Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out Characters

Matt Kasper


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mike tyson in punchout for nes

If you were a kid in the late eighties or early nineties, chances are, the Nintendo Entertainment System was your gateway to countless adventures. Among those, “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” stood out as a cult classic, a gem in the realm of video gaming. Released in 1987, it wasn’t just the first of the Punch-Out series to grace a console; it was a rite of passage for many of us.

I can still vividly recall the first time I gripped the controller, guiding Little Mac through a gauntlet of larger-than-life boxers. Remember how King Hippo burst onto the screen, eliciting peals of laughter with his comical antics and those unforgettable shorts-dropping moments? That was the magic of this NES classic – a magic that, despite attempts in later console generations like “Super Punch-Out” on the Super Nintendo, was never quite replicated.

So, let’s stroll down memory lane together. Here’s the roll call of all the characters from “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” on the NES, in the order they challenged our beloved Little Mac.

Each of the 14 fighters brought something unique to the ring, from quirky personalities to distinctive fighting styles. Let’s go through each boxer in order starting with the Minor Circuit.

Minor Circuit Fighters

#1 Glass Joe

Glass Joe in Mike Tyson's Punch Out
glass joe getting punched in mike tysons punchout
Glass Joe TKO in Tyson's punchout

Record: 1-99
Personality: Determined
Fighting Style: Predictable
Specialty Move: None

Glass Joe is the quintessential underdog, a fighter whose record is as fragile as his name suggests. Stepping into the ring with him is like a tutorial in disguise. He’s the guy who teaches you the ropes – how to dodge, weave, and counterpunch with finesse.

Did you know? Glass Joe’s only win (1-99 record) is rumored to be against a certain character who only appears in the arcade version of the game? It adds a layer of mystery to his otherwise open book of a boxing career!

#2 Von Kaiser

von kaiser from mike tyson's punchout
von kaiser uppercut punch in punchout
von kaiser tko in punch out

Record: 23-13
Personality: Disciplined
Fighting Style: Aggressive
Specialty Move: Head Wiggle Jab

The stern-faced German boxer steps into the ring as your second challenge. He’s a step up from Glass Joe, bringing a hint of seriousness to the fight. With his military-style mustache and knock-kneed stance, he might intimidate newbies who are still getting the hang of dodging.

Did you know? Von Kaiser is portrayed as a boxing instructor in the Wii version of Punch-Out, giving him a bit of a background in teaching the art of the sweet science.

#3 Piston Honda

piston honda punchout
piston honda rush punch
piston honda tko punchout

Record: 21 -1
Personality: Disciplined
Fighting Style: Hard-hitting, Fast-paced
Specialty: Honda Rush

This Tokyo powerhouse brings a whole new level of intensity to the ring. His punches pack a wallop, and if you’re not careful, his uppercuts could spell a swift end to your boxing aspirations. Keep a sharp eye out for his signature move, the “Honda Rush” – a blistering jab combination that could send Little Mac reeling if it lands.

Fun Fact! Piston Honda is known for his distinctive eyebrow wiggle before throwing powerful punches, a quirky trait that has become iconic among fans of the game.

Major Circuit Fighters

#4 Don Flamenco

don flamenco punchout nes
don flamenco throws a punch
don flamenco ko tyson punchout

Record: 22-3
Personality: Flamboyant
Fighting Style: Defensive
Specialty Move: Flamenco Uppercut

He’s the first boxer Little Mac faces in the Major Circuit and boy, does he make an entrance. With a rose clenched in his teeth, Flamenco taunts and goads you into making the first move. And when you do, watch out for his deadly uppercut. But with a bit of practice, you’ll find he’s not as tough as he looks. Once you get the timing down, Don Flamenco can be one of the quickest KOs in the game.

Fun Fact! Don Flamenco’s character is a nod to the stereotype of the romantic Spanish toreador, complete with a rose in his mouth during the fight intro.

#5 King Hippo

king hippo from mike tysons punchout
king hippo pants fall down punchout
king hippo tko tyson punch-out

Record: 18-9
Personality: Comical
Fighting Style: Slow but Powerful
Specialty Move: Hippo Rush

King Hippo – what a character! A personal favorite of many (myself included), he’s an unforgettable presence in the game. With his massive frame, gaping mouth, and those iconic oversized shorts, he’s as hilarious as he is imposing. The key to defeating King Hippo lies in his attire – land the right punch, and his shorts drop, leaving him vulnerable. “X marks the spot,” indeed – a hint that has saved many a Little Mac from defeat.

Did You Know? King Hippo’s character design was inspired by the simplistic, exaggerated style of characters from Saturday morning cartoons, making him a standout in the game.

#6 Great Tiger

great tiger punch out
great tiger teleport punch
great tiger tko in tyson's punchout

Record: 24-5
Personality: Mysterious
Fighting Style: Unpredictable
Specialty Move: Teleport Punch

Then comes Great Tiger, a mystical and challenging opponent on the Major Circuit. Hailing from India, he adds a touch of the supernatural to the game with his magical abilities. His quick left counter jab is tricky, and his teleporting punch – is the stuff of nightmares for first-timers. Keep an eye on his turban; it flickers before he strikes, giving you just enough warning to brace yourself.

Fun Fact! Great Tiger’s teleporting punch and the glowing jewel on his turban were some of the first instances of ‘magical’ elements being incorporated into a boxing game, blending fantasy with sports.

#7 Bald Bull

bald bull boxer from tysons punchout
bald bull sets up his bull charge move
bald bull tko tyson punch out

Record: 34-4
Personality: Intimidating
Fighting Style: Power-focused
Specialty Move: Bull Charge

Bald Bull, the brute from Istanbul, is a force to be reckoned with. He’s one of those characters that can make a first-timer’s palms sweat. Remember the frustration of facing him? His Bull Charge was the bane of many players, causing countless moments of rage and flying controllers. The trick lies in the audience – watch for a camera flash in the crowd as he charges. That’s your cue to throw the perfect punch.

