At only 20 years of age, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Born in 1966, Mike’s family was forced to move to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn – a tough neighborhood plagued by crime. But this environment was the crucible that would begin to mold and form Mike into a formidable world-class fighter. As a kid, he was small and shy, which made him a target for bullies. Mike fought back, creating his own style of street fighting.
However, a string of bad behavior landed him in an upstate reform school, where a counselor and amateur boxing champion taught Mike the basics of boxing. He took to it like a fish to water, and began to thrive academically as well. It was at this point when he was introduced to legendary boxing manager Cus D’Amato, who saw Mike’s potential and took him under his wing. Though their association began as trainer and boxer it quickly evolved into a father-son relationship. D’Amato set a rigorous training schedule for him, and instilled a discipline in Mike that had him turning professional in 1985 at age 18. His massive strength and fast, hammering fists earned him the nickname “Iron Mike,” which followed him throughout his professional boxing career. The following year – with a 22-0 record already under his belt – Mike fought his way to being the youngest world heavyweight champ in world history.
Mike successfully defended his boxing title until 1990, when he was knocked out for the first time in his career by Buster Douglas in the tenth round in Tokyo. A series of personal and professional setbacks took Mike out of the ring for five years, but he returned with a vengeance, knocking out his opponents in two matches in 1995. He then set his sights on regaining his former title from Evander Holyfield. His first attempt in 1996 ended in disappointment – not to mention a desire for revenge which came in a 1997 rematch. After being disqualified from the match and barred from boxing for a year, Mike waited until 2002 to challenge Lennox Lewis for the heavyweight championship. Mike’s defeat led to his retirement from fighting in 2005.
But you can’t keep a fighter like Iron Mike down for long. In 2009, he returned to the spotlight in a different role, starring in a cameo role as himself in the hit comedy The Hangover with Bradley Cooper. That success led to more guest appearances on TV, as well as a repeat cameo performance in “Hangover 2.” In 2012, Mike made the jump from the big and small screen to the Broadway stage, where he starred in his hit one-man show, Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth, which was directed by Spike Lee. More recently, he was featured in the 6-part Fox Sports “Being” documentary series, which gives viewers a much deeper insight into the soul of this amazingly talented fighter and the life experiences that shaped the man.
In 2013, Mike returned to the ring once more – not as a fighter this time, but as a world-class boxing promoter. Iron Mike Productions has a roster of promising young hopefuls that benefit from Mike’s wealth of knowledge and experience on what it takes to be a world champion.