Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson

Michael Gerard Tyson or Mike Tyson (born on June 30, 1966), also known as Malik Abdul Aziz, is an American former boxer.

He won the world heavyweight title twice in the 80s and is the youngest boxer in history to get a world heavyweight title when on November 22, 1986, he won the WBC title against Trevor Berbick, with only 20 years, 4 months and 22 days. He would later manage to unify all the crowns against champions James Smith (WBA) and Tony Tucker (IBF), being defeated, after several defenses, by James “Buster” Douglas in 1990.

General Information
Name Mike Tyson
Full Name Michael Gerard Tyson
Alternative Name Malik Abdul Aziz
Nicknames Iron Mike
Kid Dynamite
The Baddest Man on the Planet
Birth date June 30, 1966
Birthplace New York City
United States
Weight category Heavyweight
Height 1.78m (5’10″)
Spouse Robin Givens (m. 1988; div. 1989)
Monica Turner (m. 1997; div. 2003)
Lakiha Spicer (m. 2009)
Children 7

In 1992 Mike Tyson was jailed for the rape of Desiree Washington, an 18-year-old model. On March 26, he was sentenced to 10 years, 6 years in prison and 4 years of probation. He was released for good behavior in March 1995, returning to the ring that same year. He won the world title again in 1996 but lost it to Evander Holyfield a few months later.

In 1997, in the rematch against Holyfield, he tore off a piece of his opponent’s right ear, and after being warned by the referee and trying again to bite him he was disqualified and sanctioned for twelve months. He continued to fight and at the age of 35 he returned to fight for the world title against Lennox Lewis, but was defeated, retiring three years later. In 2003 he filed for bankruptcy after having collected 30 million dollars in some of his fights and about 300 million dollars in the whole of his career.

Mike was well known for his ferocity and intimidation as a boxer, leading numerous altercations in and out of the ring. Nicknamed “Iron” and “Kid Dynamite” early in his career. He has been regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights in history. He was ranked number 16 by The Ring magazine in the list of the hundred greatest punchers of all time and number one by ESPN in its list of the greatest punchers in heavyweight history. Sky Sports listed him as the “most feared boxer” and described him as “perhaps the fiercest fighter in a boxing ring”. He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame the following year.

Mike Tyson Biography


Tyson was born at Cumberland Hospital, in the Fort Greene area, in Brownsville, Brooklyn (United States), on June 30, 1966. His birth certificate indicates that his biological father was Percel Tyson, but he never met him. However, the man he called father was Jimmy Kirkpatrick, who rarely visited his three children. Therefore, his mother, Lorna Mae Smith, was forced to support her entire family: her sons Rodney, Niecey and Mike. Her first neighborhood was Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, but when Mike was seven Lorna lost her job and the whole family was evicted. They moved to Brownsville, but were constantly evicted, living in abandoned buildings without water, heat, or electricity.

In public school, he was insulted for his weight, for his lisp and for being constantly with his sister, so at the age of seven, he stopped attending class. Shortly afterward he began his fondness for pigeons, something frequent in the city. At eleven he was doing street fights with bets and began to be known in Brooklyn. By thirteen Mike had been arrested 38 times. Within the judicial system, he had to attend special schools, where they began to administer chlorpromazine.

At the Spofford Juvenile Detention Centre, she was able to attend a talk by Muhammad Ali, but has since been in several foster homes. Before his thirteenth birthday he was arrested in possession of stolen property, for which he was sent to a state reformatory, the Tyron School for Boys. After beating one of the inmates, he was handcuffed and sent to Elmwood, a correctional facility where he met Bobby Stewart, a former professional boxer who had become a national amateur champion. Stewart trained him for a few months until in March 1980 he introduced him to famed trainer Cus D’Amato, who had a gym in Catskill.

D’Amato was joined by a younger coach, Teddy Atlas, and between them they began training Mike on weekends. After receiving parole, D’Amato took over his guardianship. Together with D’Amato, he was able to meet Wilfred Benitez personally and talk on the phone with Ali after his fight with Larry Holmes. To train Mike they hire the best sparrings, among which were Marvin Stinson or Frank Bruno.


Mike Tyson began fighting in so-called “smokehouses,” places laden with cigarette smoke where fights were not allowed. His first bout was won in the third round at the Holyoke Boys Club in May 1981. After ten matches, in May and June 1981 he participated in the Youth Olympics. He won every regional tournament, so he qualified to fight for the national title in Colorado, defeating all his opponents by knockout in the first round, including the final against Joe Cortez, whom he knocked down in eight seconds. He was nicknamed The Tank because he weighed 91 kg at the age of fourteen.

