Former professional boxer Mike Tyson celebrates 55 years of life today (June 30). The Cancer man is full of passion and emotion as he displayed in his career from 1985 to 2005. Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He has gone on to create and perform in his own cartoon, explore other business ventures and continue to inspire a new generation of heavyweight champions. Yet, there is still a lot about Tyson’s life that fans may not know.
Let’s get into 10 interesting facts that may surprise Mike Tyson fans:
1. Strange Love
When he was 10 years old, he spent $100 on a flock of pigeons. Tyson has since continued to love the strange birds. He even hosted an Animal Planet show about pigeons, called Taking On Tyson.
2. Overcame A Troubled Past
As a child, he was often a soft target of bullying because of his size. He created a habit of street fighting, which resulted in a lot of criminal activity. By 13, he had been arrested about 38 times.
3. Tyson’s Ranch
Tyson began his marijuana-related venture, “Tyson Ranch,” in California City in 2017. The ranch has 20 acres of farming for professional marijuana growers, an amphitheater, a supply store, campground, and a factory for edibles.
4. Mike’s Inspo
When Tyson was imprisoned in his younger days, boxing legend Muhammad Ali visited Tyson while he was serving time. Ali guided him to pursue a career in boxing and gave him the direction to embrace his boxing dreams.
5. No Sex, Just Boxing
While training to become a champion of the world, a young and dedicated Mike Tyson refrained from sex for 5 years. He believed sex would make him a fragile boxer.
6. His Love For Exotic Animals
Tyson has an unusual taste for exotic pets. He owns 3 royal bengal tigers, which he spends $4000 a month to care for.
7. Leaving The Ring To Produce It
Upon retirement, Tyson started a production company called Iron Mike Productions in 2013. The purpose of the company is to promote boxing and to feature championship fights, followed by musical performances.
8. A Lot Of Love To Give
Mike Tyson has been married 3 times and has had 8 children. In 1988, he married actress Robin Givens, who later divorced him, due to allegations of violence, spousal abuse, and mental instability. In 1997, he married Monica Turner. They share two children, Rayna and Amir, but divorced in 2003. In 2009, he married his longtime girlfriend Lakiha Spicer.
9. Honorary Doctorate
Though Mike Tyson is a high-school dropout, he defeated all the odds and received an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. In 1989 Central State University developed a special academic program for Tyson. The President of the University, Dr. Arthur E. Thomas, explained that this was an attempt to inspire young people who looked up to Mike Tyson to prioritize their lives and their education.
10. Fighting A Gorilla?
Mike Tyson has enjoyed wrestling his fair share of wild animals in his spare time like his pet Bengal tigers. Well, he upped the ante and decided to fight a silverback gorilla. He and his ex-wife Givens managed to get a private tour of a New York Zoo, when he quickly set out to fight a giant male gorilla.