Mike Tyson Young

Last Modified Jul 27, 2021 11:37 GMT

Michael Gerard Tyson was born on June 30, 1966. He is a retired professional boxer from the United States who competed from 1985 to 2005. In his early career, he was known as "Iron Mike" and "Kid Dynamite," and later as "The Baddest Man on the Planet,". Tyson is regarded as one of the all-time great heavyweight boxers. and was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

Growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn quickly prepared the young Mike Tyson for the harsh world of boxing. Tyson was undefeated in his first 19 professional fights, with 12 of them coming in the first round via knockout. He holds the record for being the youngest heavyweight champion in history, having won his first championship at the age of 20 years, four months, and 22 days. He was the first heavyweight boxer to hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles at the same time, and the only heavyweight to unify all three titles in the same fight.

Young Mike Tyson

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Tyson had a rough childhood, with him not knowing his biological father and his stepfather abandoning him. When he was 16, Tyson's mother died, leaving him in the custody of Cus D'Amato, a boxing promoter, and trainer who would later become his legal guardian. Tyson explained that he had never seen his mother pleased with him and proud of him for doing something. She just knew him as a crazy kid roaming the streets, coming home with new clothes she knew he didn't pay for. He said that professionally, it had no effect, but it was crushing emotionally and personally.

Tyson spent most of his childhood in and around high-crime areas. His first fight, according to an interview with Information, was with a larger youth who had ripped the head off one of Tyson's pigeons. Tyson was captured on several occasions committing minor offenses and resisting those who mocked his high-pitched voice and lisp. He had been convicted 38 times by the age of 13.

He ended up at Johnstown, New York's Tryon School for Boys where Bobby Stewart, a juvenile detention facility counselor and professional boxer, discovered Tyson's budding boxing talent. Stewart thought Tyson was a great warrior and spent a few months training him before introducing him to Cus D'Amato. Tyson was a sophomore when he dropped out of high school to pursue a career in boxing.

Mike Tyson from his younger days

Credit: Flickr / CC0

Mike Tyson's Early Amateur Career

Mike Tyson, a 12-year-old, was reportedly knocking out grown men, according to Teddy Atlas. Atlas explained, "Anyone who can knock out men when he's 12, 13 years old is a pretty darn good puncher." Tyson, according to Atlas, was the best puncher he had ever trained and was "highly powerful." Tyson was so strong that Atlas couldn't place him in the ring with kids his age because he'd obliterate them. Tyson was entered into amateur boxing tournaments and non-sanctioned contests by D'Amato to show him how to battle older rivals.

Tyson was fast-growing and had competed in the Junior Olympic Games by 1981. Tyson, then 15 years old, defeated Joe Cortez in just nine seconds with a devastating left hook. It was just the start for the kid from Brownsville who would go on to do much greater things in the ring.


The very next year, in 1982, Tyson KO’d Kelton Brown to win the National Amateur Boxing Crown.


In the 1982 Junior Olympics, Tyson continued his domination with an eight-second KO of Dan Cozad. He then knocked out Winston Bent at the Empire State Games in 1983. Then Tyson faced Henry Tillman, who won both of their encounters by decision. Tillman went on to win gold in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in the heavyweight division.


Mike Tyson's Early Professional Career

D'Amato claimed his prodigy was able to turn pro after failing to make the US Olympic team. At the age of 18, Tyson fought his first professional boxing match, which served as a terrifying warning shot to all other heavyweight fighters.

Tyson TKO'd Hector Mercedes in the first round on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York. Cus D'Amato, Tyson's father figure, died of pneumonia on November 4, 1985. Kevin Rooney, a boxing trainer, became Mike's new mentor. Many later stated that this would prove to have a destabilizing effect on Tyson's later life.

Tyson made his professional debut as an 18-year-old in Albany, New York, on March 6, 1985. He TKO'd Hector Mercedes in the first round. In his first year as a professional, he had 15 fights. Tyson went on to win 26 of his first 28 fights by KO or TKO, with 16 of them coming in the first round. Slowly, the level of the opponents he was facing increased and he was garnering more and more attention from the media and fans.

With his first nationally televised fight against Jesse Ferguson, Tyson truly made his mark on the world stage. The fight's outcome was determined after Tyson hit Ferguson with an uppercut that broke his nose. Ferguson was later disqualified for wrongly clinching and Tyson was declared the winner. He then went on to beat Marvis Frazier in just 30 seconds in his second televised fight, which eventually led him to face off against Trevor Berbick in 1986 for the heavyweight championship.