An MMA heavyweight has claimed that boxing icon Mike Tyson is using steroids amid a potential boxing return. Russian Sergei Kharitonov, who has been competing as a professional fighter for almost a decade, told Sport Express that 53-year-old “Iron Mike” was “juiced up.”
Tyson has teased a boxing return in the form of a charity boxing bout. It’s unclear when a potential match would take place, where it would take place or who Tyson’s opponent would be. The Sun recently reported that Iron Mike is in talks to box rival Evander Holyfield in a November match in the Middle East. Multiple other combat athletes have campaigned for a bout with Tyson, including MMA fighters Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock and Wanderlei Silva.
Kharitonov, who has competed in notable promotions including Bellator, Strikeforce and Pride, also stated interest in fighting Iron Mike, even though he believes the boxer is on steroids.
As translated by RT Sport, Kharitonov said: “He’s juiced up, but it’s fine. There won’t be any doping-control.”
He continued, “He’s taken testosterone and some kind of health products. There’s no resentment towards Tyson here for that. He’s 53 years old. How else could he have got into more or less top shape? Only on steroids, there’s no other option.”
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The MMA Athlete Has Admitted to Using Steroids When He Was in the Army, But He Stopped
Kharitonov admits that he himself took steroids when he was in the army. He said: “Have I ever taken supplements? In the army yes. When everybody tried all different tablets. In my third or fourth year, when everybody weight trained, my friends brought nandrolone. I injected myself, to look good, to have a good body. I remember my muscles were like rocks.
The MMA heavyweight said: “I looked in the mirror and realized it wasn’t for me. I stopped dabbling in that and don’t intend to. First, it’s bad for you. Secondly it’s illegal [in sport].”
Kharitonov Has Almost 40 Pro Fights in a Career That Has Spanned Almost 2 Decades
On August 11, 2000, Kharitonov made his mixed martial arts debut during Brilliant 2: Yalta’s Brilliant 2000. He was taking part in the Brilliant 2 Heavyweight Tournament, in which he won. The Russian fought three times that night, defeating Zamir Syrgabayev, Viacheslav Kolesnik and Roman Savochka, all by first-round TKO.
He went on to win the TORM 8 Heavyweight Championship by defeating both Osmanli Vagabov and David Shvelidze by first-round submission.
The Russian then went on to compete in some of the biggest fighting promotions in the world, including Pride, DREAM, Strikeforce, M-1 Challenge and Bellator.
He holds notable victories over UFC veterans Roy Nelson, Matt Mitrione, Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum. Although Kharitonov has a 30-7 professional record, he has never fought in the UFC.
Kharitonov last stepped into the cage on February 23 when he defeated Fernando Rodriguez Jr. by second-round KO during World Total Kombat Federation 5.