Mike Tyson was a boxing phenomenon, the ultimate ring predator. He attacked from the opening bell, using quick and devastating punch combinations to take out his opponent as soon as possible. He was elusive, too, despite his aggressive approach. To emulate that style, you must develop lightning quickness, devastating punching power, extreme anaerobic conditioning, the innate ability to slip punches and an intimidating ring persona.
Tyson's all-out boxing style required tremendous fitness. To box like him, you must match his work ethic. "Iron Mike" worked 55 hours per week while training for fights. He told Men's Fitness magazine that he rose at 4 a.m. to run four miles and walk 10 more. He did 2,500 sit-ups, sparred for nine rounds and also spent two hours doing assorted exercises with a strength and conditioning coach. "It's an all-day process," he told the magazine.
Tyson's stance allowed him to punch with equal power from both sides by shifting his weight. To use his stance, bend your knees, put your hands up high and keep your elbows under your shoulders. Spread your legs slightly, putting your feet under your shoulders. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Lean forward at the chest but keep your backside under your body. Lower your chin toward your chest. Bend your wrists slightly inward, with your fists touching your cheeks. Throw short, snappy punches from this stance and get right back into defensive position.
Jab and Slide
Tyson was shorter than most opponents. That forced him to jab and slide to work around his reach disadvantage. To jab like Tyson, don't just step forward into punching range. Move diagonally to jab and slip outside as your punching arm is fully extended.
Tyson put tremendous snap into his punches, throwing his shoulder violently into each one. To snap off a punch with your left hand, for instance, bring your right shoulder back, used your hips to twist clockwise, throw your left shoulder toward the target and then fire your punch.
Tyson did a lot of damage with punch combinations. To punch like Tyson, follow the advice he offered author Gordon Marino: "Throw a hard jab to the midsection and at the same time dip right so that your head is protected by your left shoulder and arm. This is a very old school punch. Now when you throw that left and dip right you need to have your legs completely under you and then you drive up with a right that has your whole lower body behind it.” Tyson could throw a four-punch combination in one second and still hit with leverage.
Tyson moved his head constantly while throwing combinations, making it nearly impossible to tag him. You will need to develop that same elusiveness to box like him. Tyson used a "slip bag" in training, a sand-filled bag that swung back and forth in line with his head. He dodged this bag while throwing punches by ducking or bending side to side at the waist. He also sparred without headgear in his prime, which kept him focused on dodging head shots.
Tyson sparred the way he boxed, at a frenetic pace. "I train the way I fight," he said in a television documentary. His trainers instructed sparring partners to go after him with everything they had. Needless to say, he went through a lot of sparring partners while maintaining his edge.
Tyson used fear of his opponent to drive him through his training. He visualized losing. He clung to that dread on fight day. But when it came time to fight, he oozed invincibility. "The closer I got to the ring, the more confident I got," he said in a documentary. "Once I'm in the ring, I'm a god. Nobody can beat me."
- Photo Credit Robin Marchant/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
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