Mike Tyson begins community service program at Gleason's Gym


Published: March 12, 2004

Mike Tyson showed up at the door of Brooklyn’s
legendary Gleason’s Gym on Thursday to begin a
100-hour community service stint teaching kids how to box.

Tyson was just supposed to drop into the gym to settle some
paperwork, but he stayed for more than two hours to work with young
boxers as a crowd that included Brooklyn District Attorney Charles
Hynes watched.

The former champ was ordered to work with kids at the gym under a
guilty plea for his part in a melee in a Brooklyn hotel lobby last June.

Tyson began Thursday’s session by slipping on a pair of oversized
hand mitts and inviting 8-year-old Sherif Youman to fire punches. As a
horde of media and gym regulars watched, young Sherif winged
combinations at the open mitts of a grinning Tyson.

“He was supposed to stop for a half-hour yesterday to set a
schedule, and he stayed for two hours,” said Hynes, who pushed for the
community service plea.

Tyson helped set up kids on the treadmill, offered tips on doing
crunches and answered questions about footwork and blocking techniques.

All the while he smiled, posed for pictures and signed autographs as a starstruck throng followed him around.

“This is great,” said Hector Briganti, 15, of Bushwick, Brooklyn,
who started going to the gym’s recreation program a little more than a
month ago. “I was hoping something like this could happen. To work with
Mike Tyson? Unbelievable!”

Tyson described the session as “awesome,” and said the message he
wanted to bring to his young pupils was to “have fun and enjoy

Jesse Stuckey, 18, didn’t even mind that Tyson left him on the treadmill for more than 10 minutes.

“My legs are burning, Mike,” Stuckey said to his new mentor. “I guess I should’ve told you I ran before I came to the gym.”

Source: the mercury news

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).

Tyson Adjusting to a New Role Inside the Ring

He was working on little sleep. Before the session, he closed his eyes and
took deep, consuming breaths. But Sharif Yonan Jr., 8 years old and 4
feet 5 inches and 75 pounds, who calls himself Sugar Boy Junior,
insisted he was not nervous in his first training regimen with the
former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson yesterday afternoon at Gleason’s
Gym in Brooklyn. Yonan was simply thrilled to finally meet his hero.

“I want to learn the peekaboo,” Yonan said, referring to Tyson’s elusive-aggressive fighting style.

But in the ring, it was Tyson, 37, who seemed to have trouble finding the speedy Yonan as he pecked at the training gloves.

This was Tyson’s second day on his new job, training fighters at
Gleasons as part of the 100 hours of community service he owes as part
of a Feb. 26 plea bargain he agreed to with the office of Charles
Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney.

Tyson, in black sweats, a T-shirt and a tank top, looked like a hefty
weightlifter. And after only one 3-minute round, his bald head and
thick forearms were shimmering with sweat. After three rounds, he
reached for a towel and a cup of fruit. Still, Tyson managed to give
some pointers, some technical, some psychological, and encouraged each
young fighter in front of him.

Tyson had been facing three misdemeanor charges and a potential prison
term after an early morning incident with two autograph seekers last
June. As part of the unique plea deal, his misdemeanors will be reduced
to a charge of disorderly conduct, provided he regularly visits a
psychological counselor and continues to work as a trainer.

“This is just terrific,” Hynes, an amateur boxer from Brooklyn in the
1950’s, said this week as he rested on the ring ropes at Gleason’s.
“This is the perfect way to give back to the community, to the kids, to

On Wednesday, Tyson arrived at Gleason’s quietly, without national
television cameras and reporters and the seemingly endless supply of
hangers-on who tend to follow boxing champions, even those past their
prime. When he first walked through the door on the second floor to
Gleason’s, Jesse Stuckey, 18, sprinted to the pay phone and called his
mother at work to say, “Guess who’s here.”

Jason Salmon, 17, a hard puncher, was shocked. “He’s a nice dude,”
Salmon said. “He just told me, `Think about something you like to do
better than anything, then put yourself there.”

Tyson also worked six rounds with Geneve Brossard, 27, a former Golden
Gloves winner, in what was one of his first sessions with a female

“It was definitely intimidating,” Brossard said. “But he was
supportive, positive. He told me, `You have to have bad intentions
behind your jab.’ He said, `The thought of getting hit hurts more then
getting hit.’

“He was really there. He really wanted me to learn something. He had good intentions.”

While Tyson (50-4, 44 knockouts) has expressed a desire to fight again
this summer, financial and legal problems, along with perenially
shifting management, have placed his boxing career in a state of
uncertainty. If Tyson chooses not to fight again, the staff at
Gleason’s said there would always be a home for him there.

Yonan would like to see Tyson there permanently. After sparring two
rounds with Tyson, he could not stop smiling. “Mike told me, `You’re a
beast,’ ” Yonan said.

Source: the new york times