The former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is pretty well aware of his video game presence in the classic boxing video game Punch-Out!!, since it remains a classic staple from the NES era. But imagine our surprise – and his – when he had no idea that he was the basis for a legendary boss character from the 1991 fighting game Street Fighter II.
Tyson served as the inspiration for the boxer that we know as Balrog. Over in Japan, he’s known as M. Bison. But, for obvious legal reasons – that name’s a little too close for comfort to M. Tyson – Capcom changed his name to Balrog and gave the Bison name to the head boss in our version. And…the funny thing is, Tyson didn’t actually know about it. Until now, anyway.
In a recent interview over at ESPN, which you can see below, host Arda Ocal was speaking with the former champ when he shared a couple of images of Balrog from the game. He also went over his history, explaining how he was originally named M. Bison before Capcom changed it. Tyson was a little bit surprised, to say the least. In fact, he seemed a little overcome with emotion, and even laughed it off a little. You can check out the full reaction at this link.
We’re just shocked that it took, what, nearly two decades for Tyson to learn this? Like, someone didn’t tell him beforehand? He didn’t walk into an arcade and go, “Wait, what?” At least he took it in good stride for the most part.
You guys can check out the original Street Fighter II in Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch now. Someone send “Iron” Mike a copy!