I'm a big fight fan - I grew up around boxing and martial arts, and if I wasn't training the only thing that could get me to sit down would be a sports fight. I don't get to train much these days, but the lessons I learnt from competitive contact sports will stay with me forever.
One of the things you end up doing when you do contact sports is watch endless amounts of fight footage, in the hope you'll pick up new techniques and that you just might develop their athleticism.
I was always drawn to Mike Tyson. He's a short guy, not very flamboyant and would always enter the ring with just a basic pair of black shorts and boots. Regardless of his uninteresting attire, he is one of the most exciting fighters to have graced the ring. Tyson's professional debut fight was in 1985 against Hector Mecedes. For the next five years Mike Tyson dominated the heavy weight division, not only earning him several world champion titles, but the nickname 'The Baddest Man on the Planet'. If you weren't watching the television from round one, you would have missed the fight. Tyson was notorious for knocking out his opponents in the early rounds.
After Tyson's 37 undefeated wins he was matched against a generally unheard of boxer called Buster Douglas. According to the papers, this fight wasn't meant to happen. It was an in between fight before a mega fight, with the more formidable and the also undefeated Evander Holyfield. Buster Douglas was a no name.
Douglas's mother worked in a hair salon, and like every proud mother she enjoyed boasting to the clients that her son was about to beat Mike Tyson. The modest Buster Douglas had to keep reminding her that Tyson was a little different from his previous opponents, a little more dangerous.
23 days before the fight, Douglas's mum died, so he made a promise to his mother that he'd win the fight.
The fight was a ferocious battle from the beginning. In the eighth round, Tyson landed a right uppercut that knocked Douglas down. The world sat at the edge of their chairs while Douglas struggled to his feet, the referee shouting the count 7...8...9. Douglas stood up on the ninth count, legs like jelly while Tyson stood ready to charge him down. But before Tyson could get near Douglas, he was saved by the bell.
Tyson came out aggressively in a dramatic ninth round, and continued his aggressive attempts to finish the fight. Both fighters traded punches before Douglas connected with a combination that staggered Tyson back to the ropes. With Tyson hurt, Douglas unleashed a vicious assault trying to finish off a dazed Tyson, but astonishingly, Tyson withstood the punishment surviving the ninth round. Douglas dominated the tenth round from the start. Setting Tyson up with his jab, Douglas caught him with a huge uppercut followed by a combination that knocked Tyson down for the first time in his career. Tyson struggled to his knees, blindly trying to find his mouthpiece. He awkwardly attempted to place it back into his mouth while he failed to beat the ten count. Buster Douglas had just surprised the world.
What Douglas had discovered, like when Mohammed Ali used the 'rope-a-dope' to beat the giant George Forman, was that to beat Mike Tyson, you had to outlast him. You had to survive the first few rounds and catch him in the later rounds. If Mike couldn't intimidate you and knock you out in the first few rounds, he'd lose heart.
So what's the moral of the story? There are some things in life that you just need to outlast. In order to win there will be some periods through your life when you just need to survive. If you're battling through unemployment, studying for exams, working long hours or trying to win difficult clients, keep trying. Winston Churchill once famously said: "If you're going through hell, keep going."