In the Beginning
Mike Tyson was born June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York. He has an older brother named Rodney, who was born in 1961. He also has an older sister named Denise, who passed away due to a heart attack in 1990. She was only 24 years old. On Mike Tyson’s birth certificate, his biological father is listed as “Purcell Tyson”. Mike Tyson knew another man as his father though who was Jimmy Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was one of the top baseball players in the neighborhood. Kirkpatrick married and had Tyson’s half-brother Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick. Jimmie later helped to integrate football in Charlotte High school in 1965. Later Kirkpatrick decided to leave his family and moved down to Brooklyn. There he met Lorna Mae (Smith) Tyson and soon after Mike Tyson was born. Kirkpatrick was known for hanging out in the streets, gambling, and hanging out at pool halls. Near the time, Mike Tyson was born Kirkpatrick abandoned the family. During his childhood, Tyson had to live in high-crime neighborhoods. In an interview with Details, Tyson got into his first fight with a youth bigger than him. The bigger youth had ripped off the head of one of the pigeons Tyson owned. Tyson was also caught fighting and committing petty crimes. He was ridiculed for having a lisp and high-pitched voice. When he was only 13 years old, Tyson had already been caught and arrested 38 times. Eventually, Mike Tyson landed in the Tyron School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. Tyson’s boxing ability was discovered by Bobby Stewart, who was the juvenile detention center counselor and also a former boxer himself. Stewart trained Tyson and thought him to be a talented fighter. Stewart had trained Tyson for a few months before he introduced him to Cus D’Amato. Tyson dropped out of high school during his senior year. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Central State University in 1989. At the age of 20, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in the world in 1986. He lost the title though when he served three years in prison due to rape charges in 1990. Tyson also bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear off during their rematch in 1997.
Tyson made his professional debut on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York. He faced off against Hector Mercedes, and at only 18 years old knocked Mercedes out. Tyson’s defensive abilities and his ability to knock out opponents in just one round even earned him the nickname “Iron Mike.” Tyson had a record of 22-0 by 1986. He won 21 of the fights by knockout alone. On November 22, 1986, he reached his goal of getting his first-ever title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship. Tyson won the title in the second round by knockout. Tyson went on to defend his title on March 7, 1987, against James Smith. Tyson had the World Boxing Association championship underneath his belt. He also became the first heavyweight who owned all three major boxing belts on August 1st. Tyson also won the International Boxing Federation title from Tony Tucker.
Most Known For
Tyson stepped into the ring once again to go up against British boxer Frank Bruno so he could keep his title for the world heavyweight. Tyson knocked out Bruno during the fifth round. He had to defend his title again on July 21, 1989, against Carl “The Truth” William. Tyson knocked William out in the first round. Tyson’s winning streak continued until it stopped on February 11, 1990. He lost the championship belt to Buster Douglas in Tokyo, Japan. Tyson was the favorite and was able to send Douglas to the mat during the eighth round. Douglas came back strong in the tenth round and knocked Tyson out for the first time in the boxer’s career. Tyson jumped back by knocking out Henry Tillman, an Olympic gold medalist, later that same year. He also defeated Alex Stewart in their first round with a knockout. Tyson won another fight against Peter McNeeley on August 19, 1995, by knocking him out with just 89 seconds into the fight. Tyson won another match against Buster Mathis Jr. in 1995 by knockout during the third round. Tyson decided to go against Evander Holyfield. The two faced off on November 9, 1996, for the heavyweight title. Unfortunately, Tyson lost against Holyfield in the 11th round by knockout. Holyfield then became the second person after Tyson to win the heavyweight championship belt three times. Tyson trained for their rematch on June 28, 1997. Nearly 2 million households watched the fight on pay-per-view. The boxers received the record for purses for the match. This made them the highest-paid professional boxers in history all the way until 2007. The first and second rounds of the match were crowd-pleasers. However, in the third round Tyson bit both of Holyfield’s ears. Tyson was then disqualified from the match by the judges. Tyson didn’t have another highly publicized fight until 2002 against the IBO, WBC, and IBC champion Lennox Lewis. Tyson was fighting for the heavyweight championship once more. Tyson ended up losing the fight by knockout. After the defeat, there was a decline in Tyson’s career. He lost several more fights in 2003 and 2005. Afterward, he announced his retirement from the ring.
Where Is He Now?
Tyson came back to the spotlight in 2009 when he made a cameo in the comedy The Hangover. He married a third time that same year to Lakisha “Kiki” Spicer. The two have children, a son Morocco and a daughter named Milan. The success of his appearance in The Hangover helped to open a door to acting opportunities for him. He has made guest appearances in other television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Entourage, and How I Met Your Mother. Tyson even made a Broadway debut in 2012 with his one-man show Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth. Tyson admits he had been having issues with substance abuse the following year. Tyson revealed in an interview with Today in August 2013 that: “When I start drinking, and I relapse, I think of dying. When I'm in a real dark mood, I think of dying. And I don't want to be around anymore. I won't survive unless I get help.” Tyson had the revelation during his time reinventing himself as a boxing promoter. Prior to the interview, Tyson also told Laura he had only been sober for 12 days. Tyson had an animated feature come out called Mike Tyson Mysteries in October 2014. Image credit: istockphoto.com