From the rooftops of Jersey City to the streets of Brooklyn, boxing legend Mike Tyson reconnects with his roots and returns to his childhood love – pigeons – on the Canadian premiere of TAKING ON TYSON. Premiering on April 7 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT and continuing Thursdays on Animal Planet, this six-part docudrama offers a revealing look at the highly competitive, bizarrely fascinating subculture of pigeon racing. The stakes are high in a sport that has just as much machismo as boxing. But this time it’s not about the money – it’s about bragging rights.
Heavyweight boxing legend and surprise star of The Hangover, Mike Tyson has always loved breeding and raising pigeons. These birds have been an integral part of his life from childhood, and in fact, Tyson threw his first punch when a neighbourhood bully killed one of his beloved pigeons right in front of him. Tyson has held a lifelong passion for raising pigeons – they’ve provided him with solace, tranquility and escape throughout his difficult childhood and tumultuous life. Now, along with a band of close friends who share his love for these avian athletes, he enters the fascinating realm of pigeon racing on TAKING ON TYSON.
“The first thing I ever loved in my life was a pigeon. I don’t know why…Pigeons are a part of my life. It’s a constant with my sanity in a weird way; this is just what I do. If I’m lucky enough to die an old man, I’m going to have birds.” – Mike Tyson
Highlights from the first three episodes of TAKING ON TYSON include:
TAKING ON TYSON: “Mike’s Homecoming”
Thursday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT
Deep in the heart of Jersey City, there’s a rooftop that is probably Mike Tyson’s favourite place in the world. Together with a group of close friends, Tyson takes on the best and goes on an extraordinary personal journey, competing with the birds he has loved since he was a child. Tyson also revisits the key places of his youth, including his first detention center.
TAKING ON TYSON: “Mike Gets Ready to Rumble”
Thursday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT
Mike Tyson is on journey not only to find peace within but also to take on a new challenge – to become a pigeon racer. With a new coach to guide him, Tyson and his team enter their first race competing against two big characters from the New York scene. Tyson also visits childhood friends and rehashes the good and bad times they had on the streets – with a big reveal about the heavyweight champs’ checkered past.
TAKING ON TYSON: “The Birth of Team Tyson”
Thursday, April 21 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT
With the help of his team, Mike Tyson now wants to put something back into the community he came from. He’s challenged three of the most prestigious pigeon clubs in New York to a high profile charity race to benefit kids from deprived neighborhoods.