is always the primary concern of TDLR staff,” Tela Mange, Mange told USA TODAY Sports. “This competition is no different.”

 

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