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It's not often Mike Tyson admits that he's scared to death, but that is exactly what the former heavyweight boxing champion was when he took on a shark in its natural habitat.
Tyson was making an appearance on Discovery Channel's Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef, during which he was tasked with achieving 'Tonic Immobility' – a temporary state of inactivity in the shark.
He scored the equivalent of knockout victory against a shark as he prepared for his delayed return to the ring against Roy Jones Jr but it took him a while to build up his confidence.
He initially worked with scientists in the Bahamas to get more comfortable in a location that features lemon sharks, reef sharks, bull sharks and more.
The first round was a cage dive with lemon sharks, and it was clear he was far from comfortable in the underwater environment.
But Iron Mike's confidence was boosted in the second round, which was an open ocean dive where he gently pushed sharks away whenever they got too close.
It all built toward the third round, which asked Tyson to seemingly put the shark to sleep with his bare hands.
The former boxer was so petrified that he threw up before diving nearly 50 feet underwater without a cage and grabbing a shark and try to induce tonic immobility with his bare hands.
Mike Tyson discusses taking on UFC legend Conor McGregor in the Octagon
Tyson could be seen grabbing a shark by the nose as it swam past and turning it on its back, successfully inducing the hypnosis-like state.
In a promo video for the event, which aired on the Discovery Channel in the US on Sunday, Tyson had said "someone's going to get bit" – a telling reference to the infamous incident when he bit Evander Holyfield's ear during a heavyweight title bout.
Tyson said his success had helped prepare him for his upcoming match against Jones in Carson, California on November 28.
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“I took on this challenger to overcome fears I still deal with in life,” Tyson said in a statement. “I equate this with overcoming my fear of getting back into the ring at 54 years old.
“I learned from this experience doing Shark Week that whatever intimidates me, I am still able to step up to the challenge of overcoming anything that would prevent me from accomplishing my life’s mission of reaching my highest potential in life and bringing me closer to God.”
He is not the only sport star to have taken on a shark as part of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, as Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps lost a virtual race to a great white in 2017.
TYSON VS. JAWS: RUMBLE ON THE REEF PREMIERES ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL UK, 9PM, SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST
- Mike Tyson
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