Mike Tyson seems to be enjoying something of a comeback these days. With his acting career and popular one-man show that tours the country, the former boxing champ finally seems to be getting some positive press.
Of course things were not always so good for Iron Mike, who was jailed in 1992 for rape and went to jail again in 1999 on assault charges, after which he was broke and struggling. Because of his financial problems, Tyson was forced to sell his 19,500-square-foot mansion on 58 acres in Southington, Ohio, where he’d lived since the 1980s. It was purchased by a TV marketer for $US1.3 million, but the guy never moved into it (he’s in jail for money laundering). The house sat vacant for years.
Photographer and urban explorer Johnny Joo tells Business Insider he knew about the estate for years, but it wasn’t until 2013 that he attempted to venture inside. At first he stopped by police, but he later obtained permission from the new owners, who purchased the mansion last year.
What Joo (pronounced “yoo”) found when he finally got inside the house was striking. Tyson’s grand estate lay in disrepair, a shadow of its former ’80s glitz and glamour. Still, it was impressive, and Joo shared his images with us. You can see more on his site or on his Facebook page. A new book of his urban-exploring photography is out now.
The first time Joo attempted to enter Tyson's abandoned mansion, he and a friend were arrested and given fines before they even got inside.
The mansion, which Tyson lived in in the 1980s and '90s, sat vacant since 1999, until late last year when it was finally sold. 'I had obtained permission from the current owner to document restoration progress,' Joo says. 'It's still in very good shape.'
The new owners plan to turn the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom estate into a church and a community center.
Yet all Joo could think about when he was inside was 'how many strippers hung out with tigers and all had wild parties.'
This living room used to have garish black and white tiger-striped carpeting, large pieces of furniture, and huge TVs.
'The pool was bigger than like three of my houses,' Joo says. According to People magazine, it's shaped like a boxing glove.
Vandals have gotten to the house. 'I'm sure at this point, most of the world is in the know of this mansion, and many are very intrigued by it,' says Joo.
'I love researching and documenting abandoned places, so of course a former world famous boxer's home would be on my list of things to photograph,' Joo says. 'The history and stories behind these places always fascinates me.'
'So many things ... are forgotten so easily,' he says. Joo calls his work 'historical preservation through photographs.'
'I enjoy the pure feeling of an eerie but calming silence, being tucked away from any life on the outside, while nobody knows you are there. It feels almost like life after humans, so quiet, and you can learn so much, coming to peace with the world around,' he says.
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