Poorer you are, better boxer you are: Mike Tyson

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Mumbai: Former heavy-weight boxer Mike Tyson arrives in Mumbai on Sept. 28, 2018. Tyson will inaugurate Kumite 1 League at the National Sports Club of India in Mumbai. (Photo: IANS)

Mumbai, Sep 28: Calling himself a slum-dog, former American boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who is currently on his maiden visit to India, believes successful boxers, who were once poor, have been mostly raised in slums.

Tyson, who holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at 20 years, four months and 22 days old, is here to inaugurate the Kumite 1 League, India’s first global Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) league, on Saturday.

On the eve of the occasion, the boxing legend talked to mediapersons, sharing his thoughts on boxing, martial arts and also about his life.

“I grew up in a slum. I am a slum-dog. I had the ambition to get out of the slums and that’s why I am here. If someone works hard they can get out of the slums,” Tyson told reporters.

“I think the poorer you are, the better boxer you are. The most successful fighters have come from slums. All the fighters who come from the slums are successful,” the 52-year old added.

Replying to a query on who was the most difficult opponent for him, Tyson said: “There were quite a few of them. Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Buster Douglas. They were very good fighters.”

On being questioned whether the concept of MMA had arrived earlier, would he had joined it, he said: “I don’t know. They don’t pay a lot of money in MMA. I want to go with the money.”

Talking on boxing, who retired from the sport in 2005, Tyson said training is one of the most important aspect in it.

“First thing is (that you have to focus on) training department. That is important,” Tyson, also known as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, said.

“You need to get adapted to that and train your mind on how to fight. You need to understand that you are in a fight and you could be hurt if the contact is not right. Most of the fighters now are in their subconscious when in the ring,” he added.

Tyson also denied reports of being invited by Bollywood stars for parties and said he would instead like to visit the Dharavi slums to meet the kids. He, however, said will also prefer to see the Taj Mahal.