History | Aug 01 2019

On This Day: Mike Tyson unifies the heavyweight title with tough decision win over spirited Tony Tucker

Matt Christie reflects on the Mike Tyson vs Tony Tucker August 1 1987 showdown, for all the heavyweight marbles
mike tyson
Tyson was past his destructive peak when he fought McBride Action Images/Sporting Pictures

1. THE world heavyweight title had been fractured since 1978, when Leon Spinks was stripped of his WBC title for granting Muhammad Ali a rematch. Although Michael Spinks was regarded as the ‘linear’ champion, this August 1 showdown between WBC and WBA boss Mike Tyson, and IBF leader Tony Tucker, was the culmination of HBO’s efforts to clean up the mess in the banner division.

2. TYSON did not enjoy a smooth build-up. In June he was accused of bear-hugging a female car park attendant and demanding a kiss. It was then alleged he struck her male colleague when he attempted rescue. Tyson was charged with assault but he ultimately settled out of court for $105,000.

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