In November 1981 he fought Ernie Bennet, six years his senior and who was going to play his last fight as an amateur before turning professional. Bennet won the bout via decision, inflicting the first loss on Mike. In 1982 he defended his Youth Olympics title against Kelton Brown, whom he defeated in the first round. A little later his mother, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, died.

For this reason, he returned to steal and rob, but the death of a friend and the situation in which his mother had lived made him return to D’Amato. An 11-year-old girl, a relative of Teddy Atlas, accused Mike of sexual misconduct, so Atlas threatened him with a .38 caliber pistol. He shot it next to Mike’s ear to intimidate him, which is why D’Amato fired the coach and hired Kevin Rooney. In December 1982 Mike lost for the first time in a tournament, at the American Amateur Championship in Indianapolis.

His rival was Al Evans, eleven years older than him, who won it after the referee stopped the fight after three falls of Mike. He won the next six bouts, which earned him to play in March 1983 the Golden Gloves, where he won the silver medal after losing by decision to Craig Payne. Before the end of the year, he was disqualified against Kimmuel Odum in Colorado Springs, but won the Concacaf tournament for under nineteen, a title he repeated the following year. He also won the Ohio Fair National in August and soon after the National Championship.

In 1984 he lost in the final of the U.S. U-19 championship to Orbit Pough. Shortly thereafter he won the Golden Gloves of the heavyweights against Jonathan Littles. He was considered the favorite to win a place to defend the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, but lost on two controversial occasions by a decision of the judges against Henry Tillman, not being finally selected. These defeats led to a straight turn of professionalism after winning the Tammer Tournament in Tampere on 16 September against Hakkan Brock.


Early matches

His professional debut was on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York, defeating Puerto Rican Héctor Mercedes in the first round. His representatives over the next few years, in addition to D’Amato, were Jimmy Jacobs and his partner Bill Cayton. Since his fourth fight in Atlantic City, his evenings were regularly broadcast on ESPN. His ninth fight was against Donnie Long, also in Atlantic City. Long had defeated former World Boxing Association champion John Tate, but Mike won in the first round.

Cus D’Amato became seriously ill with pneumonia and was unable to attend the match against Long, nor the next against Robert Colay. Shortly afterward he went to Latham to watch the fight against Sterling Benjamin but died three days later, on November 4, 1985, when Mike had only fought eleven times as a professional and some speculated that the experience of his loss generated in him a problem that would gradually increase. He had appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and that year he continued to fight up to four more times. Three bouts ended in the first round and the remaining in the second, against Canada’s number two, Conroy Nelson.

On January 11, 1986, he faced Dave Jaco, who had previously defeated Razor Ruddock, but Jaco also lost in the first round. After beating Mike Jameson in five rounds, on February 16 he faced Jesse Ferguson at the Houston Field House in Troy, New York. Mike knocked out Ferguson in the fifth round and in the sixth the referee, who had had to admonish Ferguson several times, had to stop the fight, as there were constant warnings and hugs. Initially, the fight was recorded as Ferguson’s disqualification but after protests from Mike’s corner (claiming that he was going to break his knockout record) the resolution was a technical knockout because it would have been the most likely outcome to continue in the ring.

After two more victories, he faced Steve Zouski, who had never been knocked out. He won after three rounds, but several blows from his rival to an ear that had been cut off in a domestic accident caused him to have to be admitted due to an acute infection. When his next fight against James Tillis came, he was out of shape due to his illness and his night outs, but he was finally able to win by decision in ten rounds, having knocked him down once. That same month, against Mitch Green, he premiered his new contract with HBO to televise his fights, and again won after ten rounds. Green had won the Golden Gloves tournament four times, and had only lost one professional fight to Trevor Berbick, with the USBA title on the line.

After two fights finished in ten rounds, surely his representatives looked for easier opponents. Before his next match against Reggie Gross, he had bronchitis, and the match was almost not held. However he won in one round, and the next two in one and two respectively. On July 26 he faced the son of the legendary Joe Frazier, Marvis, who was also defeated in an assault. His next opponent was José Ribalta, who fell in the second round, in the eighth and in the tenth, before the referee stopped the fight.

