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Iron Ambition Lessons I’ve Learned from the Man Who made Me a Champion By Mike Tyson with Larry Sloman

Release date: 01st June, 2018
Publisher: Sphere

List Price: Ł18.99
Our Price: Ł15.99
You Save: Ł3 (15%)
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You have to hand it to Mike Tyson and the ghost writers who have assisted with the production of an excellent autobiography, Undisputed Truth, published in 2013, and the equally compelling Iron Ambition, on sale in the UK from the end of the month.

The publishers of both tomes have ensured readers get value for money: the autobiography ran to more than 560 pages; the latest offering comes in just shy of 500 and there’s still plenty of fresh material here for fans of a boxer you feel could still feature amongst the world’s top ten heavyweights if he put his mind to it.

Tyson’s story is well known. His violent, criminal childhood; remanded in a succession of institutions for youth offenders; spotted by the legendary Cus d’Amato and his subsequent rise to become boxing’s youngest-ever heavyweight world champion.

Reviewing Undisputed Truth when it was first published, we called it “an A-list sporting tome”, a description Iron Ambition also commands; it has the added benefit of authenticity, for ghost writer Larry Sloman has successfully captured Tyson’s spoken delivery, punctuated as it is with a machine-gun-like attack of expletives. The swearing is suspended, albeit temporarily, when Tyson starts talking about d’Amato, the man who legally adopted him when he was 16 and clearly someone for whom the “baddest man on the planet” has great affection. Bobby Stewart receives similar treatment; he was a guard at the Tryon School for Boys, who ran the centre’s boxing programme and was instrumental in getting Iron Mike into the ring.

Stewart had much faith in Tyson’s ability, sparring with him, teaching him the basics of defence and movement while incurring some cuts and bruises in the process. Indeed, it was Stewart who, on the eve of Tyson’s release from the delinquent centre, took the shy youngster to d’Amato’s gym in upstate New York where they sparred for three rounds before d’Amato declared that, with proper training and discipline, the young boy could be heavyweight champion of the world.

Tyson remains touchingly grateful for everything Cus gave him, from guidance, training, discipline and a roof over his head; to call d’Amato a father figure is an understatement beacuse Mike Tyson loves the man.

Loaded with anecdotes about the mob, a series of fights (not just those featuring Tyson), American life in the seventies and eighties, this is a great read for fans of boxing as well as those who enjoy the smell and sound of authenticity to their sporting titles. And there’s plenty of it.

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