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Why Did Mike Tyson Go To Prison?

Mike Tyson’s Rise to Fame

Mike Tyson burst onto the boxing scene in the 1980s and quickly became one of the most feared and dominant heavyweight champions of all time. He was renowned for his intimidating style and fierce punching power that saw him knock out 44 of his first 50 opponents.

Tyson’s meteoric rise began when he was just 20 years old. In 1986, he became the youngest ever heavyweight champion after defeating Trevor Berbick by TKO to win the WBC title. Over the next few years, Tyson racked up a stunning record of 37-0, including wins over Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks. He seemed unstoppable, holding the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles simultaneously.

Tyson’s Rape Conviction in 1992

However, in 1992, at the peak of his fame and powers, Tyson was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington, a beauty pageant contestant from Rhode Island.

The incident occurred in Tyson’s hotel room in Indianapolis on July 19, 1991. Tyson claimed the sex was consensual, but Washington said he raped her.

Tyson was arrested and put on trial for rape. On February 10, 1992, after nearly 10 hours of deliberation, the jury found Tyson guilty on one count of rape and two counts of deviate sexual conduct.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, along with four years of probation.

Key Details of the Rape Trial

  • Desiree Washington testified that Tyson pinned her down and raped her despite her pleas for him to stop
  • Medical examiners found bruises consistent with non-consensual sex
  • Tyson’s chauffeur confirmed driving Washington to and from Tyson’s hotel
  • Tyson claimed the sex was consensual and that Washington had fabricated rape for money/fame
  • The jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours before convicting Tyson
  • Tyson was sentenced to 10 years but only served 3 before being released
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Tyson’s Time in Prison

Tyson was imprisoned at the Indiana Youth Center in April 1992. He served just over 3 years of his 6-year sentence before being released in March 1995.

Highlights of Tyson’s Time Behind Bars:

  • Converted to Islam and adopted the name Malik Abdul Aziz
  • Studied Islam and philosophers like Machiavelli
  • Married Monica Turner in 1997 (later divorced in 2003)
  • Showed good behavior and was released after serving less than half his sentence
  • Lost his aggressive edge and speed during imprisonment

Despite the disruption, Tyson was still only 28 when he left prison, young enough to make a boxing comeback.

Tyson’s Post-Prison Boxing Career

After being released from prison in 1995, Tyson returned to professional boxing. Despite losing some of his ferocity, he still managed to regain his place as a major draw in heavyweight boxing.

Key Moments in Tyson’s Post-Prison Boxing Career:

  • In 1995, he resumed training and had several comeback fights
  • In 1996, he defeated Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon to regain the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles
  • Lost titles to Evander Holyfield in an 11th round TKO in 1996
  • Infamously bit off part of Holyfield’s ear in their 1997 rematch, leading to disqualification
  • Fought Lennox Lewis for the heavyweight championship in 2002 but lost by KO
  • Continued boxing professionally until 2005 when he retired after consecutive losses

While he will always be most remembered for his vicious early career knockouts, Tyson still made a considerable impact after being released from prison. He remained a big pay-per-view draw and headlined many major events and fights in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Long-Term Impacts of the Rape Conviction on Tyson

Mike Tyson’s rape conviction and imprisonment marked a dramatic fall from grace and altered the trajectory of his career and life. Here are some of the major long-term repercussions Tyson suffered as a result:

  • Derailed his domination of the heavyweight division in his prime
  • Cost him millions in lost fight purses and endorsements during his 3-year prison term
  • Forced his reputation to shift from global superstar to convicted rapist
  • Permanently tarnished his legacy and career achievements in the eyes of many
  • Caused him to lose the hunger, intensity, and speed that characterized his early success
  • Diverted time and focus away from training and boxing when in prison
  • Resulted in two divorces (Robin Givens in 1989 and Monica Turner in 2003)
  • Led to financial troubles later in life despite earning $300 million in his career
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While Tyson did regain world titles after being released, he was never able to fully rebuild his reputation or recapture the aura of invincibility he projected prior to the rape conviction. It marked the beginning of his decline and cut short his prime years in boxing.


Mike Tyson’s rape conviction in 1992 and subsequent imprisonment marked a dramatic fall for the formerly dominant heavyweight champion. While firmly maintaining the sex was consensual, a jury found Tyson guilty of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington.

He served just over 3 years of a 6-year sentence before returning to professional boxing. However, Tyson was never quite able to rebuild his reputation or regain the fearsome skills he displayed earlier in his career.

The rape case and imprisonment derailed Tyson’s career at its peak and will forever be a dark chapter in the life of one of boxing’s most famous and controversial figures. Though he earned over $300 million as a boxer, his legal troubles and extravagant lifestyle later led to severe financial problems.

The Tyson rape trial in the early 1990s showed that even at the pinnacle of fame and athletic achievement, no one is above the law. Tyson paid a steep price for his conviction, serving hard time and emerging a diminished figure in his sport. For the once-invincible “Iron Mike”, prison marked a turning point from which he never fully recovered.

How old was Mike Tyson when he was convicted of rape?

Tyson was 25 years old when he was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington in 1992.

Where did Mike Tyson rape Desiree Washington?

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The rape occurred in Tyson’s hotel room in downtown Indianapolis on July 19, 1991.

Why did Mike Tyson go to prison?

Tyson was found guilty by a jury of raping beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington. Despite claiming the sex was consensual, he was convicted of one count of rape and two counts of deviate sexual conduct.

How long did Mike Tyson serve in prison?

Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison but only served about three years before being released in 1995.

Did Mike Tyson rape anyone else besides Desiree Washington?

No, the rape of Desiree Washington is the only rape Mike Tyson has ever been convicted of. He did not have any other rape allegations or charges brought against him either before or after this incident.

What happened to Mike Tyson’s boxing career after being in prison?

After being released from prison in 1995, Tyson returned to professional boxing and regained world heavyweight titles in 1996. However, he was never as dominant as he was in the late 1980s and lost most of his biggest fights after prison. He retired in 2005 after losing consecutive matches.

Mike Tyson’s Crimes and Convictions

July 19, 1991Rape, deviate sexual conduct6 years in prison (served just over 3)
August 31, 1998Assault on two motorists1 year suspended sentence, 2 years probation
February 5, 1999Assaulting two men after traffic accident1 year suspended sentence, 2 years probation
June 11, 2000Assaulting Lewis Lennox before a fight1 year suspended sentence, 2 years probation
May 29, 2005Disorderly conduct, resisting arrest1 day community service

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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