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Mike Tyson

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Ringside: The Best of Mike Tyson [2006] (REGION 1) (NTSC)

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Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is a former two-time American world heavyweight boxing champion and is the youngest man to win the heavyweight title. During his prime in the late 1980s, Tyson was considered one of the greatest heavyweights and one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. Nicknamed "Iron Mike Tyson", "Kid Dynamite" and "The Baddest Man on the Planet" Tyson adopted the Muslim name Malik Abdul Aziz, after his conversion to Islam while in prison for his rape conviction.[2][3] For his behavior both in and out of the ring, ESPN has ranked Tyson as the #1 Most Outrageous Character in modern sports history as determined by a panel of experts and an internet poll.[4]

Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Cus D'Amato early in his career, Tyson unified the belts in the splintered heavyweight division in the late 1980s and won many of his fights by knockout. Tyson knocked out his first 19 professional opponents within six rounds, stopping 13 of them in the first round.

He reigned as undisputed heavyweight champion for over two years before losing in a shocking upset to Buster Douglas in early 1990. He was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant in 1992, and after being released from prison in 1995, he engaged in a series of comeback fights before losing in another upset, this time to Evander Holyfield. In 1997, his rematch with Holyfield ended when Tyson bit off a portion of Holyfield's ear in retaliation for what he perceived as intentional headbutts. He fought for a championship again at the age of 35, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis in 2002. After losing two consecutive bouts to journeymen, Tyson retired from competitive boxing in 2005. He has since engaged in a series of exhibition bouts in a tour across the US to pay his numerous debts. Despite receiving over US$30 million for several of his fights and $300 million over his career, Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003.

Early years

Tyson was born in the notorious Brownsville section of Brooklyn. His early childhood was marked by strife and hunger, forcing his mother, Lorna Smith Tyson, to provide for her family following the departure of their father, Jimmy Kirkpatrick,[5] when Tyson was two years old. Tyson's reputation as a youth who would beat up anyone who ridiculed his high-pitched, lisping voice was fuelled by constant abuse by older children on the streets of Brownsville.[5] Expelled from junior high school for fighting, Tyson passed through juvenile detention centres, yet remained in trouble with the state for petty crime and violence. He made his way through the tough streets of New York by mugging and purse-snatching; by the time he was 13, he had been arrested 38 times.[6] He eventually ended up at the Tryon School for Boys in Upstate New York. It was at Tryon that Tyson's raw boxing ability and incredible potential in the ring was discovered by a juvenile detention centre counsellor and former boxer named Bobby Stewart.[5] As Tyson was an outstanding physical specimen, Stewart trained him for a few months and then introduced him to the legendary Cus D'Amato.[5]

Tyson in the practice ring


Mike Tyson in the practice ring

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Tyson was later removed from reform school by D'Amato, a well-known boxing trainer whose protégés included former champions Floyd Patterson and José Torres.[7] He saw the young boxer's potential and took him off Stewart's hands to train him; he later became Tyson's legal guardian,[5] and Tyson has often mentioned his love for D'Amato as a father figure. Kevin Rooney also trained Tyson under D'Amato, and they were occasionally assisted by Teddy Atlas but Atlas was kicked out by D'Amato when Tyson was 15, and Rooney would eventually take over all training duties.

Amateur career

As an amateur, Tyson amassed a 24-3 record and was considered a formidable opponent and prime candidate to represent the USA in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. However, two losses to Henry Tillman ended his chances to represent the US in the Olympics. In 1984 he was also the National Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion. Tyson turned professional soon after.[8]

Rise to stardom

Tyson made his professional debut on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York. He defeated Hector Mercedes with a first round knockout.[5] Fighting frequently in his first two years as a professional, Tyson won 19 of his first 22 fights by knockout, 13 of which came in the first round.[9] The quality of his opponents gradually increased to journeyman fighters and borderline contenders,[9] and his win streak attracted media attention, leading to his being billed as the next great heavyweight champion. D'Amato died in November 1985, relatively early into Tyson's professional career; some speculate that his death was the genesis of many of the troubles Tyson was to experience later as his life and career progressed.[10]

Tyson's first nationally televised bout took place on February 16, 1986, at Houston Field House in Troy, NY against journeyman heavyweight Jesse Ferguson. Tyson knocked down Ferguson with an uppercut in the fifth round that reportedly broke Ferguson's nose.[11] During the sixth round, Ferguson began to hold and clinch Tyson in an apparent attempt to avoid further punishment. After admonishing Ferguson several times to obey his commands to break the clinches and box, the referee finally stopped the fight near the middle of the sixth round. Initially ruled a win for Tyson by disqualification (DQ) of his opponent, the ruling was subsequently "adjusted" as a win by technical knockout (TKO) after Tyson's corner protested that a DQ win would end Tyson's string of knockout victories, and that a knockout would have been the inevitable result. The rationale offered for the revised outcome was that the fight was actually stopped because Ferguson could not (rather than would not) continue boxing.