World Title

After his victory against Ribalta, the negotiations to organize a fight for the title were directed correctly, specifically it would be held in Las Vegas, so before the big fight another was made against Alfonso Ratcliff, who won in two rounds. His rivals had gotten better and better to get a shot at the world heavyweight title and on November 22, 1986, he fought Trevor Berbick, World Boxing Council heavyweight champion. Before the match, he appeared in various television programs such as Nightlife,  The Joan Rivers Show  or The Dick Cavett Show.

A day before the fight, Tyson was suffering from symptoms of gonorrhea. In addition, he had to pay $ 10,000 to use the same color of underwear as the champion. He won the title by knocking out Berbick in the second round, becoming at 20 years and four months the youngest heavyweight champion in world history.

Floyd Patterson had been the youngest heavyweight to win the world title at age 21 and 10 months after beating Archie Moore in the title tie vacated by Rocky Marciano after his retirement. Mike was a small boxer for the category, with a size of 1.78 cm and a weight that varied between 97 and 120 kg, but with devastating power in his punches, excellent training, great hand speed and an aggressive style – he was on the offensive continuously; Each of his attacks carried great precision and power. In his first two years as a professional, he had won 28 fights, of which 26 ended in knockouts, 15 of them in the first round and 5 in the second.

Already in 1987 he continued to face almost all the outstanding heavyweights of the moment and declared that he wanted to unify all the world belts. He defended his title against James “Bonecrusher” Smith on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He won by points after an unanimous decision, and won the World Boxing Association belt held by Smith. In May, he defeated Pinklon Thomas by sixth-round knockout, defending both of his titles.

On August 1, he was scheduled to fight Tony Tucker, who at the time held the International Boxing Federation belt. Mike was a depressive person, so the stress before the fight led him to consider retirement. He left the training camp he was leading in Las Vegas a month before the fight and increased his nights out. He returned to training two weeks before the fight, so he did not arrive in top form. Tucker held out for the entire fight, but lost on points and Mike became the “undisputed all-weight world champion”.

Once with all three titles, his next fight of the year was in October against Tyrell Biggs, Olympic champion in 1984 (super heavyweight category), whom he won by technical knockout in seven rounds. On January 22, 1988, he faced the last unified champion before Tyson, veteran former champion Larry Holmes, whom he defeated by TKO in 4 rounds. Holmes had not suffered a knockout in his entire career after 75 fights.

In March he fought challenger Tony Tubbs in Tokyo, in what was a promotional and marketing fight. The fight took place in the newly opened Tokyo Dome, with capacity for 65,000 people. An hour after the tickets went on sale, 80% of the capacity had been sold. The Japanese promoter thought that Tubbs would be the opponent who would last Mike the most, but Mike got an easy victory by knockout in two rounds.

Shortly after, his manager Jimmy Jacobs died after nine years suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia. On June 27, he was due to fight former International Boxing Federation champion Michael Spinks. Many people thought (including The Ring magazine) that the rightful champion was Spinks, who held the lineal title, having previously beaten Larry Holmes. With this fight Mike reached the climax of his career, as he beat Spinks in the first round, in just 92 seconds.

James “Buster” Douglas

Before and after the match against Spinks, Tyson had many problems in his private life. His wife, Robin Givens, and her mother constantly criticized him in the media, until they both divorced. The press began to accuse him of various problems, such as fights or night outs. He was denounced by Bill Cayton and signed a promotional contract with Don King, with whom he spent more and more time. From here it can be marked as the beginning of the decline of the world champion.

He was to fight Frank Bruno in London, but announced that the fight would be delayed. He then had a street fight with Mitch Green, and broke his hand. A little later he crashed his BMW into a tree and suffered a chest contusion and head trauma. His coach, Kevin Rooney, criticized Mike in various media, so he was fired. After several months of night parties, his weight rose to 115 kg.

After several problems with Cayton his representatives were Rory Holloway and John Horne, while his coach in 1989 was Aaron Snowell, who remained in the position until the following year. On February 25, 1989, Tyson faced Frank Bruno, whom he won by TKO in five rounds. That year saw the publication of an unauthorized biography of Mike, Fire and Fear: The Inside Story of Mike Tyson, written by José Torres. According to Tyson, the book contains lies and distortions about him. The next fight was against Carl Williams, whom he won by TKO in the first round, on July 21, 1989. On November 18 in Edmonton, he had to face Razor Ruddock with the titles again at stake. Mike began training in September, but barely concentrated and on October 26 the fight was postponed due to bronchitis from him.

