Mike Tyson had to show BAPTISM PAPERS to prove he was 14 in amateurs as no one wanted to fight the ‘ferocious’ teenager | The Sun

MIKE TYSON was forced to show BAPTISM PAPERS to prove he was 14 – as no one believed the teenage sensation's age.

The future heavyweight world champion was first mentored by the great Cus D'Amato in the boxing's mastermind's famous Catskill gym.

At the time, Bruce Silverglade was head of the amateur circuit and tasked with matchmaking Tyson's bouts.

But Silverglade – who now owns the world famous Gleasons boxing gym – had to do all sorts to prove Iron Mike's age.

He told SunSport: "I was involved in most of his fights.

“We had a hell of a time. He filled out when he was 14 years of age and in the junior Olympics, it’s based off age.


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“So at the time, ten-year-olds could fight 11-year-olds and so on. No one would ever believe his age, he was a man, he looked like a man.

“He was 14 and he looked like a fully developed man. So we would have birth certificates, baptism papers, passports.

“No one would believe he was a kid. We had a lot of problems, but he was great.”

Tyson was a two-time junior Olympic champion all before his 16th birthday.

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At that point he was coached by Teddy Atlas, who went on to have a Hall of Fame training career himself.

The pair would travel from the small Catskill village – upstate New York, which has a population of only 4,000 – to Gleason's gym in Brooklyn for sparring.

Silverglade recalled: “In the Catskills, it was a very small gym, there was no sparring, so when he had to prepare for any of his fights, he would come here.

“Teddy Atlas – who was one of our trainers – was the one working with him at the time. So he brought Tyson into Gleason's.

“They spent many, many hours training here at Gleason's. He lived up in the Catskills which was an hour north of here.

“So obviously he didn’t train here on a daily basis but he’s from Brooklyn, it wasn’t far from here.”

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion of all time in 1986, when he knocked out Trevor Berbick aged 20.

And during his feared prime, he continued to split his time from the Catskill and Brooklyn.

It means Silverglade got a front row seat to witness the iconic rise of Iron Mike.

But equally, following Tyson's shock loss to James 'Buster' Douglas in 1990, the fall from grace was just as memorable.

Silverglade said: “The thing with Mike, until he lost in Japan as a pro, he won many of his fights just through intimidation.

“People read about him, they heard about how invincible he was, so people were intimidated by him before they even went in.

“One of the biggest upsets in my mind was Michael Spinks – I loved Michael Spinks, I was with him in 1976 up in Montreal when he won the Olympic gold medal.

“I thought he was a terrific amateur, he was a great light-heavyweight champion, he became heavyweight champion, tough as nails.

“He went in with Mike Tyson and he lost in the first round. He froze up – he was like a dear in the headlights, through intimidation.

“But if you look at his record after his defeat in Japan, he had a losing record.

"Because people said, ‘Hey, he’s not invincible. He can be beaten’.”

Tyson retired in 2005 as a two-time heavyweight champ and remains one of the most celebrated fighters of all time.

And for Silverglade, who was inducted into the New York State Hall of Fame in 2015, he still runs the historic Gleason's gym.

Pushing on for 40 years in charge, the gym owner has welcomed the likes of Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran and Floyd Mayweather into his gym.

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And Silverglade said Duran and Tyson in particular – who both used Gleasons to train for massive title fights – were cut from the same cloth.

He said: “Tyson was ferocious. My favourite fighter was Robero Duran because he was ferocious, Mike Tyson was similar. 

“When he sparred, he was there to win.”

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