The name Buster Douglas is not known by many outside of serious boxing fans. He is not a legendary fighter, he is not a supreme talent, but he did achieve the most remarkable of victories on one fateful night. On February 11th, 1990, Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson and made the world pause for longer than a ten count. His famous victory is a true David vs Goliath story and shows that on a single day anyone can have their day. Douglas certainly had his.
In the lead up to the fight, no one gave Douglas any hope of a victory. He was a 45/1 long shot by the bookies and the fight had been staged in Tokyo because American audiences were no longer attending fights to see Tyson knock someone out in a matter of seconds. Tyson had won his previous fight against Michael Spinks in 91 seconds, had a 37-0 record and was the youngest heavyweight champion in the world.
Douglas had a good reputation as a fighter with a record of 29-4-1 but was seen as too inconsistent and often distracted. On certain occasions he would show incredible ability, on others he didn’t appear to be fit or fight ready.
On this fateful night, Douglas was ready. His mother had passed away three weeks before the fight. Douglas and she were very close and he once said that she was the only one who believed he could take the title from Tyson. Whether this tragedy gave Douglas the additional focus or if he just rose to the big occasion is difficult to say. Tyson was having difficulties in his life too, he had just divorced his partner and left his trainer. Still, no one gave Buster Douglas a chance.
When the fight took place, Tyson seemed totally unprepared for what Douglas had to offer. The tall man had a long reach and kept Tyson at bay and frustrated for long periods of the fight. Finally, in the 8th round, Tyson found a way inside and knocked Douglas. Douglas slowly got to his feet to be saved by the bell. In the next round, the tables had turned and it was Douglas turn to assault Tyson. The tenth round showed an impatient Tyson frantically trying to swing at his opponent, Douglas finished Tyson with a terrific combination and became the first fighter to ever knockout Mike Tyson.