How Much Did Mike Tyson Make in His First Boxing Fight?

Published 06/12/2021, 3:44 AM EDT
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – JULY 21: Mike Tyson and Don King celebrates after Tyson defeated Carl Williams for the WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight tittles on July 21, 1989 at the Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tyson won the fight with a knock out in the first round. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)


Considered by many as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, Mike Tyson turned pro at the young age of 19. After finding success at the amateur circuit under the tutelage of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, Tyson began gunning for the top spot in the heavyweight division back in the 80s.

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However, his initial outings as a pro weren’t too favorable for him financially.

Conversing with rapper Polo G on the most recent episode of his podcast ‘Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson’, ‘Iron’ went into the details of the money he was able to make from his first fight. “My first fight was 500 bucks. I really made nothing. Somebody took 500 bucks out of their pocket and gave it to me,” Tyson said, laughing.

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Tyson was 19 when he first fought as a professional. However, the Brownsville fighter had found success as an amateur. He had won Junior Olympics Gold in 1981 and 1982.

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However, under the influence of mentor Cus D’Amato, Tyson’s ambition to capture the championship fueled him to fight. Even with low pay at the start.

“I would fight for nothing. I didn’t care. I just wanted the world to see me. Cause once they see me they are going to start paying for me,” Tyson said.

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$500 to $35 million- The incredible Mike Tyson story

The fire that burned inside a young Tyson saw him fight 15 times in his first year as a pro. No fight of his escaped the fourth round in this year. Tyson attributes this to his late mentor, who wanted to see him be the youngest world champion ever.

Tyson was right in his assertion that money would follow when he’s on the big stage. His boxing purses have been ridiculously high ever since he became the champion at 20 years of age. On his podcast, ‘Iron’ revealed that the biggest payday of his career stood at $35 million.

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He drew that when he competed against Evander Holyfield for the second time in 1997. From earning $500 to $35 million, Tyson has done it all in his professional career. He continues his legacy by still fighting at 54.

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Akshit Pushkarna

94 articles

Akshit Pushkarna, who has a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication, is an MMA writer for EssentiallySports. Before his current role, Akshit worked on the Urban Development beat at the Urban Update magazine. However, combat sports always called out to Akshit, who pursued both boxing and wrestling at a regional level before shifting his focus to MMA journalism.

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