Why Did Mike Tyson Go to Prison?

Why Did Mike Tyson Go to Prison? This article discussed everything you need to know about Mike Tyson.

Why Did Mike Tyson Go to Prison?
Why Did Mike Tyson Go to Prison?

Mike Tyson has been a sensation in the boxing world. Some claim he is even stronger than “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali. While this claim may be left to debate, it can be said without a doubt that Tyson has earned himself a name in the hall of fame of the boxing world, and for good reason too.

Even for those who are not boxing enthusiasts, Tyson isn’t an unknown figure. With his appearance in multiple Hollywood movies like the notorious Hangover, it is near impossible for someone to have never seen him.

Despite his fame, Tyson has been open about his substance use. Tyson made highlights when he admitted he had been on drugs during some of his major fights. He wasn’t exactly sober during his cameo appearance in Hangover I. His adventures don’t end there though, Tyson has also had to serve time in prison.

If you think it was a misadventure that earned him the trip, you might be in for a surprise. So why did Mike Tyson go to Prison? Here’s your answer.

Who is Mike Tyson?

Michael Gerard Tyson is an American former professional boxer, born into a Catholic family in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City on 30th June 1966. He competed from 1985 to 2005, earning such nicknames as "Iron Mike" and "Kid Dynamite" during his early career, and later being called "The Baddest Man on the Planet".

Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, reigning as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

Tyson claimed the win in his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. Tyson became the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title when he won his first belt at 20 years, four months, and 22 days old.


After having lost the WBC title in 1996, Tyson was stripped of the WBA title by Evander Holyfield by an eleventh-round stoppage. The two came back for a rematch in 1997 which ended when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears, one bite notoriously being strong enough to remove a portion of his right ear.

Tyson has been famous for his ferocious and intimidating boxing style as well as his controversial behavior both inside and outside the ring. He has a knockout-to-win percentage of 88%, ranking him 16th on The Ring magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

ESPN's list named him "The Hardest Hitter in Heavyweight History". Sky Sports, a British subscription sports channel, described him as "perhaps the most ferocious fighter to step into a professional ring". He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Early Life of Mike Tyson:

Tyson came from an unconventional family, his mother possibly being a prostitute. His father left the family around the time he was born, leaving his mother to care for the children alone. Tyson has an older brother, Rodney, and a half-brother Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick, who helped integrate Charlotte high school football in 1965. Jimmie later left the family.

Tyson also had an older sister, Denise, who passed away due to a heart attack at age 24, in February 1990. Tyson describes his relationship with his mother as “crushing emotionally and personally.” She died when he was 16.

His early years were spent in a neighborhood where the rate of crime was high and where street fights were a common occurrence. Tyson, being a wild kid, was running around the streets picking fights and getting into trouble. It was through this that he’d learned the art of self-defense and boxing.

Early Arrests and Amateur Career

By the time he was 13, Tyson had been arrested 38 times and petty crimes became an everyday occurrence in his life. His latent boxing talent came to his aid in street fights and would later prove to be a fundamental aspect of his personality, eventually making him a boxing icon.

Tyson's emerging boxing ability was discovered by Bobby Stewart at a juvenile detention center, Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. Stewart found Tyson an outstanding fighter and trained him for some time before introducing him to Cus D'Amato.

Kevin Rooney also played a hand in instructing Tyson, often assisted by Teddy Atlas, although Atlas was dismissed by D'Amato when Tyson was 15. Rooney eventually took over the entire training. After his mother’s passing, Tyson came under the guardianship of D'Amato.

As an amateur, Tyson won gold medals at the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympic Games, beating Joe Cortez and Kelton Brown in 1981 and 1982 respectively. In 1984 Tyson claimed gold at the Nation Golden Gloves held in New York, defeating Jonathan Littles.

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The Greatest Upset in Boxing History

In late 1988, Tyson’s problems outside the ring were beginning to emerge. He was at the peak of his career but his first marriage was heading for divorce, Don King was fighting over his future contract and Bill Cayton and Tyson parted with manager Bill Cayton. He also fired Kevin Rooney, the man many credits for honing Tyson's craft after D'Amato’s death.

By 1990, Tyson had lost his direction, and his personal life was in disarray accompanied by reports of less vigorous training before the Buster Douglas match. In a fight on 11th February 1990, he lost the undisputed championship to Douglas in Tokyo. Just 35 seconds into the tenth round, Douglas knocked Tyson down for the first time in his career.

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This knockout victory by Douglas over the previously undefeated "baddest man on the planet" and arguably the most feared boxer in professional boxing at that time, came to be known as one of the most shocking upsets in the history of modern sports.

Mike Tyson in Prison

Tyson was put under arrest in July 1991 in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson's rape trial at the Marion County superior court lasted from 26th January to 10th February 1992.

Why did Mike Tyson go to Prison?

Tyson was arrested for raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington. Partial ratification of Washington's story came via testimony from Tyson's chauffeur who confirmed Washington's state of shock after the incident.

Further testimony came from the emergency room physician who examined Washington more than 24 hours after the incident and confirmed that her physical condition was consistent with rape. Tyson denied claims, during cross-examination, that he had misled Washington and insisted that she consented to have sex with him.

Tyson was convicted on the charge of rape on 10th February 1992, after the jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours. On 26th March 1992, Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison along with four years of probation in the Indiana Youth Center (now the Plainfield Correctional Facility) in April 1992. He was released on parole in March 1995 after serving less than three years of the sentence.

On 24th September 2007, Tyson was found guilty of possession of cocaine and driving under the influence. He had admitted to being an addict and “having a problem” before this arrest. He was convicted of these charges in November 2007 and spent 24 hours in jail.

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