Mike Tyson Names the Man Who Inspired Him to Box – It’s Not Muhammad Ali

Published 02/08/2021, 11:30 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NV – CIRCA 1991: Heavyweight fighter Mike Tyson, right, fights Donovan Ruddock, left, in a heavyweight fight circa 1991 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)


Heavyweight legend, Mike Tyson, has inspired several youngsters to lace up the boxing gloves. Similarly, he derived energy from veterans who inspired him to become a boxer in life. Although Tyson has had several idols, the former world champion recently revealed the name that grabbed his attention at the gym.

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Mike Tyson has always claimed of idolizing Muhammad Ali as his mentor. However, it was Wilfred Benitez who motivated a young ‘Iron’ Mime to enter the squared circle.

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In his recent podcast alongside WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, Mike Tyson named the men who he took energy from. He said, “I saw Sugar Ray Leonard and somebody I have seen made me want to do this s***. Well,  Ali was the first one but Sugar Ray and Duran, and I said f*** I wanna do it now.”

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When Devin Haney’s father, Bill Haney, enquired about the most inspiring man at the gym, Tyson didn’t even think twice before naming Wilfred Benitez.

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Hailing from the old generation, Tyson has been fortunate to interact and share the ring with several yesteryear stars. He himself is one, but 54-year-old Tyson remains relevant in the current boxing scenario.

What’s up with Mike Tyson now?

The former world champion staged his return after 15 years in an epic exhibition clash with Roy Jones Jr. on November 28. Post the fight, he vowed to accept several more challenges in the future, touting a possible trilogy clash against his former foe, Evander Holyfield. But, Tyson has more things to look after.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 28: Mike Tyson exits the ring after receiving a split draw against Roy Jones Jr. during Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. presented by Triller at Staples Center on November 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller)

He has his own podcast that constantly brings boxers and celebrities into the limelight. Tyson also has a cannabis ranch in California. So, it’s evident that the heavyweight historian is still relevant to the media and the boxing community, especially after returning to action at his dotage.

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If everything falls in place, we can expect Tyson to enter the ring again, citing another blockbuster event for himself and the boxing fans. It would be the first time he would step through the ropes after informing the world about his inspiration.

What did you make of the reveal?

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Raj Sarkar

1527 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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