Buster Douglas is the American boxer who is best known for having defeated the undefeatable Mike Tyson in Tokyo, Japan on February 11th of 1990.
Douglas may be famous for his most shocking victory against “Iron Mike,” but he is just as well known for the steep decline his career took shortly after.
Although he may not spend much time in the public eye anymore, the impact that Douglas has had on boxing history serves as one of the sport’s greatest underdog stories.
What Is Buster Douglas’s Net Worth?
Buster Douglas has a net worth of $15 million at this time, which he mostly earned during his time as a professional boxer.
Douglas earned $3 million when he won against Mike Tyson, and he received $24.1 million for simply fighting Evander Holyfield.
When accounting for inflation, Douglas’s purse money for fighting Holyfield would equate to about $43.5 million today.
Between both of Douglas’s best-known fights, his highest career paychecks would equal nearly $56 million if he had fought these battles in recent years.
James “Buster” Douglas was a second-generation boxer, with his father being William “Dynamite” Douglas.
Douglas was born and raised in the Linden neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio where his famous father ran a gym at the Blackburn Recreation Center.
During his teenage years, Douglas was an active basketball and football player at McKinley High School and would lead his school to a Class AAA championship in 1977.
Douglas’s basketball skills helped him earn a scholarship to Coffeyville Community College in Kentucky.
His college basketball career was sent back to Ohio when he began playing for Sinclair Community College.
He eventually played hard enough to earn himself another scholarship to help him continue his education and his basketball career at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Buster Douglas’s dedication to athleticism helped him achieve an impressive education and allowed him to see inner-city citizens living across multiple states.
All the time that he spent in the city and his local recreation center would leave an impact on him for years to come and would eventually become the cause that he focused on after retiring.
However, Douglas knew that he needed to get back into the ring.
He wanted to create a boxing character that would make his father and his hometown proud.
Starting As A Rookie Boxer
Buster Douglas may have been the new challenger at his local boxing ring, but he wasn’t like any of the rookies who came before him.
After training under his father William “Dynamite” Douglas, Douglas started his boxing career off with a bang after defeating Dan O’Malley in only four rounds.
Douglas would go on to win four more fights in a row before suffering his first defeat from David Bey.
His fight against Bey proved to be a small hiccup in his career when he then went on to win six more fights in a row.
After an incredibly heated match between Buster Douglas and Steffen Tangstad in October of 1982, the match ended in a draw.
Douglas went on a two-year victory streak, despite having fought mostly older and more well-known boxers.
During this time, Douglas fought Jesse Clark on three different occasions and knocked the boxer out each time.
One of the most important fights of Douglas’s career up to this point was against Randall “Tex” Cobb, who was a former heavyweight contender.
Although both boxers fought hard, it was Douglas who would come out on top through a majority decision.
This was the boxing match that allowed him to face former heavyweight champion Greg Page, which allowed him to have his first shot at the International Boxing Federation championship after he defeated Page.
Once Douglas got the championship, he was quickly defeated by Tony Tucker in the 10th round after losing the steam to fight.
This fight showed Douglas that he needed a new team and trainer backing him up, so he decided to fire his father as his trainer.
With his new team behind him, Douglas went on to win four matches in a row.
He went on to defeat Trevor Berbick and Oliver McCall by unanimous decision.
James “Buster” Douglas Vs. “Iron Mike” Tyson
After fighting his way through all the other big-name competitors in professional boxing, it was time for Buster Douglas to fight one of the most dangerous boxers in the professional sport’s history in 1990.
Although the fight was expected to be an easy win for “Iron Mike” Tyson, it ended up being one of the greatest underdog stories of all time.
The match was being held at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
The majority of those who planned to watch the match were so sure that Mike Tyson was going to win that many of the Las Vegas casinos didn’t even hold any betting for the event.
While most people didn’t expect Douglas to last more than 90 seconds in the ring, he went on to prove his critics wrong very early into the match.
Only five rounds in, Mike Tyson had taken so many right jabs to the eye by Buster Douglas that his left eye had begun to swell shut.
Tyson’s team hadn’t expected Douglas to land even a single punch on the legendary boxer, so they were completely unprepared and didn’t even bring an ice pack.
Instead of getting an ice pack, Tyson had a rubber glove filled with cold water taped to his head.
By the end of the match, Tyson couldn’t even see out of his left eye because of all the swelling.
Despite his injuries, Tyson continued the match and managed to land a single right uppercut that was powerful enough to knock Douglas down for a moment.