On November 22, 1986, Tyson was given his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship. Tyson won the title by second round TKO, and at the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.[12] Floyd Patterson had been the youngest heavyweight champ to that time, at the age of 21 and 10 months, having won the title by beating Archie Moore in an elimination series following the retirement of Rocky Marciano. Muhammad Ali holds the record as the second youngest man to take the lineal title from the reigning undisputed champion (Sonny Liston) in the ring.[13]

At age 20, Tyson was around 221 lbs (100 kg) with approximately 5.5% body fat, and was stocky for his height of 5 ft 11.5 in (182 cm). Because of Tyson's strength, many fighters were said to be too intimidated to hit him[14] and this was backed up by his above-average hand speed, accuracy, coordination, power, and timing. Tyson was also noted for his defensive abilities.[15] Holding his hands high in the Peek-a-Boo style taught by his mentor Cus D'Amato, he slipped and weaved out of the way of the opponent's punches while closing the distance to deliver his own punches.[15]

Mike Tyson: Nurture of the Beast By Ellis Cashmore from

"Over the course of an epic boxing career, Tyson was transformed from the most celebrated athlete on earth to a primal, malevolent hate–figure. Yet, even after being condemned as a brute, Tyson retained a power – a power to captivate. Cashmore reveals that the sources of that power lie as much in us as in Tyson himself."


Undisputed Champion

Expectations for Tyson were extremely high, and he embarked on an ambitious campaign to fight all the top heavyweights in the world. Tyson defended his title against James 'Bonecrusher' Smith on March 7, 1987, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He won by unanimous decision and added Smith's World Boxing Association (WBA) title to his existing belt.[16] 'Tyson mania' in the media was becoming rampant.[17] He beat Pinklon Thomas in May with a knockout in the sixth round.[18] On August 1 he took the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title from Tony Tucker in a twelve round unanimous decision.[19] He became the first heavyweight to own all three major belts — WBA, WBC, and IBF — at the same time. His only other fight in 1987 was in October against the 1984 Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medallist Tyrell Biggs, that ended with a victory for Tyson by knockout in the seventh round.[20] Also in 1987, Nintendo released the video game, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, for its Nintendo Entertainment System. Punch-Out!! is an early example of a video game endorsed by a professional athlete.

Tyson had three fights in 1988. He faced an aged but still game Larry Holmes on January 22, 1988, and defeated the legendary former champion by fourth round knockout.[21] This was the only knockout loss Holmes suffered in 75 professional bouts. In March, Tyson then fought contender Tony Tubbs in Tokyo, Japan, fitting in an easy two-round victory amid promotional and marketing work.[22]

On June 27, 1988, Tyson faced Michael Spinks. Spinks, who had taken the heavyweight championship from Larry Holmes via a 15-round decision in 1985, had not lost his title in the ring but was not recognized as champion by the major boxing organizations. Holmes had previously given up all but the IBF title, and that was eventually stripped from Spinks. However, Spinks did become the lineal champion by beating Holmes and many (including Ring magazine) considered him to have a legitimate claim to being the true heavyweight champion. Tyson knocked out Spinks in 91 seconds of the first round.[23]

Controversy and upset

During this period, Tyson's problems outside boxing were also starting to emerge. His marriage to Robin Givens was heading for divorce,[24] and his future contract was being fought over by Don King and Bill Cayton.[25] In late 1988, Tyson fired long-time trainer Kevin Rooney, the man many credit for honing Tyson's craft after the death of D'Amato.[15] Without Rooney, Tyson's skills slowly deteriorated and he became more prone to looking for the one-punch knockout, rather than utilizing the combinations that brought him to stardom.[26] He also began to headhunt, neglecting to attack the opponent's body first.[27] In addition, he lost his defensive skills and began to barrel straight in toward the opponent, neglecting to jab and slip his way in.[28] In 1989, Tyson had only two fights amid personal turmoil. He faced the popular British boxer Frank Bruno in February in a fight where Bruno managed to stun Tyson at the end of the 1st round,[29] although Tyson went on to knock out Bruno in the fifth round. Tyson then knocked out Carl "The Truth" Williams in one round in July.[30]

In 1989, Tyson was granted an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Central State University in Ohio.

