1980sABCBoxingHeavyweight BoxingHeavyweight Boxing ChampionsJim LampleyMike TysonWide World of Sports

Boxing – 1986 – 10 Round Heavyweight Bout – Mike Tyson Vs James Tillis


This 10-round heavyweight bout took place on May 3, 1986 at the Civic Center in Glens Falls, NY…..airing on ABC Wide World of Sports with broadcasters Jim Lampley and Alex Wallau…. featuring a 19 year old Mike Tyson boxer who entered the ring on this day with 19 KO’s in his 1st 19 fights….when he fought against James “Quick” Tillis with a record of 31 – 8 with 25 KO’s. 

This was the first time Tyson had gone the distance in a pro fight….which was originally scheduled for March 29th….but was postponed until May 3rd to allow Tyson time to recover from an infected right ear. Tillis was fighting at his lightest in over two years at 215 lbs…..as Tyson entered this ring 4.5 lbs. lighter than in his previous bout two months earlier.   

Tyson landed solid right hands to the body early in the opening round….and connected with a right hook in the final seconds as Tillis moved, worked behind a jab….and landed decently well himself including a good right uppercut near the two-minute mark….then Tyson landed a left hook after the bell to end Round 1.  At the recommendation of his corner, Tyson tried to jab while closing distance and landed a good right 53 seconds into Round 2 that caused Tillis to hold….after which Tyson occasionally stuck Tillis with a right hooks to the body. Tillis landed a left hook in the first half of the round and a good left uppercut to the body in the final minute. Tyson landed the heavier shots in Round 3 and caught Tillis with a combination….to which Tillis replied by exchanging with flurries while against the ropes….when Tillis landed well with the left hand in the opening minute of Round 4….when in the final seconds of the round, Tillis lunged in with a left hand…to which Tyson dipped to his right, spun, and caught Tillis with a left hand that scored a flash knockdown sending Tillis to the mat….who was up at the count of three and was not hurt….but the knockdown cost Tillis what was his best round thus far in the fight. Tillis came out in Round 5 with added aggression and landed shots to the head of Tyson….who failed to throw punches on the inside….but Tyson came on in the final minute of the round with a pair of body shots that appeared to hurt Tillis and a flurry upstairs. Tillis moved well and worked on the outside in Round 6….while Tyson landed with a few body shots to close the round. Tillis outworked Tyson for much of Round 7….before Tyson came on in the latter part and opened a cut above Tillis’s left eye with a right hand. The cut was handled well by Tillis’s corner and did not affect him or bleed noticeably for the remainder of the bout. Neither man landed a punch of note in Round 8….as Tillis likely earned the round with output. Tillis continued to outwork Tyson in Round 9….and moved well and landed from the outside….as Tyson did very little offensively. Tillis controlled much of the 10th round, before Tyson came in the last few seconds…as the two exchanged as the bell rang with each man landing a punch after the bell. 

After the fight….ABC’s Wallau said “I’m going to give James “Quick” Tillis credit. He’s been in there with a tough young bull and he’s fought harder and stronger really than I’ve ever seen him fight in his career including the time he fought for the title. He’s showing something a lot of people have questioned over his career and that is his heart. He’s cut. He’s taken some brutal punches and he is fighting back, moving, and still trying to win this fight.”….whereas Tyson said “I was looking for one good punch to really hurt him. I knew I was ahead. I was just laying for one clean punch. I wanted to catch him. Mr. Tillis was in superb shape and he put up a great fight. He hit me with some good shots. There’s no way he should quit.”….while Tillis was quoted as saying “I’ve got some pit bull in me….but I ain’t got no dog….as the name of this game is to hit and not get hit….cuz in the last 3 rounds, I was punching and he wasn;t….as I think he got tired after the 5th round.”    

Any way you cut the pie….when a boxing fan gets to see two really quality heavyweight fighters go the distance in an action, power-packed fight….and one of those boxers is Mike Tyson…it becomes MUST SEE TV in our opinion. 

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