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I met the heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson at the London Film & Comic Convention held at London's Earls Court in July 2010.
I felt a bit nervous before I met him because of his reputation, but he was quite friendly as he said 'hello' to me and shook my hand for the photo.
But by now Tyson was not the fighter he once was. He lost his IBF, IBO and WBC titles when he was knocked out in the eighth round by Lennox Lewis in 2002.
Mike Tyson vs. Frank Bruno
Tyson Knocks out Michael Spinks
Michael Gerard Tyson was born in New York City in 1966. His mother Lorna Tyson later met Jimmy Kirkpatrick and they had three children - Rodney, Denise and Michael who all retained their mother's name Tyson. After their father walked out,
Lorna moved with her three children to Amboy Street in Brooklyn, one of the roughest places in the whole of the USA. Mike grew into a huge tough lad who as a member of a street gang had the nickname, 'Fairy Boy', because of his lisp.
Aged 9, Mike nearly punched to death the 15 year old leader of a rival gang who stole one of the pigeons that Mike kept as a boy. Mike Tyson became notorious, and feared, as he led criminal elements in Brooklyn. He was arrested at least thirty times.
Out of control, Mike was sent to the Tryon Reform School in upstate New York. It was here that he learnt to box under the gui ex
Young Mike Tyson with Cus D'Amato
Mike Tyson as a boy
guidance of Bobby Stewart, an ex-professional heavyweight boxer. Stewart took Mike to meet boxing manager and trainer Cus D'Amato who, after seeing the 14-year-old hammer Stewart with jabs, hooks & uppercuts, correctly predicted that Tyson would become the "next heavyweight champion of the world". gui
Under D'Amato's supervision, Mike Tyson became the hottest young heavyweight in professional boxing and was soon on the road to the heavyweight crown. Cus D'Amato's
death from pneumonia in 1985 was a blow to Tyson, but he continued to pursue the heavyweight title with promoters Jim Jacobs and Bill Cayton, along with his new trainer, the former boxer Kevin Rooney. Rooney took over D'Amato's Catskill Gym and still trains boxers there today. After he turned
Tyson defeats Trevor Berbick in 1986, and becomes
the youngest WBC heavyweight champion
Aged 20, Tyson became the youngest boxer to win the WBC (World Boxing Council) heavyweight title when he defeated the Ja
Tyson (right) defeats Larry Holmes
Tyson floors Tony Tubbs
Mike Tyson in 1987 with his three
heavyweight title belts
Jamaican heavyweight boxer Trevor Berbick. Tyson added the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles the following year to become the first boxer to hold all three titles at the same time. In 1988, Tyson ha
I was surprised to find that he wasn't as big as I thought he would be!
had three fights in which he knocked out Larry Holmes, Tony Tu
Tubbs and Michael Spinks. 1989 saw him defeat Frank Bruno and Carl Williams, but by 1990, various personal problems were affecting his career. His marriage to the actre
actress Robin Givens ended in divorce after he had been accused of wife-beating, he deliberately crashed his car and
and also smashed up his home. About this time
time his mother also died, and three weeks later, he lost for the first time in his professional career to the American, James 'Buster' Douglas in Tokyo. It was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history and, in this one fight, Tyson lost his WBA, WBC and IBF titles
Tyson is knocked out by Buster Douglas in 1990
Tyson's troubled personal life continued in 1992, when he was found guilty of raping Desiree Washington an 18-year-old beauty queen. He spent eighteen months in prison for this, during which time he studied Islam and read Tolstoy.
After Mike Tyson had won the WBC title by beating Frank Bruno in 1996, and then the WBA title with an easy victory over Bruce Seldon, he was defeated by Evander Holyfield.
Tyson studies Islam in jail
There was more controversy in the ring the following year against the same oppon
Tyson in action against Evander Holyfield
Tyson bites off a piece of Holyfield's
ear during their 1997 fight
'Iron' Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson aged 19
opponent when Tyson was disqualified and banned for biting off a piece
piece of Evander Holyfield's ear during this rematch fight! In 1999, Tyson tried to break South African boxer Francois Botha's arm after knocking him out, and in his following fight, he was disqualified for flooring Orlin Norris after the bell had sounded.
In 1999, Tyson served a further year in prison for assault before defeating Julius Francis in Manchester, Lou Savarese in Glasgow and Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen.
The defeat signalled the end of Tysonís campaign to be the world heavyweight champion again and, after further losses against Englishman
Tyson vs. Lewis poster
Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis
Tyson knocked out by Lennox Lewis
Tyson defeats Lou Savarese
In 2008, he produced the documentary Tyson. Written and directed by James Toback, it is a mixture of original interviews, photographs and archival footage photo
Englishman Danny Williams in 2004 and the Irishman Kevin
Kevin McBride in 2005, Tyson finally quit boxing for good.
Tyson has been interested in keeping pigeons since he was a boy. Years later, he kept more than 4,000 at one of his mansions. He also kept six white tigers, but had to get rid of the
Tyson's last fight vs. Kevin McBride
Tyson knocked down by Danny Williams
which portray the life experiences of Mike Tyson who says of the film, "Itís about how I was really sweet and nice when I started out, then became a monster and lost all my money." It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
them because of complaints from his neighbours!
After his divorce from actress Robin Givens, Tyson married Monica Turner in 1997 but that too ended in divorce in 2003. They had two children Rayna and Amir. Tyson married his third wife Lakiha Spicer in 2009 and they have a daughter Milan. Tyson has other illegitimate children too - Mikey and D'Amato both born in 1990, Miguel born in 2002 and daughter Exodus (b.2005) who was tragically killed by an exercise treadmill accident in 2009.
Tyson loves his pigeons!
With wife No. 1 - Robin Givens
With wife No. 2 - Monica Turner
With wife No. 3 - Lakiha Spicer
turned professional in 1985 Tyson, now known as 'Iron Mike' won his first 19 fights by knockouts, all but seven being in the first round.
Mike Tyson with one of his pigeons
Tyson with one of his white tigers
Tyson made a brief appearance in the Golden Globe award-winning comedy The Hangover (2009) about four friends who travelled to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. It made over $450 million worldwide, and Tyson has admitted he signed on to appear in it because he needed to finance his drug addiction.
Tyson will next star in a series about pigeon racing called Take on Tyson, in which Tyson and his birds take on the best racing-pigeon owners in New York.
Mike Tyson in 2009
Mike Tyson makes a cameo appearance in the award-winning film The Hangover