Boxing heavyweight Mike Tyson has said he suffered from the same lack of hope as UK teens involved in knife crime before he found his sport.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Tyson weighed in on the knife crime epidemic debate, admitting he could understand the mindset of those involved.
Tyson was arrested numerous times as a teen for fighting and other crimes before his boxing talent was discovered, and also served time in prison for rape in the early 90s after becoming famous.
Host Piers Morgan told him: “I think you’re someone who could be a powerful voice for [youth involved in knife crime], you’re someone who’s been in those shoes, run in those shoes, fought in those shoes.”
Tyson answered: “They have to believe there’s hope and life. They don’t believe there’s any hope and life. They don’t believe there’s hope for a better life or they wouldn’t conduct themselves that way.
“The only reason I conducted myself that way is because I didn’t realise I had hope for a better life. Then I started boxing and I saw hope.
“Other than that I thought people’s life didn’t mean anything and all that stuff too.”
Read more: UK knife crime at highest level since 2009
He added: “I was the same way as these kids, I used to be in gangs, I used to have guns, I used to shoot at people, I used to be shot at and all that stuff.
“I don’t want to live my life that way any more.”
‘If you put five people in a room that don’t like each other, they smoke cannabis, they will start taking selfies with each other.’@MikeTyson has launched his own cannabis business and disputes the side effects of the drug. pic.twitter.com/8WXwfhvMBp
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) April 29, 2019
Tyson has recently announced plans to set up a marijuana resort in California, where cannabis has been legalised, and extolled the virtues of the drug.
He claimed: “I don’t believe it has any negative effects. Maybe you might go to sleep while you have a business meeting or something, but other than going to sleep I don’t see a negative effect.
“No one’s ever known to smoke a joint of cannabis and killed the whole house. You put five people in a room that don’t like each other, they smoke cannabis, they start taking selfies with one another. You put some alcohol in the room with those five people who don’t like each other, they’re going to kill each other.”