Fitness | Technique | Dec 30 2019

Forging ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson

As feared as he was dangerous, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson tore through the heavyweight division like a tornado in the 1980s. Fighting Fit spoke exclusively to the man himself and his former trainer Teddy Atlas
Mike Tyson
Action Images/Chris Dean


I was so raw, just gutter intelligence. Then I met this man Cus [D’Amato] and he informed me, he taught me how to read, how to write, how to sign my name. He prepared me for the world I would enter. Cus prepared me for most of my life. He said, ‘Acting is boxing’ and ‘life is acting’.

Some of it is natural aptitude but great punching has to do with speed and leverage. Speed kills and normally the punches that knock a guy out and disable him are the punches he doesn’t see. Cus said I was naturally fast but right before I met Cus there was a gentleman named Bobby Stewart – a protégé of Cus – who taught me to punch and box. And Cus thought a great deal of me and all due respect, when he first saw me – I must have been 13, 14 – he said, “We’re going to put you in the local tournaments, the regional tournaments, then the nationals, then the box-offs, then you’re going to go to the Olympics, you’re going to win the Olympics, be the heavyweight champion, you’re going to have a million dollars before your first pro fight.”


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