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Why Mike Tyson cried before matches since he was 15

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mike tyson crying before match
Mike Tyson. Photo/Fox News
  • Boxing legend ‘Baddest Mike’ cuts an image of a ruthless boxer
  • Not many people knew that ‘Iron Mike’ had a soft spot that would make him shed tears
  • He unapologetically unleashed terror on his opponents and felt bad thereafter

Boxing legend ‘Baddest Mike’ cuts an image of a ruthless boxer whose sheer physical bulkiness is intimidating but he says Mike Tyson crying before match was the most humbling thing.

Not many people knew that ‘Iron Mike’ had a soft spot that would make him shed tears but he did anyway. He recently opened up on his soft self during a podcast with HotBoxin Podcast.

Tyson said that the fear of losing a match always made him shed tears and he would always be scared anytime he is walking into a match. It always made him feel bad and guilty but he couldn’t stop it.

“I cried before flights because I was pretty scared, and by being scared, I’m really going to do something bad to this guy that his family is not going to like. Then, I’m going to be really guilty and feel bad at the end,” he said.


Mike Tyson crying before a match was out of the fear of losing but it always made him turn into a bad person on the ring. The aftermath of his aggression always left him feeling bad and guilty. Tyson held the title of undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He ruled boxing for a number of years with his fierce persona which he projected in and out of the ring.

Mike Tyson boxer

Mike Tyson boxer, Photo/USA Today

Tyson is infamous for biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match which is among the most disastrous scenes in boxing history. He did this in the third round of their rematch fight on June 28, 1997. In his defence, he said that this was the only way to stop Holyfield from head-butting him even after a warning from the referee, Mills Lane.

However, the fear of losing this match also sent chills of fear which came out as raw anger and he took it off his opponent in dramatic fashion. Tyson’s bipolar disorder also contributed to his irrational behavior during this match.


Fear with loads of nervousness were a precursor to Mike Tyson crying before match. And it started way before his domineering status as the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He recalls his first time crying before a boxing match was at 15 years. He was then an amateur boxer fighting Kelton Brown and shed tears prior to the amateur match, which he ultimately won through first-round knockout.


It is interesting that he gained the moniker “Baddest Man on the Planet” for his terrifying and vicious fighting style. Now 54, he recently admitted he would be willing to sacrifice himself in the ring. But Tyson’s longtime sparring partner Joe Egan maintains that he always felt the fear of losing before a bout, just like any other person would. And this was the main reason behind Mike Tyson crying before match.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson in action. Photo/ Marca

Retrospectively, Tyson had a difficult life because his single mother passed away when he was only 16 years old. He had 38 arrests by the time he was 13 for various infractions, which landed him in a juvenile prison facility where his boxing prowess was discovered. Cus D’Amato, together with Kevin Rooney and Teddy Atlas, took him in and began training him at this point.

In 1981, when he was 14 years old, Tyson won the national Junior Olympics competition and this set his course in boxing.  His street aggression didn’t stop but it mutated into the boxing ring where he unapologetically unleashed terror on his opponents and felt bad thereafter. But it never stopped him from doing a number on his fellow boxers and in the streets too.


His power within the ropes earned him 50 wins by knockout which paints a picture of how powerful he was.  His hands were simply extraordinary. Anyone who dared cross him was terrified by the speed and power he brought to the ring. He had more power and quickness because of his shoulder pop. Tyson focused on snapping his punches rather than just swinging them, which gave them tremendous power. This, along with the fact that he put a lot of his weight into his punches, set Tyson apart from other heavyweights.

The reality of how lethal he was, was so terrifying that it spurred Mike Tyson crying before match. Now retired, he has slightly softened. But he is a man who did not hold back his tears in the presence of the famous boxer Muhammad Ali.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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