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The story behind Mike Tyson’s notorious face tattoo with heavyweight legend initially wanting hearts


Mike Tyson had a fearsome repute each inside and outdoors the ring and one factor that’s synonymous together with his legacy is his notorious face tattoo.

Iron Mike rose to fame because the youngest heavyweight champion in historical past and possessed ferocious pace and energy.

However each his profession and private life was marred in controversy.

Mike Tyson acquired the tattoo earlier than his 2003 combat with Clifford Etienne
Getty Photos – Getty

In 1992, he was jailed for six years after being convicted of rape and was not the identical fighter when he returned.

Tyson famously bit a piece out of Evander Holyfield’s ear of their 1997 rematch and had fixed drug points throughout that point in his life.

Just some days earlier than his 2003 combat with Clifford Etienne, he determined to get a tribal tattoo on his face and it’s nonetheless considered one of his most recognisable options to today.

In an interview in 2012, he revealed the story behind the tattoo and he truly wished to get hearts on his face.

Tyson went on to beat Etienne within the first spherical in 2003
Getty Photos – Getty

He mentioned: “I simply thought it was a cool tattoo. I used to be going to get a bunch of hearts and stuff. That may have been actually silly.

“I used to be going to be the person of hearts, child. I used to be very shut. Victor Perez, the tattoo artist mentioned ‘I ain’t doing that. I can’t try this’.

“I mentioned ‘what do you suppose I ought to get? As a result of I used to be confused.’ Victor Perez is an efficient man and mentioned ‘come again in a few days I’m going to attempt to write up some stuff’.

“I waited round and two days later he known as and mentioned ‘Mike, I’ve acquired some tribal stuff’. I mentioned ‘woah, put one other one over there’. I used to be like ‘that is cool, I like this’. So he did it.

“I believed it was so scorching. I’d be in these dens, these golf equipment and strip locations typically and all the ladies mentioned ‘oh you might be very unique, the place are you from? The place did your loved ones come from? Why did you place this tattoo in your face?’

“They mentioned I regarded like some tribesman or s***. I bumped into some chicks that occurred to be from the Maowi tribe and so they mentioned ‘hey, you’ve acquired a few of my tribe in your face’ and the girl pulled her pants down and he or she has this tattoo on her butt.”

His former coach, Jeff Fenech, supplied up an alternate cause why Tyson had the tattoo carried out simply days earlier than his bout with Etienne.

Mike Tyson is the previous undisputed heavyweight world champion

Fenech, who walked out on the heavyweight fighter after he acquired the tattoo, claims Iron Mike didn’t need the combat.

He informed Fox Sports activities: “My first impression was that I’ve by no means had a tattoo in my life, however I believed we’re preventing in per week and once you get a tattoo you possibly can’t combat as a result of they snap up and it wouldn’t be wholesome to do this.

“We sat down and spoke and he didn’t actually need to combat and he wasn’t ready to and that was one of many causes he acquired the tattoo.

“After a superb hour speak I used to be in tears after I left the home that night time. I went and stayed in a resort as a result of I used to be fairly despondent.


“I used to be away from house for eight weeks in Vegas getting him prepared for the combat and I stayed in a resort and acquired the primary flight again to my household as a result of that was my precedence.

“Every week later he fought and knocked out Clifford in a single spherical and I used to be upset. I used to be completely satisfied for Mike that he received, however I used to be additionally upset that I had educated him for eight weeks and I wasn’t a part of that win.”

That 49 second knockout of Etienne proved to be Tyson’s final skilled victory together with his final two fights ending in defeats to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.




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