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Why does Mike Tyson have a Che Guevara tattoo?

Mike Tyson has a tattoo of Che Guevera on his ribcage
Mike Tyson has a tattoo of Che Guevera on his ribcage
Modified 26 Mar 2021

Mike Tyson has always had a penchant for tattoos. The former heavyweight champion flaunts six tattoos on his body, with the most popular one being a tribal tattoo inked on the left side of his face.

Tyson, a staunch believer in communist ideology, apparently also has a tattoo of Che Guevara, who was a Marxist revolutionary best known for his role in the Cuban revolution. The portrait of Guevera is printed on the left side of his ribcage.

While Mike Tyson was serving his six-year prison sentence, he reportedly became fascinated with the stories of communist leaders. The legendary boxer was convicted of rape in 1992, however, he was released from prison in 1995. Tyson used to read books about Guevera and other prominent communist figures, which led to him idolizing them.

When asked why he chose to get Guevera's tattoo, Tyson heaped praise on the Argentine revolutionary and referred to him as an 'incredible individual'.

"Che Guevara is an incredible individual. He had so much, but sacrificed it all for the benefit of other people," said Mike Tyson.

What other tattoos do Mike Tyson have?

Apart from Che Guevara, Mike Tyson also has a tattoo of Chinese communist leader, Mao Zedong. The retired boxer boasts Zedong's tattoo on his right arm. In 2006, Tyson visited the memorial of Zedong, and claimed that he felt "insignificant" standing next to his preserved dead body.

Tyson has a tattoo of his ex-wife, Monica Turner, on his left forearm. The 54-year-old had married Turner in 1997, but the couple divorced each other five years later.

On his right forehand, there is a tattoo of a dragon. He also flaunts a tattoo of Arthur Ashe, the first black American to compete in the Davis Cup.


However, Tyson's most noticeable tattoo is his tribal tattoo that he got in 2003, a week before his fight against Clifford Etienne. In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Mike Tyson revealed the story of how he got the tribal tattoo. He said:

"I just thought it was a cool tattoo. I was going to get a bunch of hearts and stuff, and that would have been really stupid. I was going to be the man of hearts, baby. Victor Perez, the tattoo artist said 'I ain’t doing that. I can’t do that'. I waited around and two days later (Victor Perez) called and said 'Mike, I’ve got some tribal stuff'. I said 'woah, put another one over there'. I was like 'this is cool, I like this'. So he did it."
Published 26 Mar 2021, 14:19 IST
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