In the world of professional sport, a retired athlete announcing a “comeback” contains about as much surprise as a box of cornflakes. When you’ve dedicated your entire life to a sport, sacrificing the experiences of youth and adulthood for gruelling hours of training and competition, it’s likely that you’ll suffer something of an identity crisis when your time in the sport is up. Just look at the history books: Michael Jordan came back after a stint in baseball, Michael Phelps returned to the pool after retirement, and even boxer George Foreman returned to the ring. So while fans weren’t quite surprised to hear former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson announce a return to the ring for charity, they were a little shocked to see that even at the age of 53-years-old, the boxing superstar still has what it takes to go round-for-round with the best.
In a podcast interview with rapper T.I., the boxing champion revealed that he’d been training hard ahead of his comeback matches for charity. He said, “I’ve been hitting the mitts for the last week. That’s been tough, my body is really jacked up and really sore from hitting the mitts. I’ve been working out, I’ve been trying to get in the ring, I think I’m going to box some exhibitions and get in shape. I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some exhibitions for some charities and stuff. Some charity exhibitions, make some money, help some homeless and drug-affected like me.”
Boxing is tough. You only need to look at the prevalence of boxing boutique gyms to discover that the popularity is owing to the H.I.T.T. sessions that manage to scorch calories quicker than you get that post-boxing protein shake down. And Tyson explained why. Talking T.I. through his arduous training regime, he explained that now he’s in his 50s, his intense training has had to be modified compared to when he was the heavyweight champion at just 20-years-old.
“I do two hours on cardio, I do the bike and the treadmill for an hour, then I do some light weights, 300, 250 reps. Then I start my day with the boxing thing, I go in there and hit the mitts, 30 minutes, 25 minutes, start getting in better condition. I’m starting to put those combinations together...I’m in pain, I feel like three guys kicked the sh#t out of me.”
2 hours of cardio just to start the day?! We don’t blame you. It might be some time until we see Tyson spar in the ring, but he’s certainly putting in the training.