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Mike Tyson was one of the most fearsome and dominant heavyweight champions in boxing history. While Tyson might not be the GOAT, he’s still great at one thing, and that’s having powerful punches. Here’s a brief look at just how powerful Tyson’s punches could be.

Mike Tyson’s long history of knockouts

Tyson fought in the heavyweight division, so naturally, he had a lot of power in his hands. That said, while heavyweights generally are powerful, Tyson had power that few could match. As a result, Tyson claimed 44 wins by knockout out of his 58 total fights. With that said, Tyson did start to get fewer knockouts at the end of his career. 

At his peak form in the late ’80s, though, Tyson held an undefeated record of 37 wins; 33 came by knockout. The early career of many boxers tends to have a lot of easy fights, but Tyson also knocked out a lot of respected heavyweights in his time. For example, Tyson was able to knock out men like Larry Holmes in the fourth round and Michael Spinks in the very first round.

In his 38th fight, however, Tyson met his match and was knocked out by Buster Douglas. Tyson rebounded and racked up eight wins in a row, with six wins by knockout. At this point, however, Tyson got convicted and sentenced for rape. He served three years in jail. Not long after serving his time, Tyson would slowly decline into retirement.

How hard did Mike Tyson hit?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell. Tyson never measured his punching power while in his prime, so Thrillist devised a different way to measure it. “Iron Mike” knocked out boxer Frank Bruno twice. Evidently, Bruno got his punching power estimated at the peak of his boxing career. 

According to Thrillist, Bruno punched with 1,420 pounds of force, so the publication assumed Tyson could punch the same. This is a fair assumption since Bruno fought Tyson twice, and Tyson knocked Bruno out twice. So Thrillist crunched the numbers. If Tyson had that amount of power, then his punches would generate 1,178 lb-ft of force, equal to 1,600 joules of energy.

According to Thrillist, that amount of force equals American Idol judge Simon Cowell running you over on a Vespa while traveling nine miles per hour. It’d also be equal to a dorm fridge full of beer hitting you after falling out of a second-story window. Weird comparisons, to be fair, but not any experiences we’d volunteer for.

Who else could punch as hard as Mike Tyson?

While those comparisons seem scary, Mike Tyson’s probably not alone. George Foreman was a heavyweight boxing champion renowned for his punching power. Foreman had powerful punches in his prime when fighting Muhammad Ali and in his forties as a relatively slow boxer. 

Modern heavyweight boxers, most of whom are much larger than Tyson, probably have similar punches. Men like Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and Wladimir Klitschko are taller and heavier than Tyson while having very high knockout rates. 

Outside of boxing, other combat sports probably have fighters who can punch just as hard as Tyson could punch. For example, UFC fighter Francis Ngannou is as tall and muscular as heavyweight boxers, and like heavyweight boxers, he can knock anyone out. In fact, Ngannou’s punching power was measured, according to The Sun. It’s equivalent to getting hit by a Ford Focus. 


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