Mike Tyson career’s major milestones


Mike Tyson wasted no time in making his mark as one of the greatest heavyweights in boxing history. He made his professional fighting debut in 1985 and proceeded to win his first 19 bouts by knockout, with 12 of those bouts not making it out of the first round. In 1986, he became the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight world title — a record that still stands.

Even when things were not going his way, Tyson made history — such as when, in 1990, he was defeated by James “Buster” Douglas in the biggest upset ever in boxing.

Here are the major milestones in Tyson’s storied career:

June 27, 1981: Wins his first boxing championship, as a 15-year-old amateur, stopping heavyweight Joe Cortez in just 8 seconds to capture a gold medal at the Junior Olympics. He will win gold in 1982 as well.

April 21, 1984: Wins gold (91 kilograms) at the National Golden Gloves, beating Jonathan Littles.

March 6, 1985: Makes his professional debut at age 18, knocking out Hector Mercedes at 1:47 of Round 1 at Plaza Convention center in Albany, New York.

Nov. 22, 1986: Knocks out WBC champion Trevor Berbick in the second round to run his record to 28-0 and become the youngest champ in heavyweight history, at the age of 20 years, 145 days.

March 7, 1987: One fight later, adds the WBA title with a unanimous decision win over James “Bonecrusher” Smith.

Aug. 1, 1987: Retains the WBA and WBC titles and adds the IBF belt by winning a unanimous decision over Tony Tucker. This makes him the first heavyweight to own all three major belts.

Oct. 18, 1987: Nintendo releases Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! in North America. The boxing arcade game will sell more than 2 million cookies by the end of 1988, making it one of the most popular games of that time.

Jan. 22, 1988: Knocks out legendary former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in the fourth round. Lured out of retirement at age 38 by a $2.8 million purse, Holmes suffers the only KO defeat of what at the time was a 51-fight career. Holmes retires again after the loss but later will come back for two dozen more fights before quitting for good in 2002.

June 27, 1988: Knocks out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds in the richest fight in boxing history (at the time). Although Tyson came in with all of the belts, Ring magazine and others considered Spinks the lineal champ. After the KO, Spinks never fought again.

Feb. 11, 1990: Suffers the first loss of his career, a 10th-round TKO at the hands of 42-1 betting underdog James “Buster” Douglas. Tyson’s career and life had fallen into disarray following the Spinks fight. He had fired his longtime trainer, and his preparation for Douglas was said to be lacking.

Feb. 10, 1992: Convicted of rape in Indianapolis, the charge stemming from Tyson’s appearance at the Miss Black America pageant, where he met 18-year-old contestant Desiree Washington. Tyson will spend the next three years in prison.

Aug. 19, 1995: In his first boxing match after being released from prison, Tyson wins in the first round when Peter McNeeley is disqualified after his manager enters the ring while McNeeley is being battered.

March 16, 1996: Regains the WBC title with a third-round TKO of Frank Bruno.

Sept. 7, 1996: Adds the WBA title by knocking out Bruce Seldon in Round 1.

Nov. 9, 1996: Loses the WBA title to out-of-retirement Evander Holyfield by 11th-round TKO.

June 28, 1997: Loses again to Holyfield, this time by third-round DQ after he bites Holyfield on both ears. The first bite draws a 2-point deduction, and the second ends the bout. The Nevada State Athletic Commision withholds a portion of Tyson’s purse and later rescinds his boxing license, which later will be restored.

March 29, 1998: During his hiatus from boxing, Tyson appears at Wrestlemania XIV as an “enforcer” for the main event between Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Tyson later reveals that he is paid $3 million for the appearance.

Jan. 16, 1999: Returning to boxing, Tyson knocks out Francois Botha in the first round.

Feb. 5, 1999: Sentenced to prison again, this time after being convicted for assaulting two motorists after a traffic accident. Tyson serves nine months.

Oct. 20, 2000: In his fourth bout following his release from prison, Tyson knocks out Andrew Golota in the third round. The result later is changed to a no contest after Tyson fails a postfight drug test for marijuana.

June 8, 2002: In the final championship fight of his career, Tyson challenges Lennox Lewis for the WBC, IBF, IBO and lineal titles and loses by eighth-round knockout. The bout is held in Memphis, Tennessee, after the Nevada commission and other states decline to grant Tyson a license. But the event attracts 1.95 million PPV buys, a record since eclipsed by four Floyd Mayweather fights.

Feb. 22, 2003: In the final victory of his career, Tyson knocks out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds.

May 29, 2003: Files for bankruptcy amid media reports that, after having earned $300 million during his career, Tyson was $23 million in debt.

June 11, 2005: Quits on his stool before the seventh round to lose to Kevin McBride in the final bout of his career.

Oct. 20, 2006: Launching what he calls Mike Tyson’s World Tour to pay off debts, Tyson engages in a four-round exhibition against Corey Sanders in Youngstown, Ohio. Because the event is not a fan draw, the rest of the tour is canceled.

Nov. 28, 2020: Tyson has an exhibition bout against fellow retired former champion Roy Jones Jr., and after eight rounds it is declared a draw.

March 7, 2024: It was announced that Mike Tyson would return to the ring for a boxing match against Paul on July 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys. The fight will be streamed on Netflix.

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