Birthday: June 30, 1966
Quotes By Mike Tyson
Age: 54 Years, 54 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Michael Gerard Tyson
Born in: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S
Famous as: Boxer
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Lakiha Spicer (m. 2009), Monica Turner (m. 1997–2003), Robin Givens (m. 1988–1989)
father: Jimmy Kirkpatrick
mother: Lorna Smith Tyson
siblings: Denise, Rodney
children: Amir Tyson, Exodus Tyson, Miguel Leon Tyson, Mikey Lorna Tyson, Milan Tyson, Morocco Tyson, Rayna Tyson
Diseases & Disabilities: Depression
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers, African-American From New Yorkers
awards: 1986 - Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
1988 - Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
1989 - BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality
1985 - Ring magazine Prospect of the Year
Standing tall at 5ft 10 inches, weighing 200 pounds and more is a heavy muscled prodigious puncher Mike Tyson. Christened as Michael Gerard ‘Mike’ Tyson, ever since his early days, Tyson showed signs of moving in to the world of boxing. His violent streak as a child, uncanny behaviour and a resolve for violence to have his way through situations and people laid the strong foundation for him to opt for boxing, not to forget his ginormous weight of 200 pounds at 13 years of age. Popularly known for his terrorising power and intimidating temperament, Tyson quickly climbed up the ladder of success under the strong guidance of Cus D’Amato and Rooney to earn the nicknames ‘Iron Mike’ and ‘the baddest man on planet’. He was popular for defeating his opponents with a single blow. Tyson dominant performance at the sports saw him reach the pinnacle of success, by becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But just as quickly did Tyson climb the ladder of success, he went into the pitfall with the same speed, courtesy his tarnished childhood, poverty-stricken upbringing, poor judgement and criminal behaviour. As such, when he was enjoying raving success and was at the peak of his power, Tyson suffered from serious blows due to his bizarre behaviour, rape conviction, financial loss, bankruptcy and imprisonment. His biting off the ear of opponent Evander Holyfield was the zenith as the world wrote him off as a damaged animal incapable of existing outside the ring. Though Tyson has tried to make amendments thereafter, his image has been destroyed for good, making him one of the most tragic figures of the American sports history.
Childhood & Early Life
Born to Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Lorna Smith Tyson in Brooklyn, New York, Mike Tyson was one of the three children of the couple. He had an elder brother Rodney and a sister Denise who passed away in 1991 due to heart attack. Additionally, he also had a half-brother Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick from Kirkpatrick’s earlier marriage.
Kirkpatrick abandoned the family after the birth of young Tyson. Succumbing to the financial burden, the family relocated from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Brownsville when Tyson was ten years of age.
Ever since his early years, Tyson was involved in fights; of course those at this stage were basically only for personal reasons and did not have a professional ground. He resorted to his fist to solve problems of bullying. By the time Tyson stepped into teenage, he had already been arrested 38 times for knocking out grown men from the street.
Young Tyson completed his schooling from Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. It was there that Bobby Stewart, a juvenile detention center counselor and former boxer, noticed Tyson’s boxing skills. He honed them a little before introducing the destined-to-be champion to Cus D'Amato.
Under Amato’s guidance, Tyson trained for the sport. He was under the full-time custody of Amato who set a rigorous training schedule for the aspiring boxer. Tyson attended Catskill High School by the day and practiced in the ring by the evening. However, he did not graduate from the school and left his studies as a junior.
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Amateur Boxing Career
Tyson’s training was very well evident in his performance at the Junior Olympic Games in 1981 and 1982, where he won gold medals by convincingly, beating opponents Joe Cortez and Kelton Brown, respectively.
He fought against the eventual 1984 Summer Olympics heavyweight gold medallist Henry Tillman twice in the trials, losing on both occasions. Failing to make it to the Olympics team, Tyson turned professional.
Professional Boxing Career
His professional debut fight was against Hector Mercedes on March 6, 1985. He won the same in the first round knockout itself.
In his first year, Tyson won 26 of the 28 fights that he participated in, 16 of which he won in the first round itself. Slowly graduating up the ladder, Tyson fought against veteran journeyman fighters and borderline contenders like James Tillis, David Jaco, Jesse Ferguson, Mitch Green and Marvis Frazier.
Tyson’s back-to-back victories brought him under media attention, who billed him as the future heavyweight champion. While his career was progressing upwards, Tyson faced turmoil off the ring as his friend, philosopher and guide Amato left for the heavenly abode. Rooney filled up for the shoes of Amato.
