Michael Gerald Tyson was born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1966. He is popularly known as Mike Tyson, or rather, as Iron Mike. He had a very tough upbringing. During his early years, Mike spent a lot of his free time outside on the street as a member of the gang, Jolly Stompers.
As a result of this lifestyle, Mike was sent to a reform school in upstate New York. This is where he met his destiny. A social worker at the school by the name of Bob Stewart took him under his wing after realizing Mike’s boxing potential. Bob Stewart was an amateur boxing champion, and he directed Mike to Cus D’Amato, who happened to be his future legal guardian.
Mike Tyson has Cus D’Amato to thank for everything he achieved in his life. D’Amato was both a coach and father figure to Tyson. It was with D’Amato that he truly learned how to box. D’Amato taught him the tactic of keeping his hands close to his cheeks paired with a continuous bobbing movement, otherwise known as the peekaboo style. The result – impenetrable defense and strong attacks.
Mike was surprisingly aggressive and quick for his weight and height. In the heavyweight category, he was considered on the smaller side. He started out in amateur boxing with a 24-3 record. In 1985, he decided to go into professional boxing.
A quick sum-up of his pro boxing career would look like this:
- 58 fights
- 50 won fights
- 44 fights won by a knockout
- 6 lost fights and two fights of no contest
On top of this impressive record, Tyson was named the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1986.
Tyson’s first professional boxing match was scheduled in Albany, New York, on March 16, 1985, against Hector Mercedes. Mike won the match in the first round by a knockout. Thus began the story of Iron Mike. His opponents were so afraid of his strength, mobility, and aggression that they usually hit the ground in the first round.
Although successful, the year of 1985 did bear some ill news. His longtime coach and legal guardian, D’Amato died, and Mike lost a trainer and a father figure. Kevin Rooney filled D’Amato’s role as his trainer.
Mike won it with his thirteenth knockout and made sure to announce that he dedicated his win to D’Amato publicly. Missing a father figure was a traumatic experience for Mike, and many people who knew him said that Mike never recovered from it.
At this point in his career, Mike had an outstanding record of 22-0 (21 KOs), and he was only 20 years old. He peaked in November 1986 in his first fight for the title against Trevor Berbick. Iron Mike won the title of the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship by a knockout in the second round and became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
He went on a streak winning the World Boxing Association championship title in 1987 in the match against James Smith. The same year, he won the International Boxing Federation title from Tony Tucker and became the first heavyweight pro boxer with all three major boxing belts in his trophy room. Tyson got knocked out for the first time in his career in 1990 in Tokyo, Japan, by Buster Douglas. Douglas ended Tyson’s winning streak causing Tyson to give up his championship belt.
In 1992, Tyson was found guilty on two counts of deviant sexual conduct and one count of rape, Tyson was ordered to serve six years in prison. In prison, he adopted the name Malik Abdul Aziz and converted to Islam. He came out early in 1995 and immediately came back to the ring, knocking out Peter McNeely and Buster Mathis Jr.
After losing a match against Holyfield in 1996, Tyson trained hard for the rematch scheduled for 1997. The only thing he managed to achieve was to bite off a piece of Holyfield’s right ear. He continued to fight until 2005 when he announced his retirement.
Mike Tyson Relationships: Who Has He Dated
Mike Tyson has had several relationships and failed marriages behind him. He was married to:
Robin Givens (1988 – 1989)
Monica Turner (1997 – 2003)
Lakisha Spicer (2009)
He was also in relationships with:
Suzette Charles (1989)
Naomi Campbell (1989 – 1990)
Luz Whitney (2000 – 2004)
Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace (2006 – 2009)
In the News
While the media consistently covered Mike’s professional successes, he did manage to show up on the front pages for some criminal acts. In 1991, he made the headlines for being arrested for the rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington. The media covered the entire trial, which took place in the Marion County Superior Court in 1992.
Some newspapers still enjoy reminding us about the “The Bite Fight” – the professional boxing match of Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson. This was the match when Mike bit off Evander’s ear.
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