New details emerge as man in Mike Tyson plane fight takes action

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Mike Tyson, pictured here after leaving the man with cuts on his head.
Mike Tyson left the man with cuts on his head. Image: TMZ Sports

The man at the centre of an ugly incident on a plane with Mike Tyson has reportedly hired lawyers and could sue the boxing champion.

Video went viral on Friday of the moment Tyson started pummelling a fellow plane passenger who appeared to be harassing him.

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The man, identified as Melvin Townsend III, has now hired legal representation.

Lawyer Matt Morgan presented Townsend's side of the events on the fateful JetBlue flight, which ended with Townsend sporting bloody cuts on his head and Tyson reportedly exiting the plane.

"Our client is a big Mike Tyson fan. When Mike Tyson boarded the plane, he became overly excited," Morgan told TMZ.

"At first, their interaction was cordial. At a certain point, Mr Tyson clearly became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him in an excessive manner.

"This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting the flight attendant.

"Our client denies throwing a water bottle prior to being struck by Mr Tyson."

Tyson's camp had previously alleged that Townsend threw a water bottle at Tyson.

"Unfortunately, Mr Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat," they told ESPN.

Melvin Townsend, pictured here goading Mike Tyson before the brawl.
Melvin Townsend was allegedly goading Mike Tyson before the brawl. Image: TMZ Sports

Video of the incident was published by TMZ on Friday and shows Townsend repeatedly bothering Tyson, who was sitting in the row in front of him.

Some time later, video shows Tyson turning back towards Townsend and raining punches down on him, then the aftermath of a stunned-looking Townsend showing his wounds.

The alleged water bottle throwing is not seen.

Morgan told TMZ that Tyson should have exercised greater restraint considering his well-known punching power.

"To state the obvious, as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Mr Tyson should have exercised greater restraint before using his hands on an overly excited fan," he added.

Mike Tyson, pictured here exiting the ring after his fight against Roy Jones Jr in 2020.
Mike Tyson exits the ring after his fight against Roy Jones Jr in 2020. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller)

Witness claims man was goading Mike Tyson

A witness reportedly told TMZ that Townsend was heavily intoxicated and wouldn't stop trying to goad Tyson in his seat.

"The witness tells us Mike took a selfie with him ... and then was patient with his overly excited buddy, who kept trying to talk to the 55-year-old fighter as he sat behind him," TMZ said.

"Eventually, though, we're told Tyson had enough of the guy behind him talking in his ear ... and told him to chill.

"When the guy didn't, that's when the witness says Tyson started to throw several punches at the man's face."

Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990 and remains the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title.

In 1996 he joined Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Tim Witherspoon, Evander Holyfield and George Foreman as the only men in boxing history to regain a world heavyweight championship after losing it.

He has not boxed professionally since 2005, however the 55-year-old has taken part in a number of exhibition bouts in the years since, most recently facing fellow champion Roy Jones Jr in November 2020.

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