50 Facts About Mike Tyson: Is He the Greatest Boxer of All Time?


Mike Tyson is an American professional boxer, who is the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles. Here are 50 facts about the boxer:

  1. He became the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of Boxing at the age of 20 years and 4 months on 22 November 1986. He defeated Trevor Berbick with a second round TKO in WBC (World Boxing Council) heavyweight championship, first title fight for Tyson.
  2. He fought against the World Boxing Association champion James Smith on 7 March 1987 in Las Vegas. Ironically he was defending his WBC title against Smith and on winning by unanimous decision he added WBA title to his kitty too.
  3. With the aim to fight all heavyweights of the world he fought against Tony Tucker on 1 August 1987 and won the match by unanimous decision. Thus he added the International Boxing Federation title to his existing belts.
  4. By winning the three important titles WBA (World Boxing Association), WBC (World Boxing Council) and IBF (International Boxing Federation), Tyson became the first heavyweight champion to hold all the three in the same year.
  5. Michael Gerald Tyson was born on 30 June 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. He was born to biological father Purcell Tyson and Lorna Mae Tyson. However he considers Jimmy Kirkpatrick who married Lorna in 1959 as his father.
  6. Jimmy Kirkpatrick was a top baseball player from North Carolina who abandoned his family and moved to Brooklyn. When Tyson was born he abandoned his second family too leaving Lorna to fend for her and the children.
  7. Tyson’s mother died when he was 16 years old leaving him at the hands of boxing manager and trainer Cus D’Amato. By the age of 13 he had been arrested 38 times for petty crimes.
  8. He married actress Robin Givens on 7 February 1988. The marriage lasted for just one year as it was marred by allegations of mental instability, spousal abuse and violence on Tyson. She once openly described her horrible marriage life in an interview to ABC TV show 20/20 in September 1988, when Tyson was watching nearby calmly.
  9. His second marriage was to Monica Turner on 19 April 1997. This marriage lasted for 6 years. They have two children: daughter Rayna and son Amir.
  10. His third marriage took place in Las Vegas on 6 June 2009 to long time girlfriend Lakiha Spicer. They have two children: daughter Milan and son Morocco.
  11. On an American talk show “The View” he said, "I'm totally destitute and broke. But I have an awesome life; I have an awesome wife who cares about me. ... I'm totally broke. I had a lot of fun. It [going broke] just happened. I'm very grateful. I don't deserve to have the wife that I have; I don't deserve the kids that I have, but I do, and I'm very grateful."
  12. Tyson’s 4 year old daughter Exodus born to Sol Xochitl was found tangled in wire and dangling from a treadmill by her 7 year old brother Miguel on 25 May 2009. She succumbed to her injuries the next day.
  13. On 3 June 2005 he stated in a magazine, “My whole life has been a waste – I've been a failure." I just want to escape. I'm really embarrassed with myself and my life. I want to be a missionary. I think I could do that while keeping my dignity without letting people know they chased me out of the country. I want to get this part of my life over as soon as possible. In this country nothing good is going to come of me. People put me so high; I wanted to tear that image down.”
  14. He struggled financially for many years before filing for bankruptcy in August 2003. In early 2000 he got new accountants and found that he made $65.7 million that year but ended up with $3.3 million in hole.
  15. The whole world was stunned when Tyson quit in the start of the seventh round in middle of a fight against Kevin McBride on 11 June 2005. He later stated that he has lost interest in this profession.
  16. Tyson had injured his right leg during his first round against Danny Williams on 30 June 2004 in his comeback match. He was struggling to throw punches due to the injury and was eventually knocked out in the fourth round. It was his fifth career defeat.
  17. He was named at number 16 among the 100 greatest punchers of all time by Ring Magazine in 2003. He was going through a complete financial trouble at that time.
  18. His final professional victory was against Clifford Etienne on 22 February 2003. Amid rumors of lack of preparation and fitness he knocked out his opponent in 49 seconds in the first round.
  19. Tyson has an elder brother Rodney and an elder sister Denise who succumbed to heart attack at the age of 24 in 1990. His elder brother is an assistant physician in a trauma center at the Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center.
  20. He fought against Henry Tillman as an amateur twice and lost both the match by decision. Tillman won the gold in heavyweight category in 1984 Summer Olympics.
  21. He has the dubious distinction of winning every match of the Junior Olympic Games by Knockout. He also holds the record for the fastest knockout of 8 seconds achieved during the Junior Olympics.
  22. He won gold at the 1981 Junior Olympics beating Joe Cortez and won gold in 1982 Junior Olympics beating Kelton Brown. Brown’s corner stopped the match by throwing in the towel during the first round.
  23. He made his professional boxing career debut on 6 March 1985 with a knockout victory over Hector Mercedes in the first round in New York. In that year he had a total of 15 fights.
  24. Impressive Tyson won 26 of his first 28 professional bouts via knockouts. Of the 26 knockout bouts 16 of them came in a first round victory.
