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Mike Tyson launches fitness franchise

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson gives a press conference in Dubai on May 4, 2017 © AFP / Stringer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, May 4 – American heavyweight legend Mike Tyson on Thursday unveiled plans to launch a boxing fitness franchise named after him.

The Mike Tyson Academy will open branches in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America.

Plans for boxing and fitness centres are currently underway in Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, India and Switzerland, among others. Academy headquarters will be located in Las Vegas.

“I’m scared when I’m doing nothing,” Tyson said at a news conference in Dubai.

“If I’m not working then I’m scared. That’s very frightening. I’m working and excited and I look forward to it.”

Tyson, 50, is one of the most renowned — and controversial — athletes in the world.

In 1986, at the age of 20, he became the youngest international boxing heavyweight champion in history.

He held that title from 1987 to 1990 and achieved 58 victories, including 44 by knockout.

But his career was plagued with trouble, including stints in prison for rape and drug addiction.

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In 1992, at the age of 25, Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for rape, serving three years behind bars.

Tyson also notoriously bit off a chunk of boxer Evander Holyfield’s ear in a 1997 match that became known as “The Bite Fight”.

Tyson’s license was temporarily revoked over the incident, but the boxer was allowed back into the ring one year later.

The heavyweight champion has in recent years worked to clean up his image, appearing in comedy films like The Hangover.

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