By 1990, he had lost his workout habit, had gained weight again, and his private life was getting worse and worse. On February 11, he faced James “Buster” Douglas in Tokyo with the odds 42-1 in his favor. For Douglas it was an emotional struggle, his wife had left him and his mother had died two weeks earlier. Tyson had lost some weight ahead of the fight, but without hardly training he gave a weight of almost 100 kg, his highest weight in a fight until then.

He was being beaten on points until in the eighth round an uppercut knocked Douglas down. At the end of the fight Tyson’s team criticized the slowness of the referee’s count, claiming that Douglas was on the ground for more than ten seconds and that the referee started the count late, which helped Douglas recover. At 35 seconds into the tenth round Douglas unleashed a combination punch that sent Mike to the canvas. The referee, Octavio Meyran, made the count but Mike did not have the strength for more and was defeated by knockout in the tenth round.

This fight was the event of the year for The Ring magazine and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, as well as being one of the biggest surprises in the history of the sport. Don King wanted a rematch immediately, but Evander Holyfield was the world title contender. Shortly after the loss to Douglas, his sister Niecey died of a heart attack.

After Douglas

After the loss, Mike hired Richie Giachetti as his trainer and concentrated on training for his next match on June 16. His rival would be Henry Tillman, Olympic champion in 1984 (heavyweight category). Tillman had beaten him on the road to the Olympics and precipitated his passage from amateur to professional. The fight raised a lot of expectation but ended in the first round with victory for Tyson. His next match was scheduled to take place on September 22 in Atlantic City, but was eventually delayed to December 8 due to a cut over Mike’s eye. His rival was Alex Stewart, who had participated in the Olympic Games and had only been defeated by Evander Holyfield. As in the previous bout, Tyson won the fight in the first round.

In the first defense of the title, Douglas lost to Holyfield, so rumors of a match between the two increased. Tyson, who was the number one contender fought the number two, Donovan “Razor” Ruddock. On March 18, 1991, the match took place in Las Vegas, and it had a controversial ending. The referee, Richard Steele, stopped the fight in the seventh round in favor of Tyson because he understood that Ruddock did not defend himself, but the decision generated the anger of the spectators having to be escorted the referee to leave the ring.

The fight finally took place again on June 28. Ruddock was presented with 4.5 kg more than in the first fight, while Tyson weighed half a kilo less, although in the last month, he had to lose sixteen. This time Mike knocked down Ruddock twice and won in 12 rounds by unanimous decision. Following this victory, a fight between Holyfield and Mike was ordered to be contested in late 1991, but this did not take place as he was arrested for rape.

According to the version given to the judge, the events occurred on the night of July 19, 1991, in suite 606 of the Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis. There they had date an 18-year-old student from Roche Island who was participating in a contest to choose “Miss Black America”, Desiree Washington, and the boxer, who would later be accused of rape. On March 26, 1992, Judge Patricia Gifford sentenced Tyson to six years in prison and $30,000 in compensation to the victim, although after three years and eight months he left for good behavior. He was interned at the Indiana Youth Center, a medium-high security prison. In October 1992 his biological father died, but he could not attend his funeral because he was imprisoned.

In 1993, articles and television programs began to appear in which Desiree’s testimony was doubted, including testimony from jurors. One such testimony was that of Wayne Walker, who claimed that Desiree had also told her father that she had been raped by him in 1989. At that time it was also made public that Desiree and her father were interested in selling the story and their rights to a book and a film. Despite this new data, the Indiana Supreme Court rejected his appeal. When he entered prison he weighed 123 kg and six months later he dropped to 98 kg, at which time he also converted to Islam. In June 1994 he appeared at a hearing to assess a possible reduction of sentence. Mike claimed he had committed no crime, but he was re-admitted.

Evander Holyfield

After returning from prison, he fought Peter McNeeley in August 1995. Mike knocked down his opponent twice, but his coach entered the ring to stop the match and they were disqualified. Shortly thereafter the fight against Buster Mathis Jr. was scheduled to be televised on FOX, as well as the third fight between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, but Mike broke his right thumb and the fight was postponed until the end of the year. Buster only lasted three rounds and the fight had a 29% share for FOX, the highest in its history.

