Tyson Timeline: ‘Iron Mike’ Through the Years

Before he was the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’, Mike Tyson was a boyhood prodigy. 

From a hard-knock Brooklyn upbringing to boxing superstardom, the historic career of ‘Iron Mike’ transcended sport on a global level to leave a lasting legacy. 

From his professional debut to making heavyweight history and continuing to fight into his later years, Tyson has enjoyed many milestones in his iconic career. 

Look back on his greatest ever moments, knockouts and accomplishments with BOXRAW's full Mike Tyson career timeline. 

March 6, 1985
Professional Debut Knockout

After winning back-to-back Junior Olympics Gold medals from just 15 years old, Tyson would burst onto the professional scene four years later. 

A teenage sensation, he started off his life as a pro under the tutelage of trainer and father-figure, Cus D’Amato, with a first-round knockout in New York. The first of many. 

November 22, 1986
Youngest World Heavyweight Champion

In only his second year as a pro, Tyson had impressively rallied to a flawless record of 27-0 and had quickly caught the attention of the boxing landscape with his quick-fire knockouts and vicious ring style. 

Despite the death of his mentor early on in his career, Tyson achieved what D’Amato believed he would and became the youngest heavyweight world champion in history by knocking out Trevor Berbick. 

At just 20 years and 145 days old, Tyson’s incredible record still stands today and looks unlikely to be broken any time soon. 

August 1, 1987
Unifying Heavyweight Division

In an era when there were now multiple world titles in the divisions, Tyson began collecting them in savage style. 

After overcoming James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith, he then got the better of Tony Tucker as well to become the first heavyweight to win all three major belts. 

January 22, 1988
Destroying Spinks For 'Lineal' Status

In what was the richest fight in history at that time, Tyson demolished Michael Spinks in just 91 seconds to retain his crown. 

Tyson had entered the ring with all the titles in his possession but Spinks was still regarded as the ‘lineal’ champion by Ring Magazine. 

It took less than two minutes for Tyson to prove exactly who the real top dog was, though. Spinks would never fight again after his one-round destruction. 

August 19, 1995
Stopping McNeeley On Ring Return

Tyson’s life and career fell into disarray in the early 1990s following the win over Spinks, as he suffered his first career defeat in the biggest upset in history to Buster Douglas then was later jailed for three years. 

On his return fight after serving his time, Tyson battered an overmatched Peter McNeeley, who was quickly disqualified in the first round as his coach entered the ring during the beatdown. 

March 16, 1996
Reclaiming The Heavyweight Throne

Tyson would regain his heavyweight crown the following year when he dispatched travelling British contender, Frank Bruno, inside just three rounds in Las Vegas. 

A decade on from first becoming world champion as a rampantly rising star, Tyson once again had the gold around his waist, now as a controversial cultural icon. 

February 22, 2003
Final Career Victory

Following years of further setbacks and troubles, Tyson would earn the final victory of his historic career in 2003. 

In Tennessee, on the back of the defeat to Lennox Lewis, a now 36-year-old Tyson easily took out Clifford Etienne in only 49 seconds. 

November 28, 2020
Returning For Jones Jr Exhibition

In a clash of legends, Tyson shocked the world as he returned to the ring to face Roy Jones Jr - 15 years after his last professional fight. 

Concerns were raised upon the exhibition’s announcement between two all-time greats, but it proved to be a Box Office hit during ‘lockdown’ and showcased Tyson’s audience pulling power even at 54 years old. 

The bout was officially declared a draw after eight rounds in Los Angeles and sold over 1.6 million pay-per-view buys, while generating over $80 million in revenue. 

March 7, 2024
Shock Paul Fight Announcement

Similar to the response to his exhibition against Jones Jr, Tyson was met with a further backlash when it was announced that he would return again against YouTuber Jake Paul. 

The controversial match-up was first scheduled for July 20th but has since been delayed until later in 2024.

Despite closing in on 60 years of age, Tyson has continued to prove he’s still one of the most prominent figures in boxing and still possesses that competitive desire that helped him leave an unforgettable heavyweight legacy.



Header image: Ring Magazine via Getty Images