Legendary heavyweight champion of the world, “Iron” Mike Tyson, was a fearsome combination of blistering speed and unbridled power, with a sprinkling of wild aggressiveness — the kind that makes opponents shiver in their boots before they even stepped into the ring with him.
He’s one of the most devastating knockout punchers in the history of the sport. Many argue he is the greatest heavyweight of all time. One thing is for sure however, his fighting style is certainly unique. Now, years after he last competed, no one has been able to replicate his one-of-a-kind fighting style.
However, there are elements of Tyson’s game that can be adapted to any skill set. We’ve taken a look at some of the techniques Tyson has become known for, breaking them down a little bit.
The way Tyson’s style is wired, the movements are simple enough to grasp quickly but require tons of repetition and practice to master. With enough focus and dedication, however, you can add many of his weapons to your repertoire.
Let’s examine Tyson’s unique techniques and see how you can incorporate them into your own style. Today, Evolve Daily shares eight of Mike Tyson’s signature boxing techniques you can add to your game.
1) Lightning fast speed
Tyson’s unique style was predicated on the speed he was able to generate in the ring. He may not have been the strongest, nor packed the most punch, but he was definitely faster than any opponent he climbed into the ring with.
And of course, speed equates to power, which is why Tyson was so easily able to put guys away.
When you train, focus on speed. Get there fast, get there first. Strike quick and strike often. Don’t allow your opponents to set up their defense. By attacking with quickness and variety, opponents are often left on the back foot trying to cope with your aggressiveness.
So focus on fast, engaging punches rather than putting too much meat behind your shots. The power will come. What’s important is being able to connect with speed and velocity. Train speed primarily, power secondary.
2) Thunderous body punches
If Tyson were for some reason unable to get guys out of there early in the fight, he always went to the body often. A consistent body attack is necessary, especially against bigger, stronger guys.
When Tyson went to the body, he did so with force and conviction. Many say the art of body punching is lost in modern day boxing. Tyson’s style is a throwback to boxers of yesteryear, and he was never shy of digging into another man’s midsection.
The science behind it is simple. The strength and power of a boxer come from the core. The ability to move the legs, lift the arms, and perform the majority of boxing techniques is generated from the midsection. Damage the core, and you hinder an opponent’s ability to perform even the most basic of movements.
This comes in handy in long dragging fights, so it’s good to invest in a body attack early.
3) Angles of attack
One of the biggest reasons opponents had much difficulty in dealing with Tyson’s style, is because of his mastery of angles. Tyson attacked from various unorthodox angles, and he never fought straight forward, which would make it easy to predict where attacks would come from. This is a product of Tyson’s legendary trainer, Cus D’Amato’s training methodologies.
The ‘Sweet Science’ dictates that it is always better to launch attacks with high probability to connect, and not get hit with counterattacks in return. This is what boxing is all about.
Tyson loved to dip low and use his lateral movement to shift from left to right with ease. He would attack from the sides and never straight down the middle, tagging opponents with powerful hooks and uppercuts. This also made sure that he could generate loads of power and explosiveness behind every shot.
4) Leaping left hook
Tyson is one of the most vicious punchers in the history of boxing. Most all of the punches Tyson threw had the potential to turn the lights out on any man, on any given night. One of his favorite punching techniques which you can easily add to your game is the leaping left hook.
While traditionally, boxers are to set up their power shots with feints and jabs, Tyson loved to explode forward off his back foot and hit his opponents with a leaping lead left hook from the orthodox stance. This usually caught most guys off guard, as the punch came when they were least expecting it.
Tyson used this technique sparingly, which added to its effectiveness because he always maintained the element of surprise. Add this move to your repertoire, and use it only when necessary.
5) Slip and counter
Another of Tyson’s signature strengths is his uncanny head movement. For a guy Mike’s size, his head movement was par excellence. He could easily maneuver his head in and out of harm’s way, allowing him to dart in and out of range whenever he wanted.
One of the techniques he used quite often was the slip and counter. Tyson was a master of slipping punches. He would often wait for an opponent to make a move, slip it either to the right or to the left and then come back with a swift and powerful hook to counter.
It made him a very dangerous man to trade punches with because he executed the technique flawlessly. Using his speed and explosiveness, Tyson almost always got the better of opponents when he slipped and countered.
6) Fighting low
Listed at 5′ 10″ or 178cm, Tyson wasn’t the tallest of heavyweights. Many guys were much taller than him and had longer reach. But instead of being at a disadvantage, Tyson made it a point to use his stature as a strength rather than a weakness. He did this by fighting low and forcing opponents to adapt to his level.
He would bend his knees and lower his center of gravity, making it very hard for taller boxers to reach him and hit him cleanly. Then he would explode back up with haymakers, using his base to generate power.
Tyson was able to knock a lot of opponents out with this particular technique. But despite it being a great offensive maneuver, it was mainly used for defensive purposes. When the going gets rough, fighting low could be an option for you.
7) The power jab
Traditionally, the jab is a long, lancing, and utilitarian weapon used to fend off an opponent’s attack, gauge range, or simply to use as a set up for other punches and combinations. Tyson however, packed so much power in his jab, that it oftentimes served as a knockout punch.
Tyson, once popularly known as ‘the baddest man on the planet’, used the jab to open up an opponent’s defenses. Because his jab was so powerful, his opponents often had to adjust their guard to protect themselves against it.
This opened up and presented Tyson with opportunities to land damaging blows to the rib cage, the jaw, and the temple — all critical areas with loads of knockout potential. By using the jab often, Tyson would create openings for himself to land his most thunderous combinations.
8) Peek-a-boo style
The most unique of all of Tyson’s techniques is definitely the Peek-a-Boo style. This technique was taught to him by his late great legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. Tyson would keep his guard high above his cheekbones, move his head side to side reminiscent of how heavyweight Jack Dempsey would, and this made Tyson operate at a unique rhythm.
This particular style isn’t used much in modern day boxing, but that doesn’t make it less effective. It’s a lost technique that could be adapted to fit certain styles. Granted it is a little old school, but with just the right tweaks, it could be an effective weapon in today’s world of boxing. Otherwise, it will remain a Mike Tyson special and will go down in history as his own trademark offensive and defensive style.