STRONGSVILLE, Ohio U.S. Senate candidate Michael S. Steele garnered support from an unlikely source Monday -- former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
At the news conference in Ohio, where he will return to the ring Friday night, Tyson wore a white-and-blue "Steele for U.S. Senate" T-shirt as he posed for photos with fans and signed autographs.
Tyson said he used to believe black Republicans were "sellouts," but he said he changed his mind after researching the Maryland lieutenant governor.
"We have to open our eyes more," Tyson said, as he pointed to his T-shirt.
Tyson's appearance came on the same day that renowned boxing promoter Don King, who has promoted the best fighters in the world -- from Muhammad Ali to Evander Holyfield to Tyson -- campaigned for Steele in Baltimore and in Prince George's County.
"Yeah, Michael Steele, y'all, the next United States senator of the great state of Maryland," King said as he stepped off the Republican nominee's big blue campaign bus and set foot on Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday. "He cares about Jesus."
Tyson, 40, said fans should not expect much of a fight when he steps back into the ring, but he promised an entertaining show Friday night when he launches the "Mike Tyson's World Tour" in Youngstown.
At a news conference at an Italian restaurant, Tyson said he would likely go just four rounds and that future stops on the tour might include bouts with women, possibly professional boxer Ann Wolfe.
Wolfe, from Waco, Texas, is 21-1 with 15 knockouts.
"She's such a prominent, dominant woman in the boxing field," Tyson said.
When asked if he was joking about fighting women, Tyson said, "I'm very serious."
Russ Young, a promoter for Wolfe, said such a bout will never happen.
"That's the first we've heard of it," Young said. "No state would sanction that. She would be outweighed by 60 to 70 pounds. Ann would never entertain the idea."
Tyson said the tour was meant to be fun and raise money for charity.
"It's all fun. I'm not Mike Tyson," he said, referring to the fierce boxer whose career was upended by a prison term. "I'm not 20 years old. I'm not going to smash anybody. I'm not going to talk about smashing anybody's brains. You're not going to see that guy no more."
His recent years have been marked by embarrassing fights -- inside and out of the ring -- and staggering debt. Tyson last fought in June 2005, losing to the unheralded Kevin McBride.
He will return to the ring Friday at the 6,000-seat Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown for a pay-per-view event against former sparring partner Corey "T-Rex" Sanders.
Tyson had said he was finished with boxing after his bout with McBride, which he quit after six rounds.
The man who vowed to eat Lennox Lewis' children and bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear has said he's in no mood for a comeback.
He recently trained in a makeshift ring at a Las Vegas hotel.
Tyson shot to fame by knocking out Trevor Berbick in 1986 to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history at age 20. He was knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas in 1990 and lost his world heavyweight title. He later served prison time for rape, returned to fighting and infamously bit Holyfield's ear in a 1997 fight.