Looking Back at Mike Tyson’s First Loss Inside the Boxing Ring

Looking Back at Mike Tyson's First Loss Inside the Boxing Ring

Mike Tyson is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. The former heavyweight champion is a notable figure in the field of sports entertainment. Iron Mike’s legacy as one of the most impactful boxers of the modern era will remain unparalleled for years to come.

The youngest heavyweight champion in the history of the heavyweight division remained undefeated until his thirty-seventh professional bout. He suffered his first professional loss in February in 1990. Many boxing fans remember the TKO defeat to Evander Holyfield from back in 1996. However, it was Buster Douglas who handed Iron Mike his first defeat.

Mike Tyson
LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 28: Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson fight for WBA World Heavyweight Title on June 28,1997 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Fight was stop in the third round and Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield on both ears. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

After grabbing the undisputed championship with a unanimous decision win over Tony Tucker at just 21 years of age, Mike Tyson cruised past the heavyweight division with six straight back-to-back stoppage wins to his name. His reign as the unified champion saw him triumph over legendary Michael Spinks with a first-round KO, and Tyrell Biggs.

Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas

Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas shared the boxing ring back in February 1990 for the WBA, WBC, and the IBF heavyweight championship. Tyson was enjoying a 37 fight win-streak, having gone to the judges’ scorecards on only four occasions.

Mike Tyson

Tyson was a phenom and boasted of an exceptional win-knockout ratio. However, this undefeated streak came to an unfortunate end when Douglas shut his lights out with a stunning KO win.

The bout took place in Japan inside the Tokyo Dome. Needless to say, Tyson was the favorite going into the fight. Iron Mike came into the fight expecting another quick knockout win. However, that wasn’t the case.

Buster Douglas showed heart and grit against arguably the greatest of all time. He used his 12-inch reach advantage with precision and out-scored Tyson on every scorecard up until his stoppage win in the tenth round. Douglas also became the first boxer to earn a knockdown over Tyson.

How did Buster Douglas beat Tyson?

It can be argued that Tyson did not take Douglas as seriously as he should have, considering the undisputed championship was on the line. As the world waited for a potential showdown against undefeated Evander Holyfield, who had just moved to the heavyweight division, Tyson appeared relatively slow and considerably uneasy against Douglas inside the ring.

Tyson with family
PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 02: Former Boxer Mike Tyson and his wife Lakiha Spicer are seen supporting Serena Williams during the 2018 French Open – Day Seven at Roland Garros on June 2, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Rindoff Petroff/Suu/Getty Images)

Additionally, he did not fight a smart fight and always looked in a dire need of a one-punch finish. Douglas was calm and landed countless jabs on Tyson, eventually inflicting so much damage that it shut Tyson’s right eye. The champion’s corner wasn’t prepared for such an onslaught from the underdog and proved to be ineffective in-between rounds.

Buster unleashed a barrage of shots in the ninth round. Quite surprisingly, Tyson survived despite being punished for the better part of the bout. However, that wasn’t the case in the tenth round as the prior damage caught up with him.

Douglas ended the fight with a brutal uppercut, and combination punches that left Tyson staggering on his feet. The iconic photo of Tyson looking for the mouth-piece as the referee began the count is still rife among many boxing fans.

How well do you remember that fight? Was that Mike Tyson’s most shocking loss?

Nikhil Chauhan

I low-key like Dana White and his decisions, but that doesn’t mean I am not a fan of super fights. Always up for a chat related to UFC, I am a passionate filmmaker.