Lennox Lewis had lost the World Boxing Council (WBC) title to Oliver McCall, and this in turn to Frank Bruno, whom Mike had already won in 1989. The fight against Bruno was short, as he won by TKO in three rounds. With the WBC belt in his possession he wanted the unification again and therefore instead of defending the title against Lennox Lewis he opted to fight against the champion of the World Boxing Association (WBA), Bruce Seldon. The match was held on September 7, 1996, and Seldon only lasted one round. In the eight rounds he had fought since getting out of jail Mike had won 80 million dollars, but after the fight he fell back into cocaine use.

Lewis filed a lawsuit because Mike had not agreed to defend the title before him and the WBC took away his belt. A little later Lewis got it after winning in the rematch with Oliver McCall. Only with the World Boxing Association title did he face Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield. The multi-million dollar event occurred on November 9, 1996, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with the name ‘Finally’. Tyson lost by TKO in eleven rounds after referee Mitch Halpern stopped the fight (Tyson also lost on points). With this victory Holyfield made history, being the second person in history to win the heavyweight world championship belt three times. At the end of the match, Tyson’s technicians claimed that his protégé had received numerous headers from Holyfield that had been overlooked by the referee.

A rematch between the two was agreed on the same stage on May 3 of the following year, but was postponed until June 28. For this match, Tyson traded his coach Jay Bright for Richie Giachetti. At first the referee assigned was again Halpern, but Tyson’s team protested and finally, it was Mills Lane. The fight was titled The Sound and the Fury, and received even more attention than the previous one. Mike received $30 million and Holyfield $35 million, a record for money paid to a professional boxer until 2007 when Oscar de la Hoya fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. The bout also broke the pay-per-view record, as the fight was bought by 1.99 million people, although on May 5 it was broken again by the fight between De la Hoya and Mayweather.

The rematch was called one of the strangest fights in boxing history. Early on, Holyfield was penalized for constantly headbutting Mike, and Mike was disqualified in the third round for biting both of Holyfield’s ears. The fight had been stopped on one occasion to attend to Holyfield’s wound, which had also subtracted points from Mike, but in the resumption, the constant attempts of this to bite again the ear of his rival ended the rematch. Between the announcement of the judge’s decision and the end of the fight, a fight was generated with many people involved inside the ring. After the match, a piece of Holyfield’s ear was found in the ring, but could not be sewn up.

After the incident, Tyson was subtracted three million dollars from the total agreed and two days later apologized to Holyfield for the events during the fight. Tyson was condemned by all the media, although he had some defenders, such as novelist and commentator Katherine Dunn, who wrote in a column about the lack of sportsmanship that Holyfield had shown in combat, in addition to criticizing the media for not being impartial. Years later, in 2004, Holyfield would declare that he had forgiven Tyson for the acts of the second fight. On July 9, 1997, Tyson’s boxing license was revoked in the state of Nevada by unanimous vote and he was fined $3 million for the ear bite. On October 18, 1998, the commission again voted to return Tyson’s license and the result was favorable 4-1.

After Holyfield

In October 1997, Mitch Green’s lawsuit over his street fight forced Tyson to pay him $45,000, although the jury had found that Green had provoked the fight. Despite earning about $114 million between 1995 and 1997, Tyson had spent virtually everything and had $10 million in tax debts. Shortly after he had a motorcycle accident, broke a rib, a shoulder and punctured a lung.

At the end of December, he signed a contract with the WWF to be the referee of WrestleMania XIV, receiving Don King $ 300,000 for giving his image to the company. Tyson disagreed and hired Jeff Wald to review his accounts, which led to the creation of Mike Tyson Enterprises and the dismissal of its representatives Rory Holloway and John Horne.

His new representatives were Jeff Wald, Irving Azoff and Shelly Finkel, who shared 20% of the boxer’s profits. He also sued Don King for $100 million because King had obtained money from the fighting bags, charged Mike with his own expenses, and inflated bills for his own benefits. To make these demands he sold 62 of his vehicles for 3.3 million dollars, signed a contract with the WWF for six million and 35% of the pay-per-view, but at the same time had to take care of several complaints against him.

At the end of 1998, his boxing license was returned, but he had a debt to the Treasury of 13 million dollars. In January 1999, he again fought South African Francois Botha, in what was again a contentious fight. Botha controlled the beginning of the fight, but at the moment that the bell announced the end of the first round he released an untimely blow that led to the two boxers to engage outside the stipulated time.

Once this problem passed, Botha continued to control the fight and won on points, when in the fifth round he began to provoke Mike, who angrily knocked him out. On February 6, 1999, he was again in trouble with the law, sentenced to two years in prison, a $5,000 fine, two years’ probation and 2,000 hours of community service for hitting two motorists after a traffic accident that had occurred on August 31, 1998.

