Mike Tyson is one of the most popular names in Boxing. He is beloved by fans despite his controversial career.
Despite his popularity, there was a time when Iron Mike was in trouble financially. In August of 2003 the former heavyweight champ filed for bankruptcy, which likely prompted Tyson to look into Kickboxing.
When Bob Sapp entered the world of Kickboxing he was quite the draw, he had two stoppage wins against K-1 legend Ernesto Hoost. Sapp stood 6 feet 5 inches and weighed 320 lbs. He was a huge star in Japan, people wanted to see what this behemoth of a man could do.
On August 13, 2003 Sapp fought Kimo Leopold under the K-1 promotional banner in Las Vegas. Sapp won the bout against Kimo by KO in the second round. The fight was good, but the aftermath was better.
Rather than bask in his victory, Sapp headed over to the edge of the ring and set his sights on Mike Tyson who was in attendance. Tyson was more than happy to head into the ring for a little showdown. Clearly the idea of this fight was something that was on the minds of the people in charge of K-1.
Tyson entered the ring and Sapp charged at him and the trash talk began.
Contrary to what people would expect, Mike Tyson was very calm when he entered the ring despite Sapp charging at him. Something that Iron Mike was not known for.
Once things calmed down both fighters took to the microphone with a little trash talk. It seemed the fight was well on it’s way to happening. K-1 signed Mike Tyson to a contract which many people thought would be the biggest hurdle. I actually remember seeing promo videos for this on cable hyping up a potential showdown between Tyson and Sapp. It hyped up Sapp as an unstoppable wrecking machine and that it would be Tyson’s toughest test.
Unfortunately for fans Mike Tyson’s felony history made it impossible for him to get a visa to enter Japan. This is where it was believed the fight would be most profitable. Ideas for other venues were considered, but eventually the fight ended up not happening.
I would love to have seen Mike Tyson in the K-1 ring, but it would have been a side show fight with a guy like Sapp. Since then Mike Tyson had two more boxing bouts, which he lost and retired. Things have really turned around for the former champ, he is a huge pop culture icon and his fame is probably at the peak of what it was when he was destroying his opponents in the ring.
Sapp on the other hand has become more of a novelty than serious fighter. He has a losing record in both Kickboxing and MMA, and it seems he fights for the pay days. He has also appeared in movies.
Check out the video of the confrontation in the K-1 ring below. Do you think if Mike Tyson had fought in K-1 it would have put the promotion over the top to make it a house hold name with people outside of Kickboxing?
The first video is the incident in which they met in the ring, the second video shows a timeline by Japanese media as to how this fight got set up, it also shows them in the ring with several different angles and has interviews regarding the potential fight.