By 1990, Tyson seemed to have lost direction, and his personal life and training habits were in disarray. In a fight on February 11, 1990, he lost the undisputed championship to James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo.[31] Tyson was a 1/42 favourite, but Douglas was at an emotional peak after losing his mother to a stroke two weeks prior to the fight, and fought the fight of his life.[31] Tyson failed to find a way past Douglas's lightning fast jab that had a 12-inch (300 mm) reach advantage over his own. Tyson did send Douglas to the floor in the eighth round, catching him with an uppercut, but Douglas recovered sufficiently to hand Tyson a heavy beating in the subsequent two rounds [after the fight, the Tyson camp would complain that the count was slow and that Douglas had taken longer than ten seconds to get to his feet].[32] Just 35 seconds into the 10th round, Douglas unleashed a combination of blows that sent Tyson to the canvas for the first time in his career. He was counted out by referee Octavio Meyran.[31] The knockout victory by Douglas over Tyson, the previously undefeated "baddest man on the planet" and arguably the most feared boxer in professional boxing at that time, has been described as one of the most shocking upsets in modern sports history.[33]

After Douglas

After the loss, Tyson recovered by knocking out contenders Henry Tillman[34] and Alex Stewart[35] in the first round in his next two fights. Tyson's victory over the 1984 Olympics Boxing Heavyweight gold medalist (and 1983 Boxing Heavyweight silver medalist of the Pan American Games) Tillman enabled Tyson to avenge his early career amateur losses at Tillman's hands. These bouts set up an elimination match for another shot at the undisputed world heavyweight championship, which Evander Holyfield had taken from Douglas in his first defence of the title.

Tyson, who was the #1 contender, faced #2 contender Donovan 'Razor' Ruddock on March 18, 1991, in Las Vegas. Ruddock at the time was seen as the most dangerous heavyweight around and is thought of as one of the hardest punching heavyweights ever. Tyson and Ruddock went back and forth for most of the fight, until referee Richard Steele controversially stopped the fight during the seventh round in favor of Tyson. This decision infuriated the fans in attendance, sparking a post-fight melee in the audience and the referee had to be escorted from the ring.[36]

Tyson and Ruddock met again on June 28 that year, with Tyson knocking down Ruddock twice and winning a 12 round unanimous decision.[37] A fight between Tyson and Holyfield for the undisputed championship was arranged for the fall of 1991.

Rape conviction, prison, and aftermath

However, the much-anticipated match between Tyson and reigning champion Holyfield was not to be. Tyson was arrested in July 1991 for the rape of Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington, in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson was convicted on the charge on February 10, 1992.[38] Tyson's trial is chronicled in the book Down For The Count by Mark Shaw,[39] which suggests that Tyson would not have been convicted if he had been provided adequate legal defence counsel and that Tyson thus did not receive a fair trial.

Under Indiana law, a defendant convicted of a felony must begin serving his prison sentence immediately after the sentence is imposed. He was given a sentence of six years and was released on March 1995 after serving three years.[40] During his incarceration, Tyson converted to Islam.[2]

Tyson did not fight again until later in 1995. He had two comeback bouts against Peter McNeeley and Buster Mathis Jr., which he won easily. Interest in Tyson's first comeback fight since his incarceration was high enough that it grossed more than USD $96 million worldwide, including a United States record $63 million for PPV television. The fight was purchased by 1.52 million homes, setting both PPV viewership and revenue records for that time.[41] The brief 89 second fight wherein McNeeley swiftly crumpled on facing Tyson, elicited criticism that Tyson's management lined up "Tomato Cans," easily defeatable and unworthy boxers for his return.[42]