Upon his release, Mike Tyson fought Orlin Norris on October 23, 1999. In another controversial bout, he knocked out Norris when the bell had rung to end the first round. Norris stated that he had injured his knee in the fall and could not continue, so the fight was terminated and consequently, the result was an annulled fight. There were a lot of boos from the fans, so Mike’s representatives wanted to keep him away from Las Vegas for a while. In 2000, he fought at the Manchester Evening News Arena, England, against Julius Francis, the British champion. The fight ended in the second round with Mike winning by knockout.

He also fought in the British Isles in June of that year, exactly in Glasgow, against Lou Savarese. He won the fight in the first round, but Mike continued to punch Savarese after the referee stopped the fight and the boxers had to be separated. During that separation, he hit the referee and was fined $187,500. After the match she returned to London and had an altercation with Frank Warren. In October he had his last fight of the year against Andrzej Gołota, and once again made headlines, after winning the fight for Golota’s refusal to go out to fight after the third round. Golota claimed dizziness from a concussion and a fracture in his left cheekbone.

After the match, it was rumored that Mike might retire after stating, “He will likely take some time off to be with his family.” But the final result of the previous fight was null, after Tyson refused to pass the pre-fight doping test and tested positive for marijuana in the post-fight urine test. Mike provided other people’s urine at anti-doping controls, so he had never been detected with drugs before. He was suspended for ninety days and fined five thousand dollars and donated $200,000 to charity. Despite earning $65.7 million in 2000, economic problems increased. Cus D’Amato’s wife Camille died in June 2001, adding to Mike’s depression and drug use.

As he prepared for his next fight, in 2001, he was again accused of rape. A little later, the police raided his home, as they had received the news that he had abducted a woman. Mike later accused Floyd Mayweather of calling the police about problems between the two. His next fight was against Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen, which he won in seven rounds by technical knockout, despite presenting himself with 108 kg of weight. In this fight, he was seen even slower than before and after the fight he only declared: “I love my wife and my family.” However, in 2003, they divorced due to constant infidelities.

Lennox Lewis

His last chance to win the world heavyweight title came on June 8, 2002, against Britain’s Lennox Lewis, who had been the heavyweight champion of several associations for the previous three years. At the time Lewis held the belts of the World Boxing Council, the International Boxing Federation and the International Boxing Organization. Lewis and Tyson knew each other before, as they coincided as promising amateur boxers making gloves to train at a meeting held by Cus D’Amato in 1984.

The fight was scheduled for April, and as usual, in the statements prior to the fight, there were several altercations. Tyson went on to say to Lewis, “I want your heart, I want to eat your children.” On January 22, 2002, at a press conference in New York, the two boxers along with their bodyguards faced each other in a fight which caused the Nevada pugilistic commission to decide to withdraw Mike’s license. For that reason, the fight was delayed until June, finally being held at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis.

Lewis totally dominated the fight and finished with a knockout victory in the eighth round. In subsequent statements Mike was magnanimous and declared that he had won the best. It was the best-selling event in pay-per-view history, generating $106.9 million. In the contract of the fight there was a clause that contemplated a new fight between the two, but Mike did not want to fight Lewis again. His next fight was on February 22, 2003 against Clifford Etienne, whom he won in 49 seconds in Memphis. Before the fight there were numerous rumors about Mike’s poor form and about his new facial tattoo.


In June 2003, he was charged with assault, harassment and disorderly conduct after getting into an altercation with two men at a Brooklyn hotel. In August, after a multitude of financial struggles, he announced his bankruptcy due to mismanagement, having spent about 300 million dollars earned in his fights. He owed about $27 million, $17 million in taxes, so he lost his home. That year he was placed by The Ring magazine as number 16 on the list of the 100 greatest punchers of all time, just behind Sonny Liston. He negotiated a contract with the K-1 company, so he attended several martial arts events organized by them.

On July 30, 2004, in an attempt to redirect his career as a boxer and due to the large debts he accumulated, he faced the British Danny Williams. He dominated the first rounds, but in the fourth, he lost by knockout. After the fight it was revealed that he was injured in his leg and that in the first round he tore a ligament in his other knee, which had to be operated on days later.

