As previously reported, former undisputed world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson plans to launch branches of the Mike Tyson Academy (MTA) in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
The youngest boxer to win the WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight titles at the age of 20, Tyson unveiled his future strategic plans for his franchise of MTA fitness centres during a recent press conference held at the Atlantis The Palm in Dubai.
The Dubai venue will be one of eight to open around the world by the end of the year. The headquarters of MTA will be located in Las Vegas.
“People don’t have to fight to be a champion, they can get in shape to be a champion for themselves,” Tyson said. “There are quite a few gyms in Dubai but they are not the right gyms. The difference is big, and our academy is the right gym. Boxing training is about doing something you hate doing, until you learn how to love it.”
A two-year project will see him and his business partners open gyms in 10 countries across five continents. Two venues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are spotted, but the final decision regarding the gym is yet to be taken by Tyson.
“I strive to maintain consistency across all my centres with trainers that have been certified by me as well as exceptional training staff who will be on site to ensure a certain benchmark is maintained. I am positive that this is going to be only the beginning of a long-running successful association between me and the region," Tyson said.
The Mike Tyson Academy will offer more than traditional centres and will be a standing testimony to Mike’s philosophy of hard work and discipline. The centres will feature cardio, strength, functional training and boxing. There will be a full-scale boxing ring in every location and a host of group training and functional classes to take fitness programmes a notch higher.
As far as the current state of the heavyweight division, Tyson has a real big level of respect for the newest kingpin, WBA, IBO, IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), who back in April drew over 90,000 fans to Wembley in London for an eleventh round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko.
There are many options out there for Joshua, but Tyson would like to see him face the former unified champion, Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs).
"That's one fight I'd like to see," Tyson said to BBC Sport. "Some people might think Tyson Fury is a joke but he really knows how to fight. He puts it together really well and Klitschko couldn't land a punch on him [during their 2015 bout] so let's see if Joshua can land a big punch."
Fury is hoping to regain his boxing license and return to the ring by year's end.