Fondly remembered for his exploits during the 1980s, thunderbolt-punching Mike Tyson remains a relevant figure in the sport of boxing to this day.
Named “The Baddest Man on the Planet” for a reason, Tyson was a juggernaut who became the fastest man in history to win the top division’s biggest prize.
At just 20, Tyson was feared the world over and could beat a man with merely his terrifying and stone-faced ring walk.
Since imprisonment and a downhill slide, few have been able to tread the same path as the great Tyson. But that doesn’t stop eager promoters or media from nicknaming prospects “The New Mike Tyson” – many times prematurely.
Burdening an undefeated KO artist with the name can have a detrimental effect. The vast majority of the time, it bears no fruit at all.
The last time it did happen was with a certain Mr. Deontay Wilder. Back in 2011, during a fantastic run of knockouts, “The Bronze Bomber” was given a moniker he was luckily able to live up to in the end.
Sadly, for many, this wasn’t the case.
Here are five heavyweights touted as “The New Mike Tyson” who failed miserably.
MICHAEL GRANT (1994-2017)
Turning pro in 1994, Michael Grant was lauded by the American public as the next coming of a feared heavyweight from their shores.
Comparisons to Tyson were swift when Grant was knocking people out at will. At one point, there was talk of a match-up between the pair as Tyson’s career wound down.
When his chance finally came against Lennox Lewis in 2000, Grant lost in two devastating rounds. He would never again fight for a bonafide world heavyweight title.
KO’s – 36 from 48 wins.
LANCE WHITAKER (1996-2010)
Losing out to Lawrence Clay-Bey in the US National Championships and subsequently failing to qualify for the Olympics, Lance Whitaker turned pro immediately and began a rampage.
Thirteen straight knockouts within three rounds, seven in the first session, brought comparisons way beyond the ability of the Californian.
The cracks began to show in a 1999 split decision loss to eventual Tyson victim Lou Savarese. Whitaker would then struggle to gain a foothold in the division.
KO’s – 28 from 35 wins.
SETH MITCHELL (2008-2013)
In 2006, Mitchell got tarred with “The New Mike Tyson” brush before his career started. An excerpt from a prediction later in his career, though, couldn’t have proved more wrong.
“Seth Mitchell is easily the best up-and-coming American heavyweight,” it read. “It’s obvious he’s much better than the likes of Travis Kaufmann, David Rodriguez, and Deontay Wilder.
“This is the new Mike Tyson – definitely.”
Unfortunately for Seth, a draw with 2-0-3 Alvaro Morales in just his third pro outing set him up for a significant fall.
Eventually pushed to a fringe contender, Mitchell got knocked out twice early before “Mayhem” retired at the tender age of 31.
KO’s – 19 from 26 wins.
DEREK BRYANT (1998-2012)
Rivaling Tyson in the nickname stakes for his effort, “One Man Riot,” Derek Bryant scored 14 early stoppages from his 16 wins before losing to “Stone Kold” Erik Kirkland in 2003.
Before that, Bryant got highly touted to be at the top of the weight class before too long. In the aftermath of Kirkland, Bryant would win only four of his next eleven bouts.
KO’s – 17 from 20 wins.
TY BRUNSON (2005-2019)
The most infamous on the list as he fought at between 154 and 160 pounds, Brunson entered the paid ranks in 2005.
Inventing the phrase “fighting a tomato can,” Brunson racked up 20 straight first-round knockouts. In 2008, he earned the US media label of “the most feared puncher since Iron Mike Tyson.”
That same year, Brunson’s run of KO’s within three minutes came to an end against the unheralded Antonio Soriano. Not only did he go past the first round, but Brunson drew with the also-ran opponent.
This happening was the beginning of the end and the ultimate capitulation unheard of in any boxing career. Brunson managed to beat two more journeymen. He then lost six of his next seven contests.
In the end, failing to get to world title level, Brunson’s startling run was a ploy to gain recognition.
KO’s: 25 from 28 wins.
UK NEW MIKE TYSON
A special mention must go to the latest victim of what seems to be a Tyson curse. The only reason Daniel Dubois didn’t make it on the list is down to the fact he’s not American.
The British puncher recently made a successful comeback from suffering his first loss and is now in line for a world title shot.
Dubois could be the first man in history to shake the Tyson tag and eventually win a world title.