Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has said it is "ridiculous and foolish" for professional boxers to fight in the Olympic Games. Speaking in Beijing before an IBF flyweight title fight he said a professional fighter could be beaten by an amateur at the Olympics, due to the different pace of the competition.
"Some pro fighters are going to get beat by the amateurs, I just know it is going to happen, I really believe it", he said. "If they are like the amateur fighters I was fighting in the 80s, they are going to beat some of the champions. These guys [amateur fighters] will be fast for three rounds, and these guys [pro fighters] are just not going to be accustomed to that," he insisted.
The Amateur International Boxing Association has said professional boxers will compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games if a constitutional change is agreed in June. AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu previously said in March this year that pro boxers will be taking part in the competition, due to start on 5 August in Rio.
"Professional boxers will be at Rio. I don't know how many but they will be. But they will have to go through the same procedures as everyone else", he said. "Allowing pro boxers to compete alongside amateurs at the Games means the sport could get increased exposure, as potentially big-name fighters would take part."
Tyson confessed that he does not follow the sport he once dominated very closely these days, but said he has been impressed by his namesake, Tyson Fury. "Everyone says, 'ah, he's a bum', but I like him. The fact that somebody would name their son after me and all the stuff I have been through, and all that ugly, nasty, yeah, I like Tyson Fury," he said.
Fury has hit the headlines for his increasingly bizzare rants outside of the ring as much as his wins. His racist, homophobic and sexist comments made during an hour-long video during which he hit out at "Zionist Jewish people" who "own all the banks", has provoked multiple calls for him to be barred from boxing.
In November 2016 he beat the long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, although fellow Briton Anthony Joshua has since claimed the IBF title. Fury's world heavyweight championship rematch against Klitschko will take place in Manchester on 9 July. Kazakhstan-born Klitschko has said he has a "duty" to dethrone Fury for the sake of the reputation of the heavyweight championship.