  25. His victory against Jesse Ferguson was declared as win by disqualification of his opponent. Tyson’s corner protested over the verdict as this would end his string of knockout victories. Hence they finally declared it as KO as Ferguson could not fight rather than would not fight.
  26. In the list of “The Greatest Heavyweights of All Time” by Ring magazine Tyson was placed at number 14. Even though he faced criticism for not having enough competition he was respected for his knockout power.
  27. Ring magazine again released a list of “80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years” in 2002 placing Tyson at number 72.
  28. He was inducted into International Boxing Hall of Fame on 12 June 2011 alongside Julio Cesar Chavez of Mexico and Actor Sylvester Stallone.
  29. He has a collection of 350 pigeons in Paradise Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. Post his professional boxing career he started to spend most of his time tending to them. During his teenage he fought with a much bigger youth who had pulled off a head of one of his pigeons.
  30. Since filing bankrupt he has struggled to pay huge debt he is under. He started a tour of exhibition bouts and held entertainment boxing shows in Las Vegas casino.
  31. He was also arrested on 29 December 2006 in Arizona on the suspicion of driving under the influence and in possession of drugs. He had nearly crashed into a police vehicle after leaving the nightclub.
  32. He admitted himself into an inpatient treatment program for addictions towards various elements on 8 February 2007. He had accepted to addiction towards drugs when he was arrested in Arizona in December 2006.
  33. In the movie “Ip Man 3” Tyson ended up fracturing his index finger in a fight scene against Donnie Yen. Yen’s wife had expressed her worry that Tyson might injure him in the fight but it happened otherwise.
  34. Tyson initially refused to act in the movie “Hangover” in 2009 but when he came to know the director was Todd Phillips he readily agreed. Phillips was the director of “Old School” in 2003 which Tyson liked very much.
  35. Apart from 350 pigeons Tyson had seven Tigers as pet in his backyard one of which was a White Bengal Tiger. He spent around pound 2000 per month for tending them. Once the tiger escaped its place and made a commotion in the area around the house.
  36. For Stu’s wedding scene in “Hangover II” he took some singing lessons to perform as a singer for “One Night in Bangkok”.
  37. On 11 February 1990 he lost his undisputed championship to Buster Douglas. It was speculated that Tyson was not prepared mentally and Douglas was charged emotionally after the death of his mother 23 days ago.
  38. In July 1991 he was arrested for the rape of 18 year old beauty and model Desiree Washington. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail but was released after serving 3 years.
  39. After releasing from prison he won back his WBC belt defeating Frank Bruno in March 1996 and WBA belt defeating Bruce Seldon in September 1996. Seldon was criticized for going down to harmless punches from Tyson.
  40. On 9 November 1996, Tyson was defeated in his WBA title defense against Evander Holyfield who was returning from his retirement after loss to Michael Moorer. The referee stopped the fight in round 11 in spite of complaints from Tyson’s corner about constant head butt from Holyfield.
  41. 28 June 1997, became famous for the ear biting boxing match between Tyson and Holyfield. Tyson was furious with Holyfield for headbutting without penalty and bit him twice. The second time was so severe that he bit out part of Holyfield’s right ear.
  42. In 1998 he appeared in WrestleMania XIV for a main event between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin, as an enforcer of the match. His boxing license was canceled during that time.
  43. He was again arrested and sentenced to 1 year in jail for assaulting and injuring two motorists involved in an accident with him on 31 August 1998. He was released after serving 9 months in prison.
  44. His fight against Orlin Norris on 23 October 1999 was stopped with no contest as Norris was not able to fight with injury to his knee. Tyson had knocked him down after the bell and in the process Norris got injured.
  45. Tyson fought heavyweight champion and the holder of WBC, IBF, IBO, and Lineal titles Lennox Lewis on 8 June, 2002, in Tennessee. He was brought down by Lewis’s right hook in the eighth round.
  46. Explaining about the reasons behind his return to boxing arena he said "If I don't get out of this financial quagmire there's a possibility I may have to be a punching bag for somebody. The money I make isn't going to help my bills from a tremendous standpoint, but I'm going to feel better about myself. I'm not going to be depressed."
  47. He started a 3 month, 36 city tour of his one man show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth where he talks about his personal and professional life on stage.
  48. He formed a boxing promotions company “Iron Mike Productions” in collaboration with Garry Jonas, CEO of Acquinity Interactive in August 2013.
  49. In October 2014, Adult Swim, an American cable network, which shares space with Cartoon Network, aired an animation series “Mike Tyson Mysteries.” It features an animated Tyson solving mysteries in a Scooby-Doo Style.
  50. A movie on the life of Mike Tyson titled “Tyson” directed by Uli Edel was released in 1995. The titular character was played by Michael Jai White.

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