His trainer, Shelly Finkel, stated that Tyson was unable to fight after the injury. In the trial against Don King, he could only get 14 million dollars, which were destined to pay his ex-wife. On June 11, 2005, he lost his last fight to Irishman Kevin McBride, being in poor form and giving on the scale 105 kg. After losing three times in his last four fights, he announced his retirement from the ring after twenty years in active. Mike stated, “I can’t go on with this. I can’t keep lying to myself. I’m not going to keep ruining this sport. It’s simply my end. It’s over.”

Mike Tyson after boxing

Tyson inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013
Tyson inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013

After his last fight,Tyson began to travel throughout Europe aboard the ship of his friend Jeff Greene, stopping in countries such as Russia, where he visited Chechnya. As a curiosity, at the beginning of 2006, the goalkeeper of the Ottawa Senators, Ray Emery, placed a photo of Tyson on his mask, which he took in a game before the management of the team told him that it was not suitable due to the reputation of the boxer. In August he held an exhibition in Las Vegas, and soon after began a tour of exhibition matches.

On December 29, 2006, he was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona for driving under the influence and possession of drugs. According to a Maricopa County police statement in superior court, he admitted that he took drugs, that he was addicted and that he had a problem. On January 22, 2007, in Maricopa County Superior Court, he pleaded guilty to felony drug possession and two misdemeanors driving under the influence. On February 8, he was part of a multi-addiction treatment program while awaiting charges for his crime.

In May 2007 it was rumored that he could be the technical assistant of Russian boxer Sultan Ibragimov in the fight that was disputed for the world heavyweight title of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) against the American Shannon Briggs. On September 24, 2007, he was convicted on charges of possession of narcotics and driving under the influence of drugs. In November, he was sentenced to 24 hours in jail, 360 hours of community service and three years of probation. He was in several rehabilitation centers throughout the decade, such as The Meadows, Promises or Wonderland.

On January 20, 2008, it was announced in the world press that he would travel to South Africa due to a tribute that politicians and businessmen wanted to give to the former world champion, although the trip was shrouded in controversy for his criminal past. Finally, shortly before the start of the event, the organizers of the charity banquet that was to be held announced that one of the most popular politicians in South Africa, who was going to lead the tribute, Jacob Zuma, could not attend due to an urgent commitment to his party, which generated controversy again.

In 2009 he participated in The Oprah Winfrey Show, and after the success obtained they called him back to join Evander Holyfield and that both made peace. In November of that same year, police arrested him and released him after taking his statement after assaulting a photographer at the Los Angeles airport while he was with his wife and ten-month-old son.

Due to his financial problems, in early 2010 it was rumored that he could fight again, but in a July interview with Details, he admitted that he had no intention of returning. However, he began to travel around Europe giving talks and meetings, and even participated in Ballando con le stelle, the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars. In July he appeared at the Kazakhstan Film Festival and made a trip to Mecca, as he had converted to Islam during his time in prison, being called from that moment Malik Abdul Aziz.

At the end of the year it was announced that he would be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2011 alongside Julio César Chávez and Rocky Marciano. In April 2012 he debuted in Las Vegas with the monologue of his life, being Randy Johnson the director and Mike’s wife the screenwriter. After traveling again to Europe he presented another monologue with the direction of Spike Lee, with whom he toured the United States throughout 2013. The monologue was called Undisputed Truth and continued to be performed in numerous countries in the following years.

In 2012 he founded with his wife Mike Tyson Cares, a charity to help children from broken homes. On August 23, 2013, he debuted as a boxing promoter with his company Iron Mike Productions in the city of Verona, New York, United States. In 2015 he announced his support for the US presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. At the beginning of 2018, he announced his intention to produce marijuana on the 16 hectares of his ranch, because in California its consumption was legalized in 2016 for people over 21 years old.

On November 28, 2020, Mike Tyson faced off in an 8-round 2-minute exhibition fight against former world champion Roy Jones Jr.. The match was agreed in advance as a draw, although it was finally declared null and void. Tyson pocketed $10 million, while Roy earned $1 million.

Personal life of Mike Tyson

He has been legally married three times and has had six children with various women. Some of his early relationships were Naomi Campbell and Suzette Charles. His first marriage was to actress Robin Givens whom he met in Head of the Class in February 1988. There were several problems in the relationship with allegations of infidelity, violence, abuse and mental instability. In an interview with Barbara Walters of the ABC television show, Givens stated in September 1988 that life with Tyson was “torture, hell and the worst thing I could ever imagine”. He also declared on national television that Tyson was manic depressive and a month later announced that he had filed for divorce. The couple had no children.

