boxer. His once immense promise and skill in the
boxing ring has been destroyed by repeated acts of
reckless and criminal behavior.
New York City and brought up in
Brooklyn. He was often arrested as a youth for
petty crimes and eventually he was sent to Tryon
School in upstate New York where he was taught to
box by Bobby Stewart. Mike proved to be a natural
and his physical development (he weighed 200lb at
age 13 and was strong rather than fat) only aided
his cause. Stewart knew the respected trainer Cus
D'Amato and in
1980 D'Amato was introduced to the boy.
Mike made his debut in the professional ring on
Albany, New York. He won the fight in a single
round. He had a further fifteen fights in 1985
winning them all by knock-out (KO) or technical
knock-out (TKO) and almost all in the first round.
He fought twelve times in
1986, cutting a dangerous path through improving
ranks of journey-man fighters and already attracting
attention and courting media controversy (v. Jesse
November 22, 1986 Mike was given his first
title shot, fighting Trevor Berbick for the
WBC heavyweight title it took Mike two rounds
to become the youngest heavyweight champion ever.
1987 Mike defended his title against James 'Bonecrusher'
March 7 in
Las Vegas, Nevada. He won on a unanimous points
decision and added Smith's
WBA title to his existing belt. 'Mike mania' in
the media was becoming rampant. He beat Pinklon
Thomas in May with a KO in the sixth round. On
August 1 he took the
IBF title from Tony Tucker, winning on points to
became "undisputed heavyweight champion of the
world". His only other fight in 1987 was in October
against the 1984 Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs, it
was an workmanlike performance from Mike ending
with a seventh round TKO.
Mike had three fights in 1988. He faced an aged
Larry Holmes on January 22 which finished with a
fourth round TKO. He fought an even flabbier man in
Tony Tubbs in Tokyo in March, fitting in a easy two
round demolition amid promotional and marketing
work. On June 27 he produced a unexpectedly good
Michael Spinks, Spinks lasted fractionally over
90 seconds before his KO. Tyson's problems outside
boxing were starting to gain prominence, his
Robin Givens was heading for divorce, and his
future contract was being clawed over by
Don King and Bill Cayton.
In 1989 Mike had only two fights amid personal
turmoil. He faced the popular but limited British
Frank Bruno in February in a below-par fight
over five rounds and a pointless one round 'clash'
with Carl Williams in July.
By 1990 Mike had lost direction, his personal
life was in disarray and he was not training well.
In a fight on
February 11 with the little regarded
James 'Buster' Douglas he lost to a tenth round
KO and despite the protests of his manager over a
'slow count' in the eighth round Mike lost all his
belts to Douglas. Tyson's two other fights in 1990
were confidence regaining first round KOs.
In 1991 Mike fought Donovan Ruddock twice, once
in March and again in June. There was some
controversy over the first fight which Mike won in
the seventh round but at the second fight, which
Mike fought while waiting for a match against the
Evander Holyfield, Mike won on points.
Mike went on trial charged with the rape of a
1991 Miss Black America Contest contestant named
Desiree Washington on
1992 and was found guilty of the rape on
February 10 and imprisoned. As a result, Mike did not fight again until 1995. As a Get-out-of-jail
opener he won within one round against Peter McNeeley in August and beat Buster Mathis Jr. in
three in December. In March 1996 Mike regained one
belt, winning the WBC title from a lumbering Frank
Bruno in three rounds. In September Mike won back
the WBA in 93 seconds from Bruce Seldon, having paid
Lennox Lewis $4m to 'step-aside'. On November 9
however he faced a tougher challenge in Evander
Holyfield, fighting over eleven rounds Holyfield won
with a TKO to become a three-times world champion.
Mike did not fight again until June of
1997 when there was a hugely anticipated rematch
with Holyfield on
June 28 for the WBA title. Mike was
disqualified in the third round, he lost his temper
head-butt from Holyfield and had come out
without his gum-shield, he then bit a chunk from
Holyfield's ear, when the referee,
Mills Lane, warned him Mike went for
Holyfield's other ear. On
July 9 Mike was banned from boxing for one year
and fined $3m.
1999 Mike fought the South African Frans Botha
and while Botha initially controlled the fight Mike landed a single good punch in round five that put
Botha down. On
February 5 Mike was sentenced to a year's
imprisonment, fined $5,000, and ordered to serve 2
years probation and perform 200 hours of community
service for the
1998 assault on two people after a car accident.
He served nine months of that sentence. On his
release he fought Orlin Norris in October, where in
a farcical scene Norris claimed to have twisted his
ankle in the first round and refused to fight on.
In 2000 Mike had three fights. The first was
staged in England and against Julius Francis, the
pre-fight arguments about whether Mike should be
allowed into the country were more entertaining than
the second round KO of Francis. He also fought Lou Savarese in June in Glasgow, winning in the first
round and in October the notoriously dirty
Andrew Golota, winning in round three. Mike fought only once in 2001 beating Brian Nielsen in
Copenhagen with a seventh round TKO.
Mike sought to fight Lennox Lewis in 2002 in
Nevada but the Nevada boxing commission refused him
a license to box as he is facing possible s--ual
assault charges. A scuffle at a press conference
finally removed any chance of a Nevada fight. The
fight actually occurred in June in
Memphis, Tennessee. Mike losing in the eighth
round by knockout.
2003, Mike beat fringe contender
Clifford Etienne 49 seconds into round one, once
again in Memphis. The pre-fight was marred by
rumours of Tyson's lack of fitness and that he took
time out from training to party in Las Vegas and
have a new facial tattoo. Mike is looking for a
rematch with Lewis and contracts have been signed.
In August 2003, after years of financial
struggles, Mike finally filed for bankruptcy.
Tyson's record stands at 50 wins, 4 losses and 2
no contests, with 43 knockout wins.
See Mike Tyson Perform the Monster