Tyson defends boxing title on Broadway

Former boxer Mike Tyson, left, and director Spike Lee pose backstage at the “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” event on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, in New York.
Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP
Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson is making his Broadway debut in a one-man presentation detailing his rocky-road to success.

“Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” introduces an articulate athlete whose millionaire lifestyle led him to controversy and often bizarre behavior.

According to Playbill.com “the evening promises a rare, personal look inside the life and mind of one of the most feared men ever to wear the heavyweight crown… This riveting one-man show goes beyond the headlines, behind the scenes and between the lines to deliver a must-see theatrical knockout.”

“I will just be telling (my) story,” Tyson said.

“People have said the story mesmerizes.” When asked if any aspect of his life was off limits, the former boxing champ said, “If anything comes across kind of fake, (you’ll) see it right away. To avoid that, (I’m) putting everything on the table. But it’s not all good stuff! It’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions.”

Directed by Academy Award nominee Spike Lee, the actor/director is making his Broadway director debut with this presentation.

“Human beings want to hear stories. Whether it’s a play, a documentary…a song, a musical, a novel or a movie, we love great stories, and we love great storytellers. And, with Mike Tyson on the stage, you are going to hear a great American story… Mike’s a great storyteller,”Lee said.

The autobiographical production was written by the boxer’s wife Kiki along with Randy Johnson.

The show is slated for a limited run at the Longacre Theater and ends on Aug. 12.

BRONX & BROOKLYN TEENS BASK IN OLYMPIC GLORY

Sports fans in the Bronx and Brooklyn are on a high after watching two of the early competitions of the Olympic contests in London. After swimming and gymnastics performances, Brooklyn’s 17-year-old Lia Neal will bring home an Olympic medal.

Although John Orozco placed eighth and did not medal this year, the Bronx-born Puerto Rican is looking to gymnastic redemption in Brazil, in 2016.

On the very, first day of swimming competitions at the Aquatic Center, the borough of kings crowned 17-year-old Neal the water queen after she swam the third leg in the women’s freestyle 4×100 relay.

Her effort powered the US team to win the bronze medal.

Neal’s role in determining the outcome of that race puts her in the Olympic history book — with the first Black — as the second African-American woman to do achieve that feat.

Not only is Neal the second African American woman to medal in swimming in Olympic history, she is also the second to make the U.S. Olympic team.

Maritza Correia was first to claim the honor. She won a silver medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay in 2004.

Neal lives in Brooklyn and started taking swimming lessons when she was six. By the time she was eight, she had joined the swim team and started training at Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

And while many swimmers are known to hail from Florida, California and other warm-weather coastal states, Neal comes straight out of Brooklyn.

Her father Rome Neal is a talented actor who won an AUDELCO Award for his portrayal of jazz legend, Thelonious Monk in an Off-Broadway production.

Her brother Rome is a senior video web producer at the New York Post newspaper. After his sister’s victory he penned an article in honor of her success which was posted at the website.

“She’s bringing home a bronze to Brooklyn, but she is golden to us. It’s unbelievable that Lia is an Olympian,” he said.

“She first started swimming when she was six, and I had left home in Brooklyn by then. I remember at one of her first races. I told her I didn’t want to her to be afraid to be more than ordinary. If she feels like racing, she should race to win and not feel bad if she beats other people. Because when you are younger, you want to blend in with the crowd.”

Orozco slipped while maneuvering the Pommel Horse.

“I wish I could have done better,” he said. “I wish I could go back home and have them proud of me.”

Orozco said he is ready to get back in the gym to prep for the games slated for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2016. There is no doubt as to which favorite Bronx fans are placing their bets.

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