He regained one belt by easily winning the WBC title from Frank Bruno (their second fight) in March 1996 by knocking him out in the third round.[43] Tyson added the WBA belt by defeating champion Bruce Seldon in one round in September that year. Seldon was severely criticized and mocked in the popular press for seemingly collapsing to innocuous punches from Tyson in the fight.[44]

The Tyson-Holyfield fights

Tyson vs. Holyfield I

Tyson's next defense of his fringe title came against Evander Holyfield, who was in the fourth fight of his own comeback after retiring in 1994 following the loss of his championship to Michael Moorer [who subsequently lost to George Foreman by knockout during his first defense]. It was said that Don King and others saw Holyfield, the former champion, who was 34 at the time of the fight and a huge underdog, as a washed up fighter.[45]

On November 9, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tyson faced Holyfield in a title bout dubbed 'Finally' . In a surprising turn of events, the supposedly "washed-up" Holyfield, who was given virtually no chance to win by numerous commentators[46] defeated Tyson by TKO when referee Mitch Halpern stopped the bout in round 11.[47] Holyfield made history with the upset win by being the second person ever to win a heavyweight championship belt three times. However Holyfield's victory was marred by allegations from Tyson's camp of Holyfield's frequent headbutts[48] during the bout. Although the headbutts were ruled accidental by the referee,[48] they would become a point of contention in the subsequent rematch.[49]

Tyson vs. Holyfield II and aftermath

Tyson and Holyfield fought again on June 28, 1997. Originally, Halpern was supposed to be the referee, but after Tyson's camp protested, Halpern stepped aside in favor of Mills Lane.[50] The highly anticipated rematch was dubbed "The Sound and the Fury," and was held at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, site of the first bout. It was a lucrative event, drawing even more attention than the first bout and grossing $100-million. Tyson received $30 million and Holyfield $35 million — the highest paid professional boxing purses ever till 2007.[51][52] The fight was purchased by 1.99 million households, setting a pay-per-view buy rate record that stood until the May 5, 2007, De La Hoya-Mayweather boxing match.[53][52]

Soon to become one of the most controversial events in modern sports,[54] the fight was stopped at the end of the third round, with Tyson disqualified[55] for biting Holyfield on both ears. One bite was severe enough to remove a piece of Holyfield's right ear, which was found on the ring floor after the fight.[56] Tyson later stated that it was retaliation for Holyfield repeatedly head butting him without penalty.[49] In the confusion that followed the ending of the bout and announcement of the decision, a near riot erupted in the arena and several people were injured in the ensuing melee.[57]

As a subsequent fallout from the incident, USD $3-million was immediately withheld from Tyson's $30 million purse by the Nevada state boxing commission (the most it can legally hold back).[58] Two days after the fight, Tyson issued a statement,[59] apologizing directly to Holyfield for his actions and asked not to be banned for life over the incident.[60] Tyson was roundly condemned in the news media but was not without defenders. Novelist and commentator Katherine Dunn wrote a column that criticized Holyfield's sportsmanship in the controversial bout and charged the news media with being biased against Tyson.[61]

On July 9, 1997, Tyson's boxing license was revoked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in a unanimous voice vote; he was also fined USD $3-million and ordered to pay the legal costs of the hearing.[62] The revocation was not permanent, as a little more than a year later on October 18, 1998, the commission voted 4-1 to restore Tyson's boxing license.[63]

1999 to 2005

After Holyfield

In January 1999, Tyson returned to the ring to fight the South African Francois Botha, in another fight that ended in controversy. While Botha initially controlled the fight, Tyson allegedly attempted to break Botha's arms during a tie-up and both boxers were cautioned by the referee in the ill-tempered bout. Botha was ahead on points on all scorecards and was confident enough to mock Tyson as the fight continued. Nonetheless, Tyson landed a straight right-hand in the fifth round that knocked out Botha.[64]

Legal problems caught up with Tyson once again. On February 6, 1999, Tyson was sentenced to a year's imprisonment, fined $5,000, and ordered to serve two years probation and perform 200 hours of community service for assaulting two motorists after a traffic accident on August 31, 1998.[65] He served nine months of that sentence. After his release, he fought Orlin Norris on October 23, 1999. Tyson knocked down Norris with a left hook thrown after the bell sounded to end the first round. Norris injured his knee from the off-the-clinch-punch when he went down and said he was unable to continue the fight. Consequently, the bout was ruled a no contest.[66]

