NO ONE knows better the perils and pitfalls of becoming heavyweight world champion and a global boxing star than Mike Tyson.
There were fewer bigger names in sport than Mike Tyson at his peak. Few fighters since have generated the same kind of excitement, but there have been echoes of a Tyson-esque buzz in the rise of British heavyweight Anthony Joshua.
Joshua, in less than 20 professional fights, has already unified the IBF and WBA world titles and became an international sensation when he halted former division ruler Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in April.
“Joshua has the potential to do a lot of things,” Tyson told the BBC’s excellent boxing podcast. “He’s got the look and throws a lot of hard punches. But there is so much pressure on him. I was in Dubai and there are big posters of him there.”
In fact Tyson had a warning. “The heavyweight championship will drive people crazy, you know that right? It’s like a crown of thorns. Everyone wants to use you for something. It’s like being the President of the United States,” he said. “Joshua can’t get the big head. He has to focus on fighting. When you start focusing on money, girls or whatever it is, it’s going downhill. No religion, nothing, you can do those things when the fight is over. Let’s see if he can handle that stuff.
“It’s his time. I could be wrong, I’m not the gospel of boxing but he impressed me with Klitschko.”