Mike Tyson once claimed he was inspired by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini when recording a rap for Madonna.
The former world heavyweight boxing champion is one of the most influential and controversial characters in the history of popular culture and has managed to transcend sport.
Mike Tyson was an icon in and out of the ringGetty Images Sport Classic – Getty
As a teenage prodigy, Tyson would leave far bigger and older opponents asleep on the canvas with his devastating power punches, but he also made a name for himself outside of the ring.
The enigmatic and charismatic superstar is perhaps far more intelligent than he is given credit for – often quoting famous historical figures like Alexander the Great.
Speaking about his involvement on Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ album alongside Chance The Rapper on the song ‘Iconic’, the 54-year-old admitted he found himself mesmerised by Mussolini.
He told Rolling Stone: “When I did it, I think about being some guy like [Benito] Mussolini and they’re really arrogant, but you try to come from a positive perspective and be uplifting.
“You watch Mussolini on television — even though we don’t understand what he’s saying — he is so mesmerising. I look at myself in that way.”
Tyson collaborated with Madonna on her ‘Rebel Heart’ albumGetty Images – Getty
The infamous Italian founded the National Fascist Party and inspired other totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco.
Tyson has often found inspiration from political figures, tattooing profiles of Chairman Mao Zedong and Che Guevara onto his body.
But it was Mussolini who inspired his opening lyrics on ‘Iconic’.
He added: “I know people may say, ‘This guy’s a fascist’ and all this stuff, but man, you can take positivity from watching him.
“No wonder why Hitler was attracted to him. This guy’s a hypnotic figure. There’s so much pride behind what he’s saying.
“I’m not even Italian and I feel the pride he’s projecting. He had that street swag; he was doing this stuff with his hands and moving his head before it was even hip-hop.”
MIKE TYSON’S RAP IN ‘ICONIC’
Tyson showed off his rap skills on Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ album
I’m the best the world has ever seen (I’m the best ever!)
I’m somebody you’ll never forget ’cause I work hard and sweat in my tears (Can’t be stopped!)
I’m never falling again and if I did, I’d come back
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