One of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, Michael “Iron Mike” Tyson has etched his name in boxing history. The youngest heavyweight champion in history, he reached the top of the boxing world at the young age of 20. He was the first boxer to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles simultaneously, and remains the only heavyweight to unify them in succession.
Born on June 30, 1966 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Tyson had a troubled childhood. He never knew his birth father, Purcell Tyson. His step-father, Jimmy Kirkpatrick walked out on the family when Tyson was born.
The youngest of three siblings, Tyson was often neglected at home, and spent a large amount of his time outdoors. Being from a rough neighbourhood, Tyson got into a lot of fights as a child, usually against bullies who made fun of his high pitched voice and lisp. By the age of 13, he had been arrested 38 times.
As a young teenager, Tyson’s boxing ability was discovered by Juvenile detention counsellor Bobby Stewart, who was also a former boxer. Stewart trained him initially, before introducing him to Christopher “Cus” D’amato. D’amato, who was initially Tyson’s trainer, also became a father figure, and his legal guardian when his mother passed away in 1982. It was with D’amato that Tyson really started working out, and training to become the legend he is today.
Iron Mike was undoubtedly the best in the ring in his prime. The first heavyweight boxer to be #1 in the Men's pound-for-pound rankings, Tyson was an incredible fighter. He won 26 of his first 28 fights by TKO, 16 of which came in the first round. Tyson was incredibly fast for a fighter in his weight class. He brilliantly combined his agility and ferocious strength along with the“peek a boo” style taught to him by Cus which allowed him to weave in between punches. He would also frequently crouch when attacking, to let the “spring” in his legs add power to his punch. One of his more famous combos was a right hook to the body followed by a right uppercut on the chin.
Tyson defeated many big names to earn his status as the best. Among those he defeated, his most iconic fight was his bout against Michael Spinks. Both were undefeated heavyweight fighters. Tyson held all three major titles, but Spinks was the number one boxer in “the Ring” magazine, and considered to be “the people’s champion.” Tyson won that fight by TKO in 91 seconds, easily defeating Spinks.
Mike Tyson's workout routine would include 2000 sit-ups, 500-800 dips, 500 press-ups and 500 shrugs with a 30kg barbell. He would also do around 10 minutes of neck rolls on a folded towel. Tyson’s improved neck strength drastically reduced the chances of him getting knocked out during a fight. The neck roll is a somewhat common exercise in boxing, but no boxer was known for it the way Mike Tyson was.
Tyson would end his work out with a half hour on the exercise bike at 8 pm, and would sleep at around 10 to get a full 7 hours of sleep a night.
Before Mike Tyson became a household name, he was just a kid from Brooklyn. He trained obsessively to become the boxer he is. With one of the most brutal workout regimes, Iron Mike built his iron body rep by rep.
Tyson was truly dedicated to becoming a master of his craft. He would spend 8-10 hours a day working out on an average day. He would also study for upcoming fights, and followed a rigorous diet to ensure his body got the right nutrition.
He would start his day at 5 am and run for 3 miles, to improve his lung capacity and stamina for long fights. Following this, he would come home at 6 am and rest till 10. Tyson would then wake up at 10 am and start sparring practice.
Here is Mike Tyson’s full workout routine and meal plan according to Muscle Prodigy:
Workout Routine & Meal Plan
Get up and go for a 3 mile jog
Come back home, shower, and go back to bed
Wake up and then eat oatmeal
Do ring work (10 rounds of sparring)
Have another meal (steak and pasta with fruit juice)
Six rounds of sparring, bag work, slip bag, jump rope, pad work and speed bag
2000 sit-ups, 500-800 dips, 500 press-ups, 500 shrugs with a 30kg barbell, and 10 mins of neck exercises
Steak and pasta meal with fruit juice
Another 30 minutes on the exercise bike then watch TV and go to bed. Before fights, TV was substituted with fight footage and studying the opponent.
A lot of Tyson’s success has to do with this routine. While he may have been a talented boxer as a child, his hard work and effort were integral to his victories, and if he hadn’t worked the way he had, it’s quite possible he wouldn’t be the legend he is today.