Michael Gerard Tyson, better known to fans as Mike Tyson, turned 57 on June 30. In a career that saw him rise to fame due to his exploits in the ring, he broke a number of records that still stand to this day. He remains a popular public figure due to appearances in films and TV shows, as well as a variety of business ventures. Big Fight Weekend takes a look back on the records Tyson broke during his career
Boxing’s youngest heavyweight champion
At the age of 20 years, four months, and 23 days, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history. On November 22, 1986, Tyson won the WBC title by knocking out Trevor Berbick in two rounds. With the win, he broke a record that had stood for nearly 30 years. Floyd Patterson was roughly a month shy of turning 22 when he became champion. Tyson went on to make nine defenses of the WBC belt (and picked a few more titles up along the way) before his upset loss to James “Buster” Douglas.
First to simultaneously hold the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles
Following his win over Berbick, Tyson joined the Heavyweight World Series. These were a sequence of professional boxing matches between 1986 and 1987 that helped crown an undisputed heavyweight champion. In his first fight of the series, Tyson added the WBA belt with a unanimous decision victory over James Smith. Following a single defense of his WBA and WBC titles against Pinklon Thomas, Tyson faced Tony Tucker for undisputed status at heavyweight. At the age of 21 years and 32 days, Tyson became undisputed by defeating Tucker via unanimous decision. The win made him the first to ever hold the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles simultaneously.
Many of Tyson’s fights were massive commercial successes. In 1995, he returned to the ring following a three-year incarceration for rape. On August 19 of that year, he faced Peter McNeeley in what was at the time the best selling pay-per-view (PPV) in history with roughly 1.55 million buys. Just over a year later Tyson’s first fight with Evander Holyfield broke that record with 1.59 million buys. In 2002, that record was broken again as his bout with Lennox Lewis sold 1.95 million PPVs.
In his professional boxing career, Tyson enthralled many with his performances. Additionally, he broke several records, some that still stand to this day. For those who witnessed him during his peak, he is a fighter that they will not forget anytime soon. Not many are able to hold the public’s attention in the way Tyson did. It is safe to say that for as long boxing exists, there will always be someone talking about “Iron Mike.”