MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko calls for boxing match with ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson: ‘That would be awesome’


Legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko may be done in the world of mixed martial arts, but that won’t stop the Russian juggernaut from stepping inside the squared circle someday.

After accumulating 40 wins over the course of his 23-year career in MMA, Fedor Emelianenko called it a career following his first-round knockout loss against Ryan Bader at Bellator 290 in February. Since then, ‘The Last Emperor’ has stayed in shape, and while a return to MMA is off the table, Emelianenko is undeniably intrigued by the idea of trying out his heavy hands inside the boxing ring.

“MMA is done, 100 percent,” Emelianenko told Ariel Helwani during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I’m not going back to MMA. I want to try myself in boxing. I think that’s going to be interesting. After the last fight with Bader, I took a break. I started lifting weights a little bit, got some muscles back so my injuries are going away, so my shoulder feels better a little bit, and I started boxing, so I feel pretty good and pretty confident in boxing.”

Though it’s far too early to announce an opponent for his proposed boxing debut, Fedor admittedly loves the idea of strapping on the eight-ounce gloves for a clash with heavyweight icon ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson.

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“We watched the fight on TV of Roy Jones Jr. vs. Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson would be an interesting fight,” Emelianenko said. “He has a big name, he’s a legend. … It would be interesting because you can see a lot of his videos on YouTube and all over the place, he’s still in good shape. He still works pads, he still has that same power” (h/t MMA Fighting).

Tyson is one of the most recognized figures in the sport, holding the undisputed heavyweight title for nearly three years between 1987 and 1990. Tyson kicked off his career with 19-straight victories via knockout, 12 coming in the very first round.

“That would be awesome,” Emelianenko said when asked about the idea of fighting Tyson. “If it would be possible I definitely would do it. I will be ready. I always train. There was a camp right now in Russia. I was there. I’m always ready. I heard that Mike Tyson is going to help Francis Ngannou to prepare for this fight, so he’s probably in good shape too.”

With more than 20 years of experience boxing, Fedor Emelianenko believes he can hold his own inside the squared circle, but ‘The Last Emperor’ is far from delusional about his own skills, particularly when matched up with someone as experienced and dangerous as Mike Tyson.

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“Right now I’m 47, but I started boxing when I was 23,” Emelianenko said. “Over half of my life I’ve done boxing. Everybody knows that I’m mostly a wrestler, sambo, judo. I was on the national sambo and judo teams, but you can see in my fights that I’m pretty good at boxing as well. Of course, I’m not as good as Mike Tyson, but it would be interesting.”

Fedor Discusses the Possibility of Fighting Jake Paul

Fedor Emelianenko also addressed the possibility of stepping into the ring with social media star Jake Paul. The Problem Child’ moved to 7-1 in his career, securing a unanimous decision against ex-UFC star Nate Diaz over the weekend. Paul has carved out a pro boxing career on the back of past-their-prime MMA fighters, such as Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley, and Anderson Silva.

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Though ‘The Last Emperor’ fits the bill in that respect, Jake Paul is known to target fighters that give him a size advantage inside the squared circle, something he would not get by facing Fedor.

“He grows a lot as a fighter,” Emelianenko said of Paul. “If you look into him at the beginning of his boxing career, he wasn’t doing as good, but right now he’s definitely growing and he’s getting better and better. He’s had some knockdowns, knockouts, not with boxers but with the MMA stars.

“The only thing is, the way he chooses his opponents, they’re a little bit smaller, more comfortable for him, for his style of boxing, I guess. They’re all a bit smaller than him. … I didn’t think about [fighting Jake Paul] but I doubt he would want to do it.”

Would you pay to see Fedor make his squared circle debut against Mike Tyson?