Last year, Mike Tyson at the age of 54 returned back into the boxing ring with an exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr. The former heavyweight champion of the world fought for eight full rounds, ending in a draw.

Back in the ring after 15 years, Tyson suggested that:

“I’m happy I’m not knocked out,” Tyson said. “I’ll look better in the next one.”

Source: AP News

But, is this an impressive comeback, or should legends like Tyson hang up their gloves when they hit a certain age?

After all, it is said that by the age of 35, your body would have reached its physical peak and would start to decline. This means that even legendary fighters like Tyson are no longer at their physical prime. With kickboxing, boxing, and other combat sports being so physically demanding, should these types of sport have an upper age limit?

Should There Be An Age Limit to Fighting?

As suggested above, combat sports are an extremely physical sport and if a fighter is not prepared right, he/she could be at risk of a serious injury.

These types of injury can occur not only from opponents but also simply from the demands of fighting and training too.

As your body gets older, it doesn’t repair and recovers as quickly as it once used to. This is unfortunately simply a fact of life. However, in combat sports, headshots can be a major concern, not only for younger fighters but also for veterans of the sport too.

In the past few years, many organizations have tried to make the sport safer by bringing in such rules as the standing 8 count.

What is the Standing 8 Count?

The standing 8 count is when the referee can intervene during a fight if he feels a fighter is suffering or getting hurt.

The referee gives the fighter a count to 8 in which in this time he will make sure he is good to continue. However, the standing 8 counts will go against you on the scores, the same as a knockdown but this rule was brought in so the referee can check a fighter rather than waving the fight off.

Standing eight-counts are standard procedure in all amateur bouts.

What Is the Official Stance on Older Fighters?

There are a few different stances that boxing organizations take on older fighters competing in fights.

The Association of Boxing Commissions’ unified rules states:

“There is NO Standing (8) Count.”

The AIBA (also known as the International Boxing Association) does not allow boxers over the age of 40 to compete.

The official rules state that:

The current cut-off for boxing at the age of 40 is 31st December of the same year that they have their 40th birthday

For example:

  • 40th birthday is on 5th June 2015 – they can box until 31st Dec 2015.
  • 40th birthday is 10th Feb 2015 – they can box until 31st Dec 2015
  • 40th birthday is 1st Dec 2015 – they can box until 31st Dec 2015

However, the BBBofC (also known as the British Boxing Board of Control) doesn’t have any age limit for boxers to apply for a boxing license.

Ultimate X Leather Boxing Gloves

Are there Any Older Boxers?

Yes, there are plenty of older boxers!

Bernard Hopkins

Not only did Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins win his first world title at the age of 30, but his best work came after the age of 40.

At 42, Hopkins beat Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver to capture the IBO and Ring Magazine titles. Even three years later he beat Canadian Jean Pascal to win the WBC and lineal light-heavyweight belts.

Take a look at the video below for some of his greatest moments:

Archie Moore

Known as ‘The Old Mongoose’, Moore was the reigning light heavyweight champion of the world when he turned 40, a title which he had held for four years by 1956.
Although he finished his professional career at the age of 47, Moore had an incredible 186-23-10 record including a huge 132 knockouts in total.

George Foreman

Not just the mastermind behind the George Foreman Grill, he was also a formidable boxer too. Although foreman did retire from the sport at 28 years old, much like Tyson, he made his comeback in later years.

After 10 years away, Foreman returned to the sport at 38 years old and nocked out then-undefeated 27-year-old Michael Moorer in 10 rounds to win the IBF and WBA World Heavyweight Title.
He finally ended his career in 1997, at the age of 48.

Take a look at the video below to see how Foreman took back his title after 10 years away from boxing:

Mike Tyson Promoting Boxing for the Older Generation

Mike Tyson has also started to launch his own promotion for the older generation, Legends only league.

Below, Tyson reflects on his youth and coming back to the sport after 15 years away:

“I took my youth for granted,” Tyson said. “This event made me find out what I was really made of. … My body feels splendid. I want to beat it up some more.”

Source: AP News

So, what do you think about older fighters boxing? Put your opinions in the comments below!

Featured image taken from Contender Promotions.