Boxing legend Tyson to visit Prague in March


Promoters in the Czech capital on Wednesday confirmed that boxing legend Mike Tyson will visit Prague next month – unlike a failed project put together by different organisers last autumn. The former world heavyweight champion will take part in a whirlwind tour that will include an appearance at the gala event Heroes’ Gate 3 and visit a hospital to help raise money for sick children.

This time it’s for real, promoters and Mike Tyson’s long-time British manager Carl Holmess have said: the world-famous boxer will touch down in the Czech capital for a three-day visit on March 23, that should more than make up for a cancelled appearance last year. The 44-year-old boxing legend last autumn was not able to take part in a previous tour which turned into promotional fiasco by former organisers.

This time around, new promoters Ladislav Kuťil and Pavol Mucha, together with Mr Tyson’s British manager say things were prepared properly: the main thing is that a contract has been signed and the funds necessary to secure the visit, confirmed. In all, the promoters say the project – which includes the main event Heroes Gate 3 (featuring two title fights in Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing in Prague) – will cost some 10 million crowns. Wednesday morning I spoke to Carl Holmess, the boxer’s manager, who told me why this project would be a success, unlike last time:

“I think that I was probably at fault with the last contract, with a lot of confidence into it, a lot of faith in the last two guys and they showed me a lot of documents to show me that they had the money. But unfortunately it was fabricated and it didn’t exist. On this occasion it’s completely different and the guys have shown us everything, with a good lawyer and a good bank and everything has been within schedule.”

Tell me a little bit about Mr Tyson’s role in the whole event...

“To be quite fair he’s used to being the centrepiece and he’s been the centrepiece for 20 or so years now, you know! But Mike is looking forward to fulfilling the programme. He knows it’s intense, but that is what he wanted: to condense the programme and maximise his time here.”

Does he have a busy schedule aside from this?

“Well, there’s Prague, after that we had back to London where we has a small commitment before heading back to the United States. He’s very much involved with Animal Planet and Men in Black. It’s awesome at the moment: he’s really, really busy. His profile is huge.”

Mike Tyson aka. Iron Mike will arrive in Prague next month a day ahead of Heroes Gate 3, an event sure to draw plenty of martial arts fans. Besides action in the ring, popular alternative rock band Eddie Stoilow will also perform on the evening. Frontman Jan Žampa says for him and his band mates it will be a different performance than most:

“We’re really excited and hopefully no one will knock us out if they don’t like the music! It’s a different type of event so we are looking forward to it. It’s also kind of an honour to be able to play with Mike Tyson.”

During Mr Tyson’s Prague visit, the former champ will visit children at Prague’s Motol Hospital and will hope to raise funds for their aid. It will be possible to pay to take part in two one-and-a half hours of training with the former champ. Entry costs 10,000 crowns, the promoters said, with four out of 60 spots already sold and 15 reserved although the tickets went on sale only recently. Czech fans of Mike Tyson and boxing or the martial arts in general this time appear far more ready to turn out.