Mike Tyson boxing record: World title reign, controversy and Jake Paul fight

Matthew Legros
Mike Tyson at an event.

Mike Tyson’s ferocity made him the most feared boxer of his era and has allowed him to continue competing at 57-years-old. Here’s Tyson’s boxing record and a list of his most popular fights as he gets ready to fight Jake Paul on July 20.

Tyson fought from 1985 until 2005. A three-year prison sentence from 1992-1995 interrupted his boxing career at the peak of his prime. Despite this, the New York native competed in 56 bouts, winning 50 fights and losing six times.

The Cus D’Amato protégé came out of retirement and beat Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition in 2020. He is now out to prove he can defeat Paul, who is 30 years younger than him. Here’s everything you need to know about “Iron” Mike Tyson’s boxing record as anticipation builds for his next bout.


Jesse Ferguson, 1986

Tyson faced his first big test against future heavyweight contender Jesse Ferguson. Mike hadn’t seen past the third round in 16 of his previous 17 fights.

Tyson viciously attacked Ferguson’s body and knocked him down with a right uppercut in round two. “Kid Dynamite” proved to be too much for the ascending heavyweight and forced his corner to throw in the towel in round six.

James Tillis, 1986

Iron Mike looked like he had prior beef with James Tillis when they met on May 3, 1986. He threw punches after the bell in several early rounds. Tyson combatted Tillis’ light feet and quick jab with his signature “peekaboo” approach and triumphed in his first fight that went the distance.

Jose Ribalta, 1986

Tyson was dwarfed by 6-foot-6 heavyweight Jose Ribalta but proved to be the more intimidating specimen on fight night.

Iron Mike nullified the eight-inch height difference by relentlessly attacking Ribalta upstairs. The Cuban fighter became another knockout casualty in Tyson’s path toward title contention.

Trevor Berbick, 1986

The 1984 Golden Gloves winner became the youngest heavyweight champion of all-time when he defeated Trevor Berbick for the WBC title on November, 22, 1986 at 20 years, four months and 23 days old.

It took Tyson 27 fights to get his first crack at a world heavyweight title, but he made Berbick look silly as he kept the veteran on the defensive for most of the bout. He left Berbick stumbling with a right-left hook combination that scored him a TKO in round two.

Tony Tucker, 1987

Tony Tucker posed a threat to Tyson in his quest to unify the division. Tucker held the IBF heavyweight title at the time they met on August 1, 1987.

He could not defend his belt, nor could he best Tyson’s defense. Tyson used remarkable head movement and a low stance to dodge Tucker’s jabs and free himself up for timely counters. The bout went the distance, but Iron Mike took home the win.

Larry Holmes, 1988

The hot-tempered Tyson revered Muhammad Ali growing up. After watching boxing legend Larry Holmes batter an aging Ali in 1980, a 14-year-old Tyson vowed that one day he’d pay Holmes back.

Once he got the chance in 1988, Ali whispered in his ear before the opening bell, “get him for me.” The rest was history. A headhunting Tyson unloaded on the “Easton Assassin” with two knockdowns in round four before a barrage put him away for good in round five.

Michael Spinks, 1988

91 seconds. That’s all it took for Tyson to knock out Michael Spinks and become lineal heavyweight champion.

As Spinks’ manager Butch Lewis later revealed, the then-undefeated Spinks was afraid in the locker room before the fight. Meanwhile, he witnessed Tyson “punching holes” in his locker room wall before giving boxing its most iconic ring walk ever. That intimidation factor carried over into the fight, and afterward, Spinks retired from the sport.

Buster Douglas, 1990

Everybody loves a good underdog upset story in sports, right? The reigning lineal champion was on top of the world when Buster Douglas showed up next on his schedule on February 11, 1990.

Instead of the fight being another day at the office for Tyson, Douglas stood his ground and made Tyson uncomfortable with his reach advantage. Douglas almost got counted out after getting knocked down in the eighth round but returned the favor to Iron Mike with an uppercut followed by a 1-2-3 punch combination KO seen around the world.

Tyson tasted the canvas for the first time in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Douglas dedicated the win to his mother who died days before the fight while Tyson and Don King protested the outcome over the long count on Douglas’ knockdown.

Evander Holyfield 1, 1996

Fresh out of prison, Tyson conquered the heavyweight division in 1996, winning the WBC and WBA titles in his third and fourth fights back. Evander Holyfield was next on his hit list that year.

“The Real Deal” neutralized Tyson’s speed and power with frequent clinches and upward explosion, angering Tyson and throwing him off his game.

Tyson won four rounds but Holyfield scored two knockdowns and was ahead entering round 11. He put his foot on the gas in that round and scored a TKO, handing Tyson the second loss of his career.

Evander Holyfield 2, 1997

Tyson vs Holyfield 2 became the most infamous fight in boxing history, but not because of a memorable punch. Holyfield employed similar tactics from their first fight. Tyson showed similar frustration as a result.

This time, Holyfield headbutted Tyson on multiple occasions when in close. At his boiling point, Tyson spit out his mouthpiece when clinched in the third round and shockingly bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear.

Lennox Lewis, 2002

By the time Tyson fought Lennox Lewis in 2002, he was over the hump. Albeit, there was still much hype around the fight, especially with Tyson’s striking sound bites in their press conferences.

In the actual fight, it was Lewis who did most of the striking. He landed 193 punches as opposed to 49 from Tyson. This marked the end for Tyson as a title-worthy fighter.

Roy Jones Jr., 2020

Tyson returned to the boxing ring in 2020 to take on Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition. The former pound-for-pound king of boxing engaged in entertaining trash talk with Tyson leading up to the fight. Tyson’s training videos also went viral, showing off his otherworldly power at 54-years-old.

“The Baddest Man on the Planet” delivered on fight night by stalking a mobile Jones Jr. and unleashing thunderous body shots that took their toll over the course of the bout. He won by way of split decision.

Jake Paul, 2024

Shockwaves were sent around the world when Jake Paul’s next fight was announced to be none other than Tyson.

Despite their 30-year age gap, the fight has captured the imagination and will represent Netflix’s first foray into live boxing.

jake paul vs mike tyson

Paul’s crossover from YouTube star to boxer has seen him become one of the biggest draws in boxing, although his decision to fight a 57-year-old Tyson has drawn some ire from fans, experts and fighters.

Nonetheless, everybody will be tuning in to see if Tyson can still hurt the younger fighter with his freakish power or whether it will prove to be a step too far for the boxing legend, in what has been confirmed to be a professional fight.

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