In 2000, Tyson had three fights. The first was staged at the MEN Arena, Manchester, England against Julius Francis. Following controversy as to whether Tyson should be allowed into the country, he took four minutes to knock out Francis, ending the bout in the second round.[67] He also fought Lou Savarese in June 2000 in Glasgow, winning in the first round (the fight lasted only 38 seconds). Tyson continued punching after the referee had stopped the fight, knocking him to the floor as he tried to separate the boxers.[68] In October, Tyson fought the similarly controversial Andrzej Gołota,[69] winning in round three after Gołota refused to fight. The result was later changed to no contest after Tyson refused to take a pre-fight drug test and then tested positive for marijuana in a post-fight urine test.[70] Tyson fought only once in 2001, beating Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen with a seventh round TKO.[71]

Tyson vs. Lewis

Tyson once again had the opportunity to fight for a heavyweight championship in 2002, against his former friend, Lennox Lewis, who held the WBC, IBF and IBO titles at the time. As promising amateurs, Tyson and Lewis had sparred together at a training camp, in a meeting arranged by Cus D'Amato in 1984.[72] Like the Holyfield fights, various circumstances in the 1990s delayed any earlier professional level match-up of Tyson with Lewis. Tyson sought to fight Lewis in Nevada for a more lucrative box-office venue, but the Nevada boxing commission refused him a license to box as he was facing possible sexual assault charges at the time.[73]

Two years prior to the bout, in a post fight interview following the Savarese fight, Tyson had made several inflammatory remarks to Lewis, "I want your heart, I want to eat your children."[74] On January 22, 2002, a brawl involving the two boxers and their entourages occurred at a press conference held in New York to publicize the planned event.[75] The melee put to rest any chance of a Nevada fight and alternative arrangements had to be made, with the fight eventually occurring on June 8 at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis dominated the fight and knocked out Tyson in the eighth round. Tyson was magnanimous after the fight and praised Lewis on his victory.[76] This fight was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history at that time, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the USA.[53][52]

Late career, bankruptcy and retirement

On February 22, 2003, Tyson beat fringe contender Clifford Etienne 49 seconds into round one, once again in Memphis. The pre-fight was marred by rumors of Tyson's lack of fitness and that he took time out from training to party in Las Vegas and get a new facial tattoo.[77] This would be Tyson's final professional victory in the ring.

In August 2003, after years of financial struggles, Tyson finally filed for bankruptcy.[78] Tyson is said to have squandered nearly $300 million in ring earnings through lavish spending and bad advice. In 2003, amid all his economic troubles, he was named by Ring Magazine at number 16, right behind Sonny Liston, among the 100 greatest punchers of all time.

On July 30, 2004, Tyson faced the British boxer Danny Williams in another comeback fight, this time staged in Louisville, Kentucky. Tyson dominated the opening two rounds. The third round was even, with Williams getting in some clean blows and also a few illegal ones, for which he was penalized. In the fourth round, Tyson was unexpectedly knocked out. After the fight, it was revealed that Tyson was trying to fight on one leg, having torn a ligament in his other knee in the first round. This was Tyson's fifth career defeat.[79] He underwent surgery for the ligament four days after the fight. His manager, Shelly Finkel, claimed that Tyson was unable to throw meaningful right-hand punches after the knee injury.[80]

On June 11, 2005, Tyson stunned the boxing world by quitting before the start of the seventh round in a close bout against journeyman Kevin McBride. After losing the third of his last four fights, Tyson said he would quit boxing because he no longer had "the fighting guts or the heart anymore." [81]


Although Tyson was considered a formidable champion during his prime, his apparent lack of discipline and self control, both in and out of the ring, led to a series of personal problems as well as periods of imprisonment. After being released from prison in 1995, Tyson failed to reclaim his previous dominance during his heavily anticipated comeback. His greatest impact upon the boxing world was as a fighter during the 1980s, as the latter part of his career was overshadowed by controversy, although he eventually regained two title belts. A 1998 ranking of "The Greatest Heavyweights of All-Time" by Ring magazine placed Tyson at #14 on the list.[82]

Professional boxing record

50 Wins (44 knockouts, 5 decisions, 1 disqualification), 6 Losses (5 knockouts, 1 disqualification), 0 Draws, 2 No Contests[83]