Buster Douglas landed a brutal uppercut on Tyson, which stunned the veteran boxer.
This allowed Douglas to get in a four-punch combo to Tyson’s head and knocked Tyson out for the first time in the legend’s career.
Douglas was named the new heavyweight champion.
Falling To Evander Holyfield
Buster Douglas had gained an entirely new level of fame after he took down Mike Tyson.
Douglas was being offered brand deals and merchandise and was the talk of the town for bringing Tyson’s reign as champion to an end.
With this newfound fame came a new wave of contenders who wanted to see if they had what it took to defeat the man who ended Mike Tyson’s career, and Douglas was more than willing to show them all what he was made of.
Buster Douglas had managed to show the world that he had the strength to beat Mike Tyson, but it quickly became apparent that Douglas fell into the same trap that Tyson had.
What would end both of these boxers’ careers would be their overconfidence.
As a champion, Douglas felt like he was the king of the world.
Like Tyson, he began to practice less and indulge himself more.
By October of 1990, Buster Douglas was entered in the first match to end his reign as heavyweight champion.
However, it was apparent that Douglas had gained a noticeable amount of weight and was not able to move as quickly.
In this fight, Douglas had become the careless champion, and “The Real Deal” Evander Holyfield was the prepared opponent.
From the very beginning of the match, it was clear that Holyfield had more speed and power than Douglas.
In the second round, Douglas attempted an uppercut on Holyfield.
With Holyfield being much faster than Douglas, he was able to dodge the weak attack and use the attack as an opportunity to get a close shot.
Holyfield swiftly countered Douglas’s attack and knocked Douglas out flat on his back.
The defeat was so devastating to Buster Douglas that he decided to retire after that match.
Fighting Medical Battles
Buster Douglas had been suffering from depression for a long time before his disastrous match against Evander Holyfield, but it was the loss of his career that caused him to spiral into a self-destructive cycle of overeating and self-loathing.
By 1994, Douglas was taken to an Ohio hospital where he stayed in a diabetic coma for three days.
After he awoke from his coma, the once-champion knew that he needed to take better care of himself or else he could land himself in a worse position.
When Douglas had come to consciousness, he was informed that his diagnosis was Type 1 diabetes, was severely overweight, and he had an extremely high blood sugar count.
Douglas being in fighting shape was long in the past by this point.
Looking back at how he handled losing to Evander Holyfield, Douglas was shocked and disappointed with himself for throwing a “pity party” over a “silly” fight.
The heavyweight champion now knows that if he had allowed those close to him to know what was going through his mind instead of building “a wall around” himself, he could have handled the situation much better.
Although the loss of his title was the final nail in the coffin, it was a victory that dragged him down mentally.
Only three weeks before his fight with Tyson, Douglas’s mother Lula Pearl had passed away, and his father had a serious argument with him.
Douglas thought that everything would be much better once he won the championship and became famous, but instead, he found that fame only brought snakes who wanted to strangle all the revenue they could get out of him.
Two years after his coma, Buster Douglas had lost 200 pounds and began being more open about his mental health struggles.
Teaming Up With Sega
The bitter rivalry that was boiling in the 1990s between “Iron Mike” Tyson and James “Buster” Douglas wasn’t the only rivalry that came to a boiling point at this time.
Before these boxers entered the ring, the gaming rivalry between Nintendo and Sega burned wildly.
The 1990s were a bold time for Sega, which had been outselling Nintendo in the console wars for multiple years in a row.
At this time, the spunky gaming company was known for its catchy yet critical catchphrase, “Sega do what Nintendon’t.”
These gaming companies were matching each other beat for beat at the time, with the Sega Genesis proving to be a fierce competitor to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
On many occasions, the gaming companies would share games of similar style that contrasted with the opposing company’s version of a game.
The best example of this was Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out and James “Buster” Douglas’s Knockout Boxing.
Both games were titles previously released as stand-alone arcade games that added famous boxers to their titles when bringing them to home consoles.
Like the Sega Genesis, James “Buster” Douglas’s Knockout Boxing was meant to be seen as the mature version of Punch-Out.
While the younger siblings played around with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, the older siblings were playing harder games like James “Buster” Douglas’s Knockout Boxing.
This game was a 2D boxing game, inspired by Punch-Out.
The “A” would control the right fist, the “B” controlled the left fist, and the “C” button initiated a block.
