Dubai - Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has confirmed his presence as a special guest at the World Arab Boxing Championships planned at Festival City here on January 21-22.
This was confirmed by Ali Hadi Al Sideri, president of the Paris-based World Arab Boxing Federation at a special announcement.
"We have a signed official contract with Mike Tyson's team, which visited the UAE earlier this week," Al Sideri told media.
The two-day event will see some of the top champions of the sport from across the Arab world converge at a specially set-up boxing arena at Dubai Festival City in Al Garhoud.
"This visit from Tyson is going to create quite a stir, not just for Arab Boxing but for boxing in general," said Muoad Al Merri, president of Golden Star Media Production and Advertising, the organisers of the event.
"We are in discussions with some of the champions of the Arab world and the final set of names of boxers should be confirmed by next week," he added.
Also known as Malek Abdul Aziz, Tyson is scheduled to be in the UAE for three days.
The first day will host only the men's fights featuring both amateurs and professionals, while the next day will be a women's only fight card.
"Mike Tyson is arguably one of the best boxers in the world. He fought with a passion that till today remains unsurpassed in the boxing world," Barrack Al Jassar, a member of the World Arab Boxing Federation, said.
"It will be our pleasure to have him in Dubai and taking boxing to the next level in the UAE."
Tyson, who has often been referred as the "Baddest Man on the Planet" or simply as ‘Iron Mike', fought for the world heavyweight title in 2002 at the age of 35, when he lost by knockout (KO) to Lennox Lewis.
The American boxer retired from professional boxing in 2006 after he was knocked out in successive matches by Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.
A similar boxing championship featuring some of the top pugilists from across the Arab world was held earlier this year with tremendous success.
"We have seen the success of the earlier event and we want to take this further and ensure this sport has a solid base in the UAE," Al Sideri added.
The Dubai Sports Council-backed World Arab Boxing Championships will feature men and women fighters from the United States, Iraq, Switzerland, Russia, Netherlands, France, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Croatia, Jordan, Surinam, Kuwait, Palestine, Spain, Colombia, Portugal, Turkey, Mauritania and the UAE.
Tickets will be priced at Dh300, Dh500 and Dh700 and will entitle spectators to be part of the musical and entertainment shows planned on both nights.