Mike Tyson used to experience ‘horrible emotions of fear’ before fights and during his ring walks

  • Tom Kelly

Nowadays, as we saw with Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, the ring walk is predominantly used to demonstrate a flair of confidence to your opponent before coming toe-to-toe in the ring. 

However, aside from the outgoing bravados, every fighter must experience an element of nervousness and according to a former sparring partner, Mike Tyson was no different. 

Although the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ would stroll to the ring with ease and had the very definition of a ‘look that could kill’, Tyson’s former sparring partner Joe Egan told SunSport that he would “go through horrible emotions of fear” prior to a fight. 

Egan travelled to New York to take on Tyson in a training camp and he revealed that the former world champion delivered a body shot which had taken Egan off of his feet. 

However, despite the vicious blow, Egan was never knocked out during sparring and Tyson recognised him as ‘the toughest white man on the planet’. Egan went into further detail about the dreaded ring walk. 

“That walk to the ring and the waiting around before you get into the ring is very daunting for any fighter. I can tell you myself.

“Once the bell goes to fight, the fear leaves you because it’s time to fight. But the build up, the walk to the cage or ring, it’s very, very emotional for a person because you have all sorts of thoughts going in your head.

“You don’t think about losing. You don’t want to let yourself down. You want to give a good performance. If you give your best and you lose, then you’ve given your best.” 

Egan went onto reveal that, much like other fighters across the divisions, Tyson went through similar emotional rollercoasters. 


“Mike’s a human being, he’s not a machine. He had the same emotions that his opponent had. What Mike had over his opponents is the fact he had a fear factor because he carried all the invincibility into the ring because of his power.

“When you’ve got the concussive power in the punch, this can send fear into your opponents.

“Mike had that aura of invincibility. He will be remembered as an all-time great.

“Climbing into the ring makes you a man amongst men because you’re overcoming your fear. And that’s what separates fighters from any other sportsmen in the world.

“There are two ways of describing the word ‘fear’: face everything and rise or forget everything and run.”

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