Michael Gerard Tyson
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Mike Tyson was born on June 30th 1966 in Brooklyn, New York City. His father, Jimmy Kirkpatrick abandoned the family when Mike was 2, leaving his mother to raise him, his older brother Rodney and his sister Denise, alone. Mike was often bullied as a child, but would eventually turn on the bullies and gain a reputation as one of the toughest kids in his neighbourhood; the notorious Brownsville section of New York City. By the age of 13 Mike had been arrested 38 times, and wound up in the Tryon Juvenile Reform School in up-state New York.
It was here that Mike met former pro fighter Bobby Stewart, who was working there as a councillor. Stewart taught Mike the basics of boxing and soon introduced him to legendary boxing trainer Cus D'mato. Upon watching a 13 year old Tyson spar with Stewart for the first time, D'mato was so impressed he immediately declared "that's the next heavyweight champion of the world".
Mike's mother, Lorna, died when he was 16, D'mato then adopted Tyson and became his legal guardian. D'mato and his assistant Teddy Atlas (later replaced by Kevin Rooney) would then train Tyson as an amateur to win 2 gold medals in 1981 and 1982 at the Junior Olympics Games.
After failing to qualify for the 1984 (senior) Olympics, Tyson turned pro aged just 18, and won his first fight via first round TKO. Tysons beloved mentor Cus D'Mato tragically died of pneumonia on November 4th 1985 aged 77, shortly after Mike's 11th pro fight. D'Mato had left Tyson in the hands of friends and business partners Jim Jacobs and Bill Cayton, and trainer Kevin Rooney. At age 20, after compiling a record of 25 wins and no losses, with 23 wins by knockout in under 2 years; Tyson then successfully challenged for the WBC Heavyweight Title, defeating Trevor Berbick via 2nd round TKO to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
Tyson would eventually unify the heavyweight title, defeating James "Bonecrusher" Smith (UD 12), Tony Tucker (UD 12) and lineal champion Michael Spinks (KO 1) to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Muhammad Ali. Tyson flattens Michael Spinks below.
Mike married actress Robin Givens on February 7th 1988, a few months before the Spinks fight. But tragedy was never far away in the young champions life, and on March 3rd 1988, his co-manager and close friend Jim Jacobs died of cancer- this event marked the beginning of a downward spiral in Mike's personal life which would eventually see him wind up in prison. Shortly after the Spinks fight Mike fired long time trainer Kevin Rooney and manager Bill Cayton, and signed with Infamous boxing promoter Don King. In August of the same year Tyson broke his hand in a street brawl with former opponent Mitch Green at a clothing store in Harlem NY. A few weeks later Tyson was knocked unconscious after driving his BMW into a tree, the press reported the incident as a "suicide attempt". Tyson's marriage ended in divorce on February 14th 1989 after accusations of infidelity and domestic violence.
First professional loss; end of first reign as champion.
On February 11th 1990 Tyson faced journeyman James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo Japan, in his 10th defence of the undisputed heavyweight title. In what is widely regarded as the greatest upset in boxing history, Tyson was battered for 9 rounds, and finally knocked out in the 10th by the unheralded Challenger. In a failed attempt to have Mike reinstated as champion, promoter Don King would later claim that Douglas received an unduly long count after being floored in the 8th round, and the result should therefore be changed to an 8th round TKO victory for Tyson. However, this claim was later disproved by HBO boxing analysts, who produced a video which showed the count Douglas received in the 8th was identical to the count Tyson received after being floored in the 10th.The difference was that Douglas was fit to continue after reaching his feet in the 8th, but Tyson was too groggy to do so in the 10th. The "Identical 10 counts" comparison video below.
Tyson hired new trainer Richie Giachetti, and rebounded from the loss with two first round victories over former amateur rival Henry Tillman, and contender Alex Steward, and back to back victories over Jamaican danger man Donovan "Razor" Ruddock (TKO 7 & UD 12).
Conviction for rape and imprisonment.
On September 11th 1991, Tyson was arrested for the alleged rape of Miss Black America beauty contestant Desiree Washington, in his hotel room. On Februrary 10th 1992 Tyson was found guilty of rape and deviate sexual conduct, and on March 26th Superior Court Judge Patricia Gifford sentenced him to 10 years in prison, suspending four. Tyson was incarcerated in the Indiana Youth Center, and during his time there he converted to Islam and was given the muslim name Malik Abdul Aziz. Mike maintained contact with former promoter Don King throughout his encarceration, who kept him up to speed with events in the heavyweight division.
Release from prison and return to boxing.
On March 25 1995, Tyson was released from prison after serving 3 years, recieveing early release for good behavior. Tyson signed a new contract with Don King and resumed his career with a first round victory of Peter McNeeley. He followed this up with a 3rd round victory over Buster Mathis Jr, then successfully challenged Frank Bruno for the WBC World Heavyweight Title, winning via 3rd round TKO. He then captured the WBA version of the title with a TKO victory over Bruce Seldon in the first round. Mike Tyson knocks out Frank Bruno to recapture the WBC World Heavyweight title (below).
Scroll over image below to see Dwyer demonstrating Mike Tyson's 'bob and weave' defence...LOL!!!