Supposedly his first child was with Natalie Fears in 1990, D’Amato Tyson, although it was later shown that it was not his. His eldest daughter is Mikey Lorna Tyson, who went several times to visit her father in prison. His second marriage was to Monica Turner. They met before Mike entered prison and married on April 19, 1997. The couple separated on January 14, 2003, after Turner reported infidelities since January 2002. The couple had two children: Rayna, who was born on February 14, 1996, and Amir, who was born on August 5, 1997, although he considers Turner’s eldest daughter, Gena, to be his own.

He also had two sons with Shelley, a stripper from Phoenix, Miguel and Exodus. The latter died on 26 May 2009 at the age of four, after accidentally suffocating herself with a cable in her residence. The cost of medical bills and the funeral amounted to $200,000, which was raised through donations as Mike was bankrupt. Ten days after Exodus’ death, Mike remarried for the third time to his girlfriend Lakiha Spicer, on June 6, 2009, in a small, private ceremony at La Bella Chapel at the Hilton Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. With her he has two children: Milan, born on December 24, 2008, and Morocco, born on August 25, 2011.

In 2010 Tyson declared to be on a vegan diet. He owned a house in Ohio, but after getting out of prison he bought a six-acre house in Las Vegas, next to Wayne Newton’s mansion. He also acquired another in Connecticut of more than fifty thousand square meters and another next to the golf course of the Congressional Country Club of Maryland. After separating from Monica Turner in 2003, he lost his Connecticut home, $6.5 million and a lien on his Las Vegas home. After his bankruptcy and losing most of his possessions, he bought a house in Phoenix thanks to a Japanese company that paid him $800,000 to use his image on a Pachinko machine.

In popular culture

Mike Tyson at the 2008 Cannes International Film Festival
Mike Tyson at the 2008 Cannes International Film Festival

Part of the extensive bibliography on his life includes his autobiography “Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography” (2013); He has starred in numerous documentaries about his boxing career, such as Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson (1993) and Tyson (2008) or films such as Tyson (1995  ). His cameos have also been frequent in films such as Black and White (1999), Rocky VI (2006), The Hangover (2009), The Hangover Part II (2011) or Ip Man 3 (2015). In 2014 he participated in the cartoon series Mike Tyson Mysteries providing the voice of the protagonist, which solves mysteries.

During the 1980s and 1990s, he made multiple appearances in television programs or comedies, highlighting Nightlife, The Joan Rivers  Show, Who’s The Boss or The Dick Cavett Show. At the same time he was also a regular presence in music videos such as the one made in 1989 with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith in the song “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson” or in 1991 with rapper Ice-T. As for the world of video games, his appearance in Punch-Out! (NES), being the last rival to finish the game, or Fight Night Round 4, on whose cover he appears next to Muhammad Ali. Also, the fictional Street Fighter fighter, Balrog, is based on Tyson.

In 1998 he appeared at WrestleMania XIV as a referee in the match between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. A few years later he was a guest on WWE Monday Night Raw and in 2012 inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, located at the AmericanAirlines Arena. In 2014 he was in charge of making the honor kick of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers, held at PNC Park. During his time active he also appeared on the cover of various sports magazines such as Sports Illustrated or The Ring.

Mike Tyson Titles and records 

  • Junior Olympic Tournament in 1981.
  • Junior Olympic Tournament in 1982.
  • Gold Gloves runner-up at heavyweight in 1983.
  • Gold medal at the U-19 National Championship in 1983.
  • Gold medal at the U-19 National Championship in 1984.
  • Golden Gloves heavyweight champion in 1984.
  • Champion of the Tammer Tournament in 1984.
  • Champion from August 1, 1987 to February 11, 1990 of the three world belts (WBA, WBC and IBF).
  • Champion of the World Boxing Council from November 22, 1986 to February 11, 1990 and from March 16, 1996 to 1997 when it became vacant.
  • World Boxing Association champion from March 7, 1987 to February 11, 1990 and from September 7, 1996 to November 9, 1996.
  • Champion of the International Boxing Federation from August 1, 1987 to February 11, 1990.
  • Record as the youngest world champion in heavyweight history at 20 years and 4 months.
  • Boxer of the Year by The Ring magazine in 1988.
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1989.
  • Promise of the Year by The Ring magazine in 1985.
  • WWE Hall of Fame (2012)

The fights

50 Wins
Knockout Decision Disqualification
44 5 1
6 Defeats
Knockout Decision Disqualification
5 0 1

References (sources)