Both Mike Tyson and sharks are among the most dominant carnivores of their species but even the former world heavyweight champions admits that he was terrified after getting an up close view of the world’s most feared predators.
The 54-year-old boxer, who is scheduled to make his comeback to the ring in late November against Roy Jones Jr., took the plunge as part of the launch of the Discovery Channel’s annual ‘Shark Week’.
The show pitted Tyson against various sharks in a series of challenges which they dubbed as ‘Tyson vs. Jaws’. The first task saw Tyson diving in a cage with lemon sharks, which he appears to have completed with ease, but the ante was upped for the next challenge as he was told to gently push sharks away which got close to him.
At one point in the footage, Tyson can be seen admitting that the close encounters left him “scared to death.”
.@MikeTyson is still the undisputed champ! #SharkWeek continues every night at 8p on @discovery. pic.twitter.com/JMzoWsQCoI
The third challenge saw Tyson dive 50 meters without the assistance of a cage and was preceded by the nervous heavyweight great throwing up – even after traveling to the Bahamas in advance of the show to consult with shark experts to learn their mannerisms.
“I took on this challenge to overcome fears I still deal with in life,” Tyson said of the experience. “I equate this with overcoming my fear of getting back into the ring at 54 years old.
“I learned from this experience doing Shark Week that whatever intimidates me, I am still able to step up to the challenge of overcoming anything that would prevent me from accomplishing my life’s mission of reaching my highest potential in life and bringing me closer to God.”
It was announced early on Monday that Tyson’s ring return has been postponed from its original September 12 date to November 28 to allow for further promotion and the negotiation of television deals outside of the United States.