Copenhagen, Denmark — Mike Tyson needed six rounds Saturday before stopping Brian Nielsen, the longest fight the former heavyweight champion has had since losing to Evander Holyfield five years ago.
Tyson bloodied the Dane in the second round and knocked him down in the third. The referee finally ended the scheduled 10-rounder before the start of the seventh, with Nielsen still sitting on the stool in his corner, his left eye swollen shut.
Although the fight was stopped between rounds, it will go into the books as a technical knockout one second into the seventh.
"I'm back," the 35-year-old Tyson said. "For the next fight I must train harder. I knew I would have him eventually. He put on a heck of a fight."
Tyson may have set himself up to win the heavyweight title once again. He is ranked No. 1 by the World Boxing Council and is likely to get the mandatory shot at the winner of the Nov. 17 fight between WBA and International Boxing Federation champion Hasim Rahman and Lennox Lewis.
"I need two more fights for a title fight," Tyson said. "Two more and I'll be ready."
Six rounds are the most for Tyson since Holyfield stopped him in the 11th round on Nov. 9, 1996, for the World Boxing Assn. title.
It was the first fight for Tyson in almost a year, since Andrew Golota quit in the second round last October. Tyson improved to 49-3 with two no-decisions and 43 KOs. Nielsen dropped to 62-2 with 43 KOs. Tyson won every round and rocked Nielsen consistently. It was only the second time the Dane has been knocked down.