He’s one of the most successful and infamous boxers in the history of the sport, but where did Mike Tyson grow up?
Mike Tyson grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He was born in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, moving to Brownsville when he was ten years old.
Read on to learn more about the fascinating earlier years of Mike Tyson’s life.
Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn in 1996. At the time, the borough was turbulent and struggling. It displayed traces of the racial violence and segregation that was rampant throughout the country at the time.
There were regular bouts of arson, or incidents of shootings, stabbings and robberies. The life of crime was an easy one for so many, including Mike Tyson himself.
In an article from 2019, one former resident of the borough goes into great detail about his early life there. He grew up in Brooklyn at the exact same time as Tyson. In this article, he explains about school: “You couldn’t go to the bathroom during class for fear of getting robbed or knifed.”
He also explained, “I’ve had a gun pointed at my face for no apparent reason.” These are clear-cut examples of the difficulties people living in Brooklyn experienced through the sixties and seventies.
Mike Tyson was no stranger to this lifestyle. He was reportedly a member of various violent street gangs from a very young age. He would fight regularly, as well as steal and mug people. By the age of thirteen, he had been arrested almost forty times.
At the age of two, his father abandoned the family. Tragically, his mother would pass away when Mike was just sixteen. Following that, his sister would also pass, aged twenty-four, in 1991. In 2013, Mike explained that he was abused as a child at just seven years old. This turbulence likely impacted Tyson further, but he explained that boxing essentially saved him.
Fighting For Good
Tyson has gone on record numerous times explaining that boxing turned his life around. When he was sent to an upstate school in New York and discovered boxing, his life changed for good. His skill and natural talent was recognized in earnest, and he began training to fulfil his destiny.
In an article in 2019, he stated: “I was the same way as these kids, I used to be in gangs, I used to have guns, I used to shoot at people, I used to be shot at and all that stuff.” He was describing how the youth on the streets should turn to something like boxing, rather than fall in with petty crime.
Mike Tyson was a prodigy even as a youth himself. There’s a video that surfaced in 2016 on YouTube, showing a very young Mike Tyson. At just sixteen years of age, he’s already an impressive figure. He’s broad, in incredible shape, and engaged in amateur boxing.
He became the youngest heavyweight champion in world history at just twenty years of age. He knocked out his competitors after a considerable bout, and made history. After the fight, Tyson was quoted as saying, “I’m the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history, and I’m going to be the oldest.”
Tyson retained the title for a further nine fights. He was beaten in 1990 by fellow boxer Buster Douglas, an event that reportedly impacted Tyson hard. After that loss, his life began to spiral out of control.
He served three years in prison for a rape charge. When he came back to boxing, he was disqualified in an infamous bout against Evander Holyfield. In this fight, he bit off part of Evander’s ear. He went through two divorces and a string of allegations and court cases.
Mike Tyson turned it all around, however. He retired officially in 2005, and began focusing on his private life, philanthropy and other ventures.