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Former professional boxer Mike Tyson has said the death of his mother was 'one of the best things that ever happened' to him.
Tyson was just two years old when his stepfather abandoned his family, and 16 years old when his mother, Lorna Smith Tyson, died of cancer.
However, in an interview with Shannon Sharpe on the Club Shay Shay podcast, Tyson expressed belief that he never would have got into fighting if his mother had lived.
He said: 'One of the best things that ever happened to me is that my mother died. My mother would have babied me. There is no way I would have ever got into a street fight, no way I ever would have learned to stand up for myself.'
Sharpe noted that Tyson would likely have still encountered those who forced him to stand up for himself, but the boxer argued that such encounters were orchestrated by a higher power.
'It was ordained by God for me to deal with that,' he said, adding: 'I don't navigate my life. You think I navigate my life to being the heavyweight champion? No, I don't do that. That's God.'
Following his mother's death, Tyson was left in the custody of boxing trainer Cus D'Amato, who became his legal guardian. Tyson credited D'Amato with driving him to success, describing him as a 'great mentor' who 'always told me [I could be great]'. He added: 'He gave me the affirmation'.
Though the death of his mother may have paved the way to his professional career, Tyson has previously indicated his sadness that his mother was never able to see him at his best.
As cited by Bleacher Report, he said: 'I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something. She only knew me as being a wild kid running the streets, coming home with new clothes that she knew I didn't pay for. I never got a chance to talk to her or know about her. Professionally, it has no effect, but it's crushing emotionally and personally.'
Tyson's professional career spanned from 1985-2005, though he returned to the ring in November 2020 for an exhibition bout against fellow legend Roy Jones Jr.
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