Darryll Tyson's long career has come full circle, and he's apprehensive about returning to fight in his home town.

Tyson, 30, is the North American Boxing Federation lightweight champion. Born and raised in the District and a graduate of Dunbar High School, he will be making his first professional appearance here in six years when he faces Julio Guerrero in a 10-round, nontitle bout at 7:30 tonight at the Washington Convention Center.

"I just want to give a decent, crowd-pleasing performance," Tyson (32-3, 15 knockouts) said. "I'm very nervous about coming back after so long. To me it's a big surprise that all these people would turn out to watch me."

Guerrero (11-14-1, three knockouts) also is 30 and is a former New York state champion. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he now resides in New York City.

From his pro debut, a five-round knockout of Washington's Wayne Anderson on Sept. 3, 1982, to tonight, it's been a long road for Tyson, who captured the NABF title with a 12-round decision over Jaime Balboa of Texas last July 24.

"It's been a little bumpy, but things don't come to you overnight," Tyson said. "Boxing keeps me out of trouble and it keeps my body fit. I'm proud of what I've done."

Also appearing on the nine-bout card will be two local boxers making their pro debuts. Welterweight Curtis Peoples (amateur record: 126-17) is a seven-time Golden Gloves champion ranked seventh in his division by the Amateur Boxing Federation. He'll face Ted Greer. Lightweight Tyrone Washington (61-20) will meet Chris Moore. . . .

Ray Mercer (16-0, 11 knockouts) expects to become a heavyweight champion tonight in Atlantic City, but he knows he won't be the champion.

"Evander Holyfield is the champion," said Mercer, who will challenge Francesco Damiani for the World Boxing Organization title in a 12-round fight at the Taj Mahal.

"This means a step up to guys like Holyfield and Mike Tyson," Mercer said.

Holyfield is recognized as heavyweight titlist by the International Boxing Organization, World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and the public.

The WBO splintered off from the WBA about two years ago and chose not to recognize Tyson, who then was champion of the other three organizations. Damiani became WBO champion with a third-round knockout of Johnny Du Plooy of South Africa on May 16, 1989, in Italy.