Mike Tyson has divulged that he had around 150 street fights as a youngster in Brooklyn which prepared him for his pro boxing career.
It is well known that ‘Iron Mike’ was a wild animal in his youth and terrorised the streets of New York.
He found himself in trouble for petty crimes on countless occasions – he was arrested 38 times by age 13 – and eventually ended up in a reform school.
It was here that he was discovered and began his amateur boxing career.
Ex-boxer Bobby Stewart – who was a juvenile detention centre counsellor – spotted the future champion’s potential and passed him on to Cus D’Amato.
It was on the streets though that ‘Iron Mike’ received his first real education in fighting.
Tyson said on his Hotboxin’ Podcast last July: “I’m talking about those fights that they don’t count.
“Some guys got 300, 400 fights from the amateurs. Pernell [Whitaker] had a lot of fights.
“I had 60 [amateur fights]. I had around 150 street fights, that’s probably why I didn’t do to bad in boxing.
“That’s all we did in Brooklyn, is fight. Fight, fight, fight.
“It was, ‘You did this, you did that – I didn’t do that,’ fight, fight.”
Talking in-depth about the chaos of raw combat, he continued: “Fighting is spiritual, it’s all consciousness.
“When you’re really fighting, you don’t know what you’re doing.
“It’s just, pow, action, it’s happening.
“You anticipate throwing this one, but it’s flowing. When it’s flowing, things happen. You might get your ass knocked out.
“And sometimes it flows when your consciousness may be out of your body, you’re watching yourself fight.”