From Boy to Warrior: Mike Tyson’s Unforgettable Encounter with a Full-Grown Man in the Amateur Ranks


Mike Tyson has revealed that his first ever defeat in the boxing ring came during an amateur fight when he was just 16 and taking on a 25-year-old man.

After being discovered in a juvenile detention centre as a mere child, ‘Iron Mike’ was sent to train with Cus D’Amato.

The youngster spent a few months beginning to learn his craft before having his first real experience in the ring at age 13.

It took three years before he suffered his first defeat.

Tyson recalled the story on his Hotboxin’ Podcast: “I lost my first amateur fight when I was around 16 years old.


“I fought a guy [who was] 25.

“It was a close fight, I fought real hard.

“The guy was smart, he was a little bit more experienced than I was.

“But that sort of helped me learn a lot. I’m so happy I had that, or else I would’ve learned later in life.

“That was my first loss in the amateurs. It was in Boston, he was a local boy. I’ll never forget it.”

Tyson’s assistant coach at the time, Teddy Atlas, previously told the story of ‘Iron Mike’s’ first fight at age 13.

Atlas explained on his ‘THE FIGHT’ podcast: “I take him down the Bronx smokers when the time came for him to finally be ready to fight.

“When I finally thought he was ready to fight I’ve gotta pick the opponent.

“By this time he was probably up to 195lbs/200lbs, he was 13 years old I think. How am I gonna find a heavyweight [his age who will fight him]?

“I had to put him in with a 17-year-old. Everybody would lie and try to get an edge in these places.

“Nelson said, ‘Okay Teddy, put down his age.’

“So I put down 13 and he’s just come and said, ‘Teddy, come on, now you’re going too far.’

“I said, ‘Okay, you want me to make you happy, I’ll put down that he’s 18.'”

Atlas continued: “So I put him in this ‘exhibition’, it was called an exhibition, bigger gloves, bigger headgear.


“We agreed, ‘Okay, we’re gonna box and we’re not trying to kill each other.’

“But I knew I had to look out for Mike. I knew this other guy was older, I knew this other guy would not keep his word.

“So I just said, ‘Mike, be alert, see what he does.’

“The other guy’s looking to knock him out. So, within a minute, Mike made him miss and it’s over. He knocks this 17-year-old kid out…

“Bang, bang, bang, hitting him with combinations, three-punch combinations.

“All of a sudden he pins him on the ropes. He hurts the guy, the guy goes against the ropes.

“Then he comes in, bang, he hits him with a left hook. The guy’s head goes like this [twists backwards], his body goes like this [limp] and he falls outside the ring.

“I mean, you talk about Hollywood. His mouthpiece goes flying, probably about 20 feet back and winds up in somebody’s lap.

“The legend of Mike Tyson was starting.

“But there was a problem right away, because now his trainer jumped in the ring to go after Mike. I went immediately after him.

“I was his father, big brother, whatever you wanna call it. Even though Cus D’Amato is the patriach of the whole thing, I was the guy there with him.

“I jump in the ring and go right after the trainer and we’ve got each other by the throat.

“He’s going right after Mike so I go right after him and I intercede, we got each other and I tell him, ‘I’ll freaking break your jaw.’

“I push him off and he backs up. Mike says, ‘What’s gonna happen?’

“He was still a kid. I said, ‘Nothing. Nothing’s gonna happen to you.'”


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