On This Day: Tyson toppled by Douglas – boxing's biggest upsets

It was on this day, February 11, three decades ago that Mike Tyson suffered a stunning defeat to James 'Buster' Douglas.

Published : Feb 11, 2020 15:18 IST

Boxing great Mike Tyson.
Boxing great Mike Tyson.

Boxing great Mike Tyson.

Everybody loves an underdog, or so the saying goes, but Mike Tyson would probably disagree.

It was 30 years ago that the American powerhouse suffered a shock defeat to James 'Buster' Douglas, his perfect record ruined in stunning fashion.

The bout assumed top spot on the list of the greatest upsets in boxing history.

Here, Omnisport looks back on some of the sport's biggest surprises.

February 15, 1978: 'The Greatest' loses Spinks epic

Muhammad Ali was a 1-10 favourite when he first faced Leon Spinks, a man fighting professionally for only the eighth time, in Las Vegas.

After a titanic battle between boxing's biggest star and his unfancied opponent, Ali looked to have done just enough when the first scorecard was read out in his favour.

However, the two remaining judges decided Spinks was the winner, despite conceding almost two stones in weight to Ali. A rematch in September of that year produced the opposite result.

February 11, 1990: Iron Mike stopped by Buster Douglas

The Tokyo Dome played host to arguably THE biggest boxing upset in history, as Tyson lost his unbeaten record, which had read 37-0 with 33 KOs, to the unheralded Douglas.

Only one casino offered odds on Douglas winning the fight, his price a staggering 42-1. Yet that is what happened, with Tyson left to rue a lack of preparation for a contest he had presumed would prove a breeze.

'Iron Mike' was sent to the canvas in round 10, his aura of invincibility permanently shattered. In a tweet some 23 years later, Tyson, mastering the art of understatement, called it a "bad day at the office".

April 22, 2001: Rahman rocks Lewis

Hasim Rahman spent a month in South Africa, training at high altitude, ahead of his heavyweight world title fight with Lennox Lewis in Gauteng. In contrast, reigning champion Lewis was there only half as long, instead training in Las Vegas so he could film scenes for a cameo appearance in Ocean's Eleven.

Like Tyson before him, Lewis would pay a heavy price for his apparent over-confidence, as Rahman secured a spectacular knockout victory in the fifth round.

A subsequent rematch saw Rahman beaten in four, with a fiercely focused Lewis earning redemption.

March 8, 2003: Sanders dethrones Klitschko

Corrie Sanders was not expected to trouble WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko on German soil, yet the South African sensationally tore up the script.

Sanders caught the great Klitschko with a left hand late in the first round and knocked him to the canvas another three times in the brief but dramatic bout.

There were boos from an expectant crowd when Klitschko was stopped early in the second, with Sanders having only fought three rounds since being knocked out by Rahman in 2000.

June 1, 2019: Ruiz stuns Joshua

A late replacement, Ruiz shattered Anthony Joshua's American dream - and in the famous boxing venue of Madison Square Garden, too.

The portly California-born pugilist lived up to his nickname of 'The Destroyer', picked himself up off the canvas after being floored by Joshua to put the champion down twice before the end of an eventful third round.

Joshua gathered himself and kept on fighting, but Ruiz knocked him down twice early in the seventh before referee Mike Griffin stopped the fight with the Englishman back on his feet but looking shell-shocked.

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