The, Background and Growing Up of 'Iron" Mike Tyson
'Iron' Mike Tyson is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He competed professionally from 1985 to 2005. Let us dive into the origins of the former Heavyweight champion.
Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1966. Even though his biological father's name is listed as 'Purcell Tyson', Mike never really met him. Mike Tyson identified his father as a person named Jimmy Kirkpatrick. However, Kirkpatrick, too, left Tyson's mother before he turned 2.
Mike Tyson's mother brought him up by herself, along with his two siblings, Rodney and Denise. The young Tyson grew up in an area infested with crime and drugs. As Mike Tyson recalled in an episode of his podcast, 'Hotboxin' With Mike Tyson', his life changed drastically when his family moved into Brownsville.
Mike Tyson describes his neighborhood before moving into Brownsville as decent. The moment he moved into Brownsville, he came face-to-face with a whole new reality of the world. As Mike Tyson describes it,
"Brownsville was, really aggressive and black. Whatever can be done to a human being, is being done."
Mike Tyson was never academically strong. While all of his family members were "phenomenal" with their literacy, Mike was inspired by other things around him. He was often bullied for his lisp and high-pitched voice. Thus, when he encountered a group of boys that everyone else steered clear from, he did all he could to become a part of that group.
Soon, Mike Tyson got into robbery and petty crimes. He got involved in the lifestyle so much that he had been arrested 38 times. And this was when he was only 13-years-old. Mike Tyson's peculiar behavior continued to be controversial well into his pro boxing career.
Mike Tyson landed at the Tyron School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. It was there that he met his first coach, Bobby Stewart. Stewart recognized Tyson's immense talent and honed his skills. And it was through Stewart that Mike Tyson met his mentor and coach, Cus D'Amato. After Tyson's mother passed away, Cus D'Amato became his legal guardian. Although Mike Tyson kept landing himself in trouble on-and-off, his boxing abilities started attracting attention.
He began his professional career in 1985 as an 18-year-old. Out of his 28 first fights, 26 were won via KO/TKO, and 16 of them were first-round wins.
Unfortunately, Mike Tyson's mentor and coach, Cus D'Amato passed away in November 1985. This loss left a lasting impact on Tyson's life. He went on to fave Trevor Berbrick in his first title fight in November 1986. Mike Tyson won the WBC title via TKO in the second round itself and became the youngest heavyweight champion of all time. His age at that moment was 20 years and 4 months.