Mike Tyson eyes global tour for one-man show

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Wed, Dec 05, 2012 - Page 20

Boxing legend Mike Tyson said on Monday he wants to take his one-man stage show on the road internationally, to countries including Saudi Arabia and India, if they will let him in.

Announcing a US tour of his Undisputed Truth show — which opened in Las Vegas in April and transferred to Broadway — the 46-year-old said being on stage gave him a “high” like drugs did during his notorious hell-raising days.

Tyson, a convicted rapist who was recently denied a New Zealand visa, said a trip to Australia last month had given him confidence in his abilities to connect with audiences in the US and beyond.

“The Australian press, they thought I was the abominable snowman until they got to know me. They thought I was scary ... They thought I was gonna give them a knuckle sandwich like back in the old days,” he told reporters.

However, they warmed to him, he said, adding in a media conference call: “That gave me such overwhelming confidence in doing it.”

Asked which countries he would like to take the show to, Tyson, a convert to Islam, said: “Any one of them, I don’t really care ... Saudi Arabia. A Scandinavian tour, we can do a Philippines tour, any of them.”

“You could even do tours where they don’t speak our language and have interpreters on speakers or something. I’d really like to go to India, I think that’s going to be so awesome,” he added.

Describing why he wants to take the show to more audiences, he said: “The stage gets me high, the fans get me high. That’s the high I was looking for when I was doing drugs.”

In the show, produced by director Spike Lee, “Iron Mike” — accompanied by musicians — recounts his tough childhood in Brooklyn, a roller-coaster career and drug-and-alcohol-fueled lifestyle that eventually landed him behind bars.

Tyson converted to Islam while serving a 10-year prison sentence, later commuted to three years, for raping a US beauty queen in 1991.

After prison, the fighter — who was world heavyweight champion from 1986 to 1990 — attempted a comeback, but was never able to regain his title and finally gave up professional boxing in 2005.

Tyson said prison was ultimately a good thing for him.

“I didn’t think I would make it to 25. I was just crazy. I was so out of control. I didn’t know how out of control I was until I was in prison. I took that as a blessing,” he said.

Tyson will start his 10-week US tour in Indianapolis on Feb. 12 next year, with shows in 36 cities including Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington.