The Ultimate Challenge: Mike Tyson Tempted with a $1 Million Offer to Battle a Rugby World Cup Winner


Mike Tyson is in training for a charity exhibition fight – and the first big offer has come in from a leading Australian promoter, who has a big sporting star in mind for Iron Mike’s potential return.

Melbourne-based matchmaker Brian Amatruda picked up the phone after Tyson’s fearsome pad session was seen worldwide this month. According to the Daily Mail, he has three opponents primary in his thoughts: Paul Gallen, Barry Hall or Sonny Bill Williams.

Rugby league star Gallen and ex-AFL player Hall are big names down under, but the outstanding name is clearly Williams – an All Blacks great who won two rugby union World Cups in 2011 and 2015.

The 34-year-old New Zealander has also dabbled in heavyweight boxing. Williams built an unbeaten 7-0 record, against limited opposition, between 2009 and 2015.


The Mail spoke to Amatruda, who has put on cards featuring Australia’s biggest boxing names. He claimed Tyson could still sell out a 10,000+ arena and that the prospect of a contest would instantly appeal to Williams.

“He might be 53 years old but he’s still a huge name and any of those blokes Hall, Gallen or Sonny Bill would jump at the chance to get into the ring with him,” Amatruda said.

“I’d make it part of a card with a world title fight for Tayla [Harris] on it. It would be enormous. Not just a fight, it would be an event.”

As Williams explained, his first step has been to call celebrity agent Max Markson – who has taken Tyson to Australia before – and put forward an initial offer of $1 million to the former undisputed heavyweight world champ.


“Max brought him to Australia in 2012,” Amatruda said. “He gets on well with him and his wife but the main thing is that he got him a visa to get into the country back then and that’s the key.

“We’d have to wait until the coronavirus shutdowns are over of course so the fight probably wouldn’t be until early next year – as long as we can get the visa. They gave him one in 2012 and he was fine, he’s a quiet family man now. He didn’t cause any trouble then, so why shouldn’t they let him back in?”

Despite Amatruda’s optimism there are, of course, many barriers to getting the fight on.


Tyson is reported to be keen to engage in three-round exhibition contests to raise money for charity – and has impressed everyone from his coach to Oscar De La Hoya with his speed and savagery in training.

Meanwhile Williams, one of New Zealand and Australia’s highest-profile athletes, has had huge success in rugby league as well as rugby union – and is no stranger to donning the gloves to take on an unusual challenge.

But with global travel currently restricted and Amatruda waiting to hear back on his offer, there’s clearly a long, long way to go before Iron Mike is swapping punches for (charity) pay with Sonny Bill.

Still, given how surreal the sporting landscape is right now, if 2021 delivered us Tyson vs Williams live in Melbourne, we really wouldn’t be wholly surprised.


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