Mike Tyson had his face tattooed as he 'didn't want to fight'

Mike Tyson had his face tattooed just days before Clifford Etienne bout as he ‘didn’t want to fight’ late on in his career, claims his former trainer

  • Mike Tyson got a tattoo on his face just a week before his Clifford Etienne fight
  • Tyson had a tribal tattoo inked on his face and later pulled out of the fight
  • Eventually the bout went ahead and Tyson knocked him out in the first round
  • Tyson’s former trainer Jeff Fenech has since claimed he wasn’t prepared to fight 

Mike Tyson’s former trainer has fascinatingly revealed that the heavyweight legend got the tribal tattoo on his face to avoid fighting late on in his career.

Former American heavyweight Tyson was scheduled to fight compatriot Clifford Etienne in February 2003, just eight months on from his defeat to Lennox Lewis.

After a proper build-up to the fight, Tyson decided to get a tribal tattoo inked on his face in Las Vegas and just days before his bout against Etienne, he pulled out of the showdown.

Mike Tyson had his face tattooed just days before his fight against Clifford Etienne in 2003

However, the fight eventually went ahead as planned and Tyson – who had replacement trainer Freddie Roach in his corner – knocked out Etienne within 49 seconds in the first round in Memphis, Tennessee. 

But his former trainer Jeff Fenech has since admitted that he was left in tears and got the first flight home after finding out the news that Tyson didn’t want to fight.

Fenech, who also revealed Tyson skipped training to get the new ink, told Fox Sports: ‘My first impression was that I’ve never had a tattoo in my life, but I thought we are fighting in a week and when you get a tattoo you can’t fight because they scab up and it wouldn’t be healthy to do that. 

‘We sat down and spoke and he didn’t really want to fight and he wasn’t prepared to and that was one of the reasons he got the tattoo. 

Tyson ended up knocking out Etienne within 49 seconds of the first round in 2003

‘After a good hour talk I was in tears when I left the house that night. I went and stayed in a hotel because I was pretty despondent.

‘I was away from home for eight weeks in Vegas getting him ready for the fight and I stayed in a hotel and got on the first flight back to my family because that was my priority.

‘A week later he fought and knocked out Clifford in one round and I was upset. I was happy for Mike that he won, but I was also upset that I had trained him for eight weeks and I wasn’t a part of that win.’

The fight against Etienne turned out to be Tyson’s final professional victory in the ring, as he went on to lose his last two fights against Danny Williams and Kenny McBride. 

His ex-trainer Jeff Fenech (pictured) has revealed Tyson got the tattoo as he didn’t want to fight

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