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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson, heavyweight boxer
Mike Tyson's rollercoaster career continues to make the headlines and there seems little chance of a fairytale ending.

The youngest-ever heavyweight champion at just 20, Tyson's plethora of fistic skills marked him out as a prodigious talent from the moment he made his professional debut.

He combined freakishly quick hands with speed of foot, a combination which was too much for everyone he fought during the latter part of the 1980s.

Tyson's career and life would unravel in sensational style during the last decade of the 20th century, but the seeds of his downfall were planted during an unforgiving childhood.

After being tormented for his lack of height and effeminate voice, Tyson turned to a life of petty crime which saw him in and out of young offenders institutes until he caught the eye of Cus D'Amato.

TYSON FACT FILE
Born: 30/06/1966
Turned pro: 06/03/1985
Division: Heavyweight
Record: 50-4-0 (1 no contest)
Alias: Iron Mike
Height: 5ft 11in
Reach: 71in
Trainer: Freddie Roach
Promoter: Shelly Finkel

The veteran trainer/manager, who shaped the career of former champion Floyd Patterson, taught Tyson about boxing and life.

Tyson turned professional in 1985 - within two years he was a champion, but D'Amato died shortly before the dream was realised.

By 1990, Tyson had unified the world heavyweight titles, married and divorced actress Robin Givens and allied himself with promoter Don King, thereby distancing himself from the group of people that helped make him champion in the first place.

Those changes indicated the personal turmoil he was suffering and on 11 February 1990, the unthinkable happened - he was defeated by James 'Buster' Douglas in 10 rounds in front of a stunned crowd in Tokyo, Japan.

Tyson regrouped and following four comeback fights of varying quality, he was in position to fight new champion Evander Holyfield.

But his personal life unravelled in a most public way, as he was convicted of raping a young beauty contestant named Desiree Washington in Indianapolis.

Tyson was jailed in February 1992 and although he was given a 10-year sentence, he was released in the summer of 1995.

Upon release, Tyson turned his attentions to a ring-return and after just two fights, he was matched against Frank Bruno for the WBC title.

Tyson had beaten Bruno in 1989 and seven years after the first fight, he had fewer problems, winning in three rounds.

Eight months later, in what was supposed to be an easy night's work, the new champion was dethroned by Holyfield and as staggering as the result was, it was merely a prologue to what took place in the rematch.

KEY FIGHTS
22/11/1986: Beats Trevor Berbick to become youngest heavyweight champion ever
11/2/1990: Knocked out by James 'Buster' Douglas to lose undisputed heavyweight title
16/3/1996:Beats Frank Bruno to become world champion again
9/11/1996:Stopped by Evander Holyfield for second defeat
8/6/2002:Stopped in eight rounds by Lennox Lewis

The second fight, in June 1997, saw Tyson disqualified for biting his opponent's ear twice - the loser was later fined and suspended for his actions.

Since then, there has been further time in jail, more controversy and a split with King.

Many hoped that Tyson would finally be able to silence his critics, but his display against Lennox Lewis showed he was a washed-up fighter.

Sadly, with financial problems now surrounding him, there is every chance that Tyson will fight on.

That would be sad for boxing and dangerous for him because one of the most fearsome fighters in history no longer packs a punch.


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