This Day In History: Buster Douglas Finishes Sensationally Mike Tyson


On February 11, 1990, in Japan, Mike Tyson was defending his heavyweight titles against an overtly weak contender, James “Buster” Douglas.

Douglas ranked only 7th in the world rankings, and at the time of the fight with “Iron Mike” had 29 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses, two of which were from Tyson’s former rivals and one from debutant David Bay. No wonder the bookmakers’ bets were 40 to 1 – in favor of Mike, who saw no threat in his opponent and hardly prepared for this fight. Whereas Douglas, on the other hand, was in great shape and with the best psychological attitude in his career.

The champion in this fight was slow, moved his head a little and almost did not make the trademark slopes, and instead of short and numerous steps, there were big failures with attempts to beat Douglas with single punches. At the end of the 8th round, Tyson delivered a right uppercut to the jaw, knocking Buster down. Despite the fact that Douglas only rose by 10, the referee allowed him to continue the fight. In the 9th round, Mike became very tired. In the middle of the 10th round, Douglas delivered a right uppercut to the jaw, and then a combination – a left cross, a right cross and again a left cross. Tyson fell. His mouth guard flew out. Mike almost immediately got up, but the referee counted to eight and stopped the fight, seeing that Tyson was unsteady on his feet. At the time of the stoppage of the fight, the score of the judges was drawn.

After the fight, Tyson’s promoter Don King said that the referee considered the knockdown for Douglas for too long, and in fact there was a knockout. The fight was named “Upset of the Year” by The Ring magazine and is still considered the greatest sensation in boxing history. After the fight, Tyson underwent alcoholism treatment. Tyson himself before this fight showed indiscipline in training, abused alcohol, later he commented: “I did not train, at all.”

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