Tyson’s first televised fight was against Jesse Ferguson. He stumped the opponent by breaking the latter’s nose in the fifth round. By the sixth round, Tyson was declared a winner.
By the age of 20, Tyson had won a record 22 back-to-back matches, 21 of those victories coming from knockout.
His string of victories finally brought him his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship. On November 22, 1986 Tyson defeated Berbick in the second round knock out and at the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
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Years of Glory
Tyson’s win at the World Boxing Council was just the beginning of the many more to come. He defended his title by winning against James Smith to bag the World Boxing Association title as well.
His ambitious campaign to fight all the heavyweight champions in the world moved a stepped further as he knocked-out Pinklon Thomas in the sixth round and Tony Tucker in the twelfth round to win the latter’s International Boxing Federation title. With this, Tyson became the first fighter to hold the WBC, WBA and IBF titles in a single year, 1987.
Same year, Tyson defeated the 1984 Olympic super heavyweight gold medallist Tyrell Biggs by knocking him out in the seventh round.
In the year 1988, Tyson enjoyed being on top of the ranks in the boxing world. Having become popular as a ferocious fighter, his reputation grew by leaps and bounds after each successful outing.
Tyson competed against the top class legendary players James, ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, and Michael Spinks. While Holmes was a former champion, Spinks was a lineal champion who claimed to be the true heavyweight champion. Tyson knocked out Holmes in the fourth round (the latter’s first knockout in 75 professional bouts), and Spinks in the first round itself (the richest fight in history).
Tyson’s win over Spinks in flat 91 seconds in the first round was the zenith of his success. Expected to be the clash of the season, the stakes were high for the bout as Tyson’s aggressive infighting was against Spinks’ skillful out-boxing and footwork. Post the match, Tyson’s fame and recognition in the boxing world zoomed to reach the sky. As for Spinks’, he never played a match since his defeat.
Decline & Downfall
Tyson’s glorious years were short-lived though. While his personal life was in turmoil, his professional life too was inflicted with chaos and mayhem. Rooney was sacked and so was manager Bill Cayton. Don King filled up the space for the two but his alliance with this notable boxer did more harm than good.
Tyson changed his boxing style which led to his decline and downfall. Rather than draining out boxers with body blows, Tyson looked to finish the game in the first round itself and concentrated solely on the head.
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Year 1989 saw Tyson in two matches against British boxer Frank Bruno and Carl ‘The Truth’ Williams. Though both the bouts turned out successful for him, Tyson’s magical capabilities as a boxer were heavily doubted.
The crack in the armour was prevalent in the 1990 fight against Buster Douglas. Despite being the betting favourite and experts’ choice, Tyson failed to match up to Douglas, who landed a flurry of blows on Tyson to lay him out of the canvas in the tenth round. This was the first time Tyson faced such a defeat. He did not just lose the match but lost the undisputed championship as well.
The result of the match sent a wave of shock to the sports fraternity across the globe. The ferocious fighter, the brutal puncher and the undefeatable champion had lost his charm and his defeat meant the end of an era.
Tyson, eager to revive his image of the most feared boxer, had a couple of fights scheduled for the next year. He won back to back matches against Henry Tillman and Alex Stewart. Though his match against Donovan Ruddock was stopped in the middle with Tyson being declared the winner, to shoo his critics the two met again with Tyson claiming a victory in a twelve round unanimous decision.
Tyson’s next outing was against the reigning champion Evander Holyfield at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. However, he backed out from the fight due to rib cartilage injury.
In 1991, just when his professional life seemed to get back on track, Tyson was arrested for raping Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island.
In 1992, he was convicted on the rape charge was sentenced to six years in prison followed by four years on probation.
While serving his sentence, Tyson went into intense reflection and converted into Islam, receiving the name Malik Abdul Aziz. Reading philosophical books cast an influential role in the mind of Tyson who resolved to lead a disciplined life.
He was released in March 1995 after serving three years.However, upon returning from the jail, his alliance with Don King disrupted his theory of leading a disciplined life as he resolved to bizarre behaviour.
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Post serving the jail sentence, Tyson fought against inferior opponents likes Peter McNeeley and Buster Mathis Jr. He won both the bouts to lead up to a match against WBC defending champion Frank Bruno in 1996. Tyson knocked out Bruno in the third round to bag the title. His next match was against Bruce Seldon. He won the match in a record 109 seconds, claiming the WBA title as well.
