15-year-old Mike Tyson cried before amateur fight, then got himself together and won by stunning first-round knockout

Mike Tyson was one of the most ferocious heavyweights the world has ever seen when he was in his prime.

However, beneath this persona were a multitude of mental insecurities rooted back to his childhood.


Tyson was fragile as a youngsterCredit: Getty

Tyson experienced an incredibly difficult upbringing with his single mother, who died when he was just 16.

By the age of 13, he’d already been arrested 38 times for a variety of minor crimes and ended up at a juvenile detention centre.

Coincidentally, this is where his boxing talent was spotted.

He was at this point introduced to trainerCus D’Amato, who took him in and coached him alongside Kevin Rooney and Teddy Atlas.

Aged 14 in 1981, Tyson triumphed at America’s national Junior Olympics tournament.

He then returned to defend his title a year later, at age 15, but nearly pulled out before the final due to nerves.

Footage of the incident was caught on camera.

Tyson was audibly crying in the video and coaxed back by Atlas, who told him: “Don’t leave Denver now, come on.

Tyson's power was visible from an early age


Tyson’s power was visible from an early ageCredit: Getty Images – Getty

“Just relax, Michael, relax. Just relax, all it is is another boxing match, you’ve done it already 20 times.

“You’ve done it in the gym with better fighters than you’re gonna fight here.

“It’s always hard, but I mean you always have confidence because it always comes off on your side.

“You’re always better than everybody you get in there with, right?

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“Alright, let’s go get ready for a fight, come on.”

Spurred on by his mentor’s words, Tyson did indeed return to the arena and, considering his nervousness, pulled off a surprise result.

He went on to win by first-round knockout over Kelton Brown and celebrated wildly when his opponent’s corner threw in the towel.

Fast forward over 40 years and it’s unlikely Tyson still gets as nervous when stepping into the ring.

The next time he’ll do so will be at age 58, when he takes on Jake Paul on July 20.

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