Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American former professional boxer who competed in boxing from 1985 to 2005. Nicknamed “Iron Mike” and “Kid Dynamite” in his early career, and later known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet”, Tyson is considered one of the best heavyweights of all time. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990 and was the first heavyweight boxer to hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles simultaneously, as well as the only heavyweight to successively unify them. Claiming his first belt at 20 years, four months, and 22 days old, Tyson holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title.
Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He won the WBC title in 1986 after stopping Trevor Berbick in the second round, and added the WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony Tucker in 1987. The following year, Tyson became the lineal champion when he knocked out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds of the first round. He successfully defended his titles nine times, which included victories over Larry Holmes and Frank Bruno. In 1990, Tyson lost the titles to underdog Buster Douglas, who knocked him out in the tenth round. Attempting to regain the titles, Tyson defeated Donovan Ruddock twice in 1991, but pulled out of a fight with then-undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield (who had defeated Douglas later in 1990) due to a rib injury.
In 1992, Tyson was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, although he was released on parole after three years. While in prison, he converted to Islam and adopted the Muslim name Malik Abdul Aziz. After his release in 1995, he engaged in a series of comeback fights. He won the WBC and WBA titles in 1996, after stopping Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon. With his defeat of Bruno, Tyson joined Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Tim Witherspoon, Evander Holyfield, and George Foreman as the only men in boxing history to have regained a heavyweight championship after losing it. After being stripped of the WBC title in the same year, Tyson lost the WBA title to Evander Holyfield by an eleventh round stoppage. Their 1997 rematch ended when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ears.
In 2002, Tyson fought for the world heavyweight title again at the age of 35, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis. Tyson retired from professional boxing in 2006, after being knocked out in consecutive matches against journeymen Danny Williams and Kevin McBride. Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003, despite having received over $30 million for several of his fights and $300 million during his career. At the time the media reported that he had approximately $23 million in debt.
Tyson was known for his ferocious and intimidating boxing style as well as his controversial behavior inside and outside the ring. He holds the third longest unified championship reign in heavyweight history at eight consecutive defenses. Tyson currently ranks No. 14 in BoxRec‘s ranking of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history. He was ranked No. 16 on The Ring‘s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time, and No. 1 in the ESPN.com list of “The Hardest Hitters in Heavyweight History”. Sky Sports described him as “perhaps the most ferocious fighter to step into a professional ring”. He has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.