After professional boxing

On the front page of USA Today on June 3, 2005, Tyson was quoted as saying: "My whole life has been a waste - I've been a failure." He continued: "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."[84] Tyson began to spend much of his time tending to his 350 pigeons in Paradise Valley, an upscale enclave near Phoenix, Arizona.[85]

Tyson has stayed in the limelight by promoting various websites and companies.[86] In the past Tyson had shunned endorsements, accusing other athletes of putting on a false front to obtain them.[87] He has also done entertainment boxing shows at a casino in Las Vegas[88] and started a tour of exhibition bouts to pay off his numerous debts.[89]

On December 29, 2006, Tyson was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, on suspicion of DUI and felony drug possession after he nearly crashed into a police SUV shortly after leaving a night club. According to a police probable-cause statement, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, "He (Tyson) admitted to using (drugs) today and stated he is an addict and has a problem."[90] Tyson pleaded not guilty on January 22, 2007, in Maricopa County Superior Court to felony drug possession and paraphernalia possession counts and two misdemeanour counts of driving under the influence of drugs. On February 8 he checked himself into an in-patient treatment program for "various addictions" while awaiting trial on the drug charges.[91]

On September 24, 2007, Mike Tyson pleaded guilty to possession of narcotics and driving under the influence. He was convicted of these charges in November 2007 and sentenced to 24 hours in jail, 360 hours community service and 3 years probation. Prosecutors had requested a year long jail sentence, but the judge praised Tyson for seeking help with his drug problems.[92]

Marriage and children

Tyson has been legally married twice and has had children with several different women. His first marriage was to actress Robin Givens, then known for her work on the sitcom Head of the Class, from February 7, 1988 to February 14, 1989.[24] Tyson's marriage to Givens was especially tumultuous with allegations of violence, spousal abuse and mental instability.[93] Matters came to a head when Tyson and Givens gave a joint interview with Barbara Walters on the ABC TV newsmagazine show 20/20 in September 1988, in which Givens described life with Tyson as "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine."[94] Givens also described Tyson as "manic depressive" on national television while Tyson looked on with an intent and calm expression.[93] A month later, Givens announced that she was seeking a divorce from Tyson.[93] Tyson's marriage to Givens did not produce any children.

His second marriage was to Monica Turner from April 19, 1997 – January 14, 2003.[95] At the time of the divorce filing, Turner worked as a paediatric resident at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC.[96] She is also the sister of Michael Steele, the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. Turner filed for divorce from Tyson in January 2002, claiming that he committed adultery during their five-year marriage, an act that "has neither been forgiven nor condoned."[96]

Tyson has six children: Gena, Mikey, Rayna, Amir, Miguel, and Exodus.[84] Rayna (born February 14, 1996) and Amir (August 5, 1997) are from his second wife.[96]

In popular culture

At the height of his fame and career in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Tyson was one of the most recognized sports personalities in the world. Apart from his many sporting accomplishments, his outrageous and controversial behaviour in the ring and in his private life has kept him in the public eye.[97] As such, Tyson has appeared in myriad popular media in either cameo appearances or as a subject of parody or satire.

Boxing championships and accomplishments

Tyson established an impressive list of accomplishments, mostly early in his career:[98]


  • National Golden Gloves Champion Heavyweight 1984
  • Undisputed Heavyweight champion (held all three major championship belts; WBA, IBF, and WBC) — 1 August 1987 – 11 February 1990
  • In a Reservation vs. The World contest, Iron Mike Tyson defeated the Hickiwan Hurricane in Why, Arizona in the 1st rd. 00:04 seconds by way of KO
  • WBC Heavyweight Champion — 22 November 1986 – 11 February 1990, 16 March 1996 – 1997 (Vacated)
  • WBA Heavyweight Champion — 7 March 1987 – 11 February 1990, 7 September 1996 – 9 November 1996
  • IBF Heavyweight Champion — 1 August 1987 – 11 February 1990


  • Youngest Heavyweight champion—20 years and 4 months


  • Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year—1988
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality—1989
  • Ring magazine Prospect of the Year—1985
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
WBC Heavyweight Champion
22 November 1986–11 February 1990
WBA Heavyweight Champion
7 March 1987–11 February 1990
IBF Heavyweight Champion
1 August 1987–11 February 1990
WBC Heavyweight Champion
16 March 1996–1997 (Vacated)
WBA Heavyweight Champion
7 September 1996–9 November 1996

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