One of the greatest heavyweight boxers in the world, Mike Tyson was known for his intimidating looks including his humongous neck. Tyson religiously trained his neck which in turn helped him avoid fatal injuries. However, he did have to undergo neck surgery after retiring.
Tyson made his debut in professional boxing in 1985, four years after his idol Muhammad Ali retired from the sport. He was immediately destined for great things as he knocked out Hector Mercedes in the first round of his career.
By November 1986, he was undefeated in 27 matches and went on to win the WBC Heavyweight title in his 28th bout. He won the WBA, WBC, and IBF Heavyweight titles and lost them in 1990 to Buster Douglas. He won the WBA and WBC Heavyweight titles again in his career. 20 years after making his debut, Tyson retired in June 2005 with a record of 50-6.
Tyson, however, never really left the limelight. Numerous documentaries were made about ‘Iron Mike’ which revealed many secrets of his life.
In October 2012, the boxing legend was seen with a neck brace in public. Nothing was publicly known about any issues faced by Tyson in his neck. However, it was revealed that he had gone through neck surgery at the time.
As a result of an old spinal injury, Tyson had to insert titanium pins to support his neck. “It’s a very common surgery, especially for athletes. He feels great… just has to wear the neck brace to keep everything stable for the next three weeks,” TMZ quoted Tyson’s representative as saying.
At the time, Tyson also took to X to give an explanation. He claimed that he suffered from damage even before he began his boxing career.
How did Mike Tyson get a 20-inch neck?
Tyson understood the importance of having a strong neck early in his career. At the age of 18, Tyson sported a massive 20-inch neck. To put that into context, an average adult male’s neck size is 15 inches.
Tyson had a specific neck training regimen involved in his daily training. A strong neck helps in taking punches. It helps the fighters avoid concussions and other injuries to some extent. When a fighter can take a punch, it is sometimes called having a ‘strong chin’. However, a strong neck is the real hero for taking a punch.
Tyson was famous for executing the neck bridges regularly. It strengthened the neck and he used to do neck bridges daily for almost 30 minutes. Neck bridges are a difficult exercise that involves supporting your body on your head and shoulders while keeping your neck and back in a straight line. It helps in strengthening neck and upper back muscles.
According to some reports, doing neck bridges alone is not good for your neck. It has to be coordinated with other exercises targeting the neck. According to The Sun, Tyson’s daily workout routine included a 3 to 4-mile jog, and calisthenics, which included squats, tricep extensions, pushups, shrugs, and neck crunches. He used to train rigorously and consume 3000-4000 calories a day.
Tyson went through an extraordinary routine to create an extraordinary boxing legacy.