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The five biggest upsets in boxing history

The heavyweight division is no stranger to some of the biggest upsets in the sport, as Daniel Herbert reveals

1. BUSTER DOUGLAS W KO 10 MIKE TYSON


February 11, 1990

“Iron” Mike Tyson spent the late 1980s cleaning up the heavyweight division, but too many blowouts of frightened challengers forced him 
to take his show on the road. His first trip to Japan (1988) had resulted in a two-round walloping of 
Tony Tubbs, so when he returned to Tokyo to defend against James “Buster” Douglas in February 1990, it was seen as another routine defence for The Baddest Man on the Planet; the only newspaper to predict a Douglas victory was in his Columbus, Ohio hometown.

But Tyson’s short pre-fight time in Japan included a string of personal appearances and commercial commitments, not to mention getting dropped by Greg Page in sparring. And in the fight itself – staged on a Sunday afternoon local time for the benefit of US television – a motivated Douglas produced the performance of his life to outbox the listless champ and survive an eighth-round knockdown before shattering the myth of Tyson invincibility in the 10th.

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