Like Buster Douglas himself, Sega got to experience a short stint where they ruled the gaming market before crumbling like Douglas.
Although Sega may have had to pull out of the console wars with Nintendo, they’ve made a major comeback as a strictly game development company.
A New Career In Film
Like all great athletes, Buster Douglas was ready to try his hand at acting only two years after winning and losing the title of heavyweight champion.
Although he had mostly kept out of the public eye, he was willing to make an exception for one of his favorite shows.
The first acting role that Buster Douglas ever took on was a small speaking role as a prison inmate for the cop show Street Justice, featuring Carl Weathers, Bryan Genesse, and Charlene Fernetz.
While this may have been his last time on television, it wasn’t his last time acting.
In 2002, the heavyweight champion starred in his own science fiction film called Pluto’s Plight where he played Agent Leis.
The film focuses on a young girl who is having visions of what life is like on Pluto, which are meant to serve as a warning for Earth.
It is up to Agent Leis to decipher the young girl’s dream and stop the alien from taking over the planet.
Although the aliens come to Earth offering information about how to save the Earth’s Ozone layer, their true intentions are revealed through the dreams of the young girl.
Buster Douglas’s love of science fiction would rise again in 2018 when he played a priest in the short From Gettysburg to Baghdad.
The story of this short film is that of a time machine that causes the lives of two soldiers to cross.
The short film was written and directed by Artie Knapp.
The cast included Christine Jones, Patrick Taft, Donald Smith, Natalie Hess, and Gary Chambers.
Douglas’s most recent acting work was in Jim Gloyd’s The Wager where the boxer plays a character named Tyrone.
The film watches Gloyd as Bruce after he loses a wager that sends him back in time.
Launching His Own CBD Line Of Products
In 2019, James “Buster” Douglas began selling his CBD production through his company CBD Health Collective.
His company started as a strictly online business that also sold products to physicians.
By September of 2021, CBD Health Collective had opened its first physical location in downtown Granville, Ohio.
Even CEO Ashley Marienau believed that Douglas’s star power helped expand the brand to what it is today.
Douglas joined CBD Health Collective alongside his brother.
The brothers have been wonderfully helpful to the medical marijuana company.
All of CBD Health Collective’s white label products have been endorsed by local sports heroes, such as National Football League linebacker Chris Spielman.
Buster Douglas found that this company’s CBD products work faster and more effectively than the pain medications that he’s been on for years.
As a boxing coach, Douglas had plenty of sore days and needed to be back on his feet so he could train his students with his signature hands-on approach.
Some of Douglas’s favorite productions from the company include their oil tinctures, gel capsule pills, and roll-on muscle gel.
CBD Health Collective is extremely particular about the hemp that they use in their product.
The hemp they use is grown organically from all over the world and uses Ohio locals for the contract work and manufacturing of their products.
Even the equipment they use to create their large line of products was created by Ohio inventors at Apeks Supercritical in Johnstown, Ohio.
While this may not be Douglas’s first business venture, it is by far his most successful business.
The champion did attempt to throw his hat into the ring of real estate, but Douglas has gone as far as to say “It didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I learned a lot. It was an experience.”
What Is Buster Douglas Up To These Days?
If a boxer can manage to live long enough to retire from boxing, they’ll live long enough to see themselves go from student to coach.
Although some people may see it as a less glamorous title, Buster Douglas’s favorite title that he’s ever earned is Coach.
Douglas coaches young boxers at the Thompson Community Center in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
Many of his students are young children, with some of his students starting as young as five years old.
It seems that his students are just as fond of him as he is of them, with one of his students named Colton Matson going as far as to claim, “Mike Tyson was the second-most-greatest boxer in the world to this day,” when compared to Coach Douglas.
The 11-year-old student who had worked with Douglas since he was only six years old also stated, “I really look up to Mike Tyson, but I don’t look up to him as much as Coach.”
When Douglas isn’t working with his young students in the community center, he is working with his nonprofit organization 42 to 1.
This organization focuses on forming ongoing strategic partnerships with those who are looking to improve workforce development, diversity, and soft skills for at-risk youth of Ohio.
In 2018, ESPN released a documentary on Buster Douglas’s uphill battle against Mike Tyson.
The film was also called 42 to 1 and has helped both Douglas’s story and his charity organization come back into the public eye.
Buster Douglas has tasted both victory and defeat, but the greatest feeling of all for the retired champion is being able to improve his home state and teach the next generation of fighters how to be powerful physically and mentally.