Tyson then geared up for a match against Evander Holyfield, which he had resolved to fight before being detained. Deemed to be a blood battle, the match, which was highly in favour of Tyson, had unexpected result. Holyfield’s left hook led to Tyson hitting the canvas first, thereby resulting in the former’s victory.
A follow-up for the match was arranged, as there were allegations from the Tyson’s camp of Holyfield’s frequent headbutts. The match was scheduled on June 28, 1997. While Holyfield drew $35 million from the match, Tyson was remunerated at $30 million. It was the highest paid boxing professional purses until 2007.
Expected to be the greatest clash of the rivalled champions, the match turned into a ghastly display of unprofessional behaviour. Tyson twice bit the ears of Holyfield so much so that he tore out a piece of flesh from the latter’s right ear. The match was terminated at the third round and Tyson was disqualified for his actions. Holyfield was designated as the winner.
Tyson was fined US $3 million by the Nevada State Boxing Commission. Additionally, his boxing license was annulled by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a year. He was unable to box in the United States
Trying to restore his marred image of a bloodthirsty animal in vengeance, Tyson made a clean-up effort. He fought some undistinguished opponents before standing tall against Andrzej Golota. Meanwhile, he was twice sent to jail for his involvement in the road incident where he assaulted two motorist and traces of marijuana being found in his body.
In 2002, Tyson faced Lennox Lewis who was then the reigning champion with WBC, IBF, IBO and Lineal titles under his belt. Despite being a favourite of the pundits, Tyson lost the bout in the eighth round facing a knock out off the right hook. Lewis who had dominated the fight since the beginning was declared the winner. Tyson took the failure graciously and lauded Lewis skill for the game.
Tyson played a couple of matches post the Lewis match. He underperformed in all of them. His last professional outing was at the match against Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005. He quit the match and announced his retirement before the start of the seventh round.
Post retirement, Tyson participated in a number of exhibition matches. The main reason behind his participation was to pay off his debts. He also participated in numerous endorsements and various boxing related entertainment shows in Las Vegas.
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Though he preferred to live a normal life without all the limelight and media attention, he came under the knife once again after being arrested on suspicion of DUI and felony drug possession. He spent 24 hours in jail and offered 360 hours of community service. To save himself off the year-long sentence, Tyson checked himself into a rehabilitation centre.
After retiring from the boxing career, Tyson started acting in movies and television. In 2009, he made his debut in the big screen with the movie ‘The Hangover’, where he made an uncharacteristic appearance.
He was also the subject of an eponymous documentary by filmmaker James Toback. In the theatre, along with director Spike Lee, Tyson brought out the stage show, ‘Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth’. The show portrayed Tyson’s personal and professional life. It toured 36 cities in three months.
Awards & Achievements
He holds the record of being the Youngest Heavyweight Boxing Champion till date. He was only 20 years and 4 months old then.
The Junior Olympic quickest KO (Knock-Out) at 8 seconds is held by Tyson.
In 1985, Tyson won the Ring magazine Prospect of the Year
For his outstanding performance in the ring, he was awarded with the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year award in 1986 & 1988.
Tyson was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality in the year 1989.
Tyson was included the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012 for his achievements in professional boxing arena. Additionally, he has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
Personal Life & Legacy
Mike Tyson has been married thrice and has fathered eight children. His first marriage was to actress Robin Givens. The union did not last more than a year (from February 7, 1988 to February 14, 1989) as the two separated following allegations of violence, spousal abuse and mental instability by Givens on Tyson. The couple had no children.
Tyson then went into the wedlock with Monica Turner. The marriage lasted for five years (from April 19, 1997 to January 14, 2003) after which Turner pursued divorce on grounds of adultery. The couple had two children, Rayna and Amir.
In 2009, in an unfortunate accident, Tyson lost his daughter Exodus after the latter was found unconscious and tangled in a cord, dangling from an exercise treadmill. She was on life support and declared dead the following day.
Tyson walked up to the altar the third time on June 6, 2009 with Lakiha ‘Kiki’ Spicer. The couple has been blessed with a daughter Milan and son Morocco. Tyson’s other children include Mikey, Miguel and D'Amato (born 1990). He has a total of eight children including the deceased Exodus.
Tyson has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He follows a vegan diet and sober lifestyle.
Such was his reputation as a ferocious fighter that his opponents were intimated by the thought of his strength, his quick fists and noted defensive abilities. His ability to knock out opponents in the first round itself won him the nickname, ‘Iron Mike’.
He was the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify them.