Fun Fact! Bald Bull’s Bull Charge move is unique in the game, making him one of the most memorable opponents.

World Circuit Fighters

#8 Piston Honda

piston honda world circuit punchout
piston honda uppercut punch in tysons punchout
piston honda gets stunned by a punch

Record: 26-2
Personality: Disciplined
Fighting Style: Enhanced Defense
Specialty Move: Honda Rush

Piston Honda makes a comeback in the World Circuit, and he’s not messing around this time. He’s honed his skills, presenting a much tougher challenge than before. His defensive abilities are sharper, and his attacks are more aggressive. It’s a true test of how far you’ve come since your first encounter with him.

Did You Know? Piston Honda’s return match symbolizes a step up in gameplay difficulty, illustrating the progression of both Little Mac and the player’s skills.

#9 Soda Popinski

soda popinski in tysons punchout nes
soda popinski punches little mac
soda popinski gets knocked out

Record: 33-2
Personality: Menacing
Fighting Style: Powerful and Taunting
Specialty Move: Triple Jab Juke

Soda Popinski, with his towering presence and infamous evil laugh, is a memorable character in the World Circuit. Originally known as Vodka Drunkenski, his name was changed for obvious reasons. He’s tough, with blows that can deplete your health significantly. But with agile dodging and quick counterattacks, he’s beatable. Keep on your toes, and don’t let that laugh get to you.

Did You Know? Soda Popinski’s original name, Vodka Drunkenski, is a nod to his Russian origins and was altered in the transition to the NES for a more family-friendly image.

#10 Bald Bull

bald bull 2 mike tyson punchout
little mac uppercuts bald bull
bald bull gut punch

Record: 34-5
Personality: Intimidating
Fighting Style: Relies Heavily on Bull Charge
Specialty Move: Bull Charge

Bald Bull returns for a rematch, and this time, he’s even more daunting. This version of Bald Bull in the World Circuit is a true test of patience and skill. His Bull Charge is more ferocious than ever, and countering it requires impeccable timing. The key to beating him lies in mastering the counter to his Bull Charge or delivering a perfectly timed uppercut. It’s a match that tests your mettle to the fullest.

Fun Fact! Bald Bull’s Bull Charge is faster and more unpredictable, making it a notorious challenge among players.

#11 Don Flamenco

don flamenco 2 punch out
don flamenco blocks little mac's punch
don flamenco jab punch

Record: 22-4
Personality: Flamboyant
Fighting Style: Improved Defense
Specialty Move: Counter Uppercut

Don Flamenco dances back into the ring for a second bout. This time, he’s less of a flamboyant show-off and more of an annoyance with significantly improved defense. You might find yourself going into the second round against him, but compared to others in the World Circuit, he doesn’t pose a major threat. It’s a test of endurance and an exercise in chipping away at his defenses.

Fun Fact! In this rematch, Don Flamenco’s fighting style shifts to reflect a more seasoned and cautious boxer, contrasting his earlier flamboyance.

#12 Mr. Sandman

mr sandman from mike tysons punch out
mr sandman dreamland express punch
mr sandman tko punchout

Record: 27-2
Personality: Mean
Fighting Style: Unrelenting
Specialty Move: Counter Uppercut

Enter Mr. Sandman, a titan among the roster of “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” characters. With his intimidating demeanor and an arsenal of punishing moves, including the dreaded Dreamland Express, he’s a nightmare for many players. His quick and powerful uppercuts can catch you off guard, making the first few encounters with him a daunting task.

Did You Know? Mr. Sandman’s Dreamland Express is one of the most feared moves in the game, symbolizing the pinnacle of challenge in the boxing ring.

#13 Super Macho Man

super macho man punchout nes
super macho man 360 punch
super macho man tko

Record: 35-0
Personality: Confident
Fighting Style: Fast and Flashy
Specialty Move: 360 Macho Punch

Super Macho Man is the last “boss” before the final challenge, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. Facing him for the first time is like a brutal lesson in advanced Punch-Out tactics. His ultra-fast uppercuts will test your reflexes, and his signature “Macho Punch” – a devastating spinning attack – can easily send Little Mac flying. And yes, those dancing pec muscles are both amusing and, admittedly, a bit distracting. It takes focus and quick reflexes to counter his flamboyant style.

Fun Fact! Super Macho Man’s character is a nod to the flashy, showy side of professional boxing, complete with theatrical moves and a larger-than-life personality.

#14 Mike Tyson

mike tyson in punch-out
mike tyson throwing hooks punchout
mike tyson gets tko in punchout

Record: 31-0
Personality: Fierce, Menacing
Fighting Style: Extremely Aggressive
Specialty Move: Flash Hooks, Wink Jab

Finally, there’s Mike Tyson, the ultimate challenge of the game. His punches have the power of a sledgehammer, capable of a TKO with almost every hit. As a kid growing up playing this game, the first encounter with Tyson is heart-pounding and nerve-racking – it’s a true test of everything you’ve learned. You might need a handful, a dozen, or even more, tries to figure out his pattern and finally beat him. It’s a rite of passage in gaming to say you’ve conquered Mike Tyson in Punch-Out.

Fun Fact! Mike Tyson was at the peak of his boxing career when this game was released, adding a layer of real-world awe and challenge to facing him in the virtual ring.

Mike Tyson Punch-Out Codes

In the golden era of NES gaming, “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” was a title that had players scouring for cheat codes. Before the era of internet guides, we relied on whispered secrets in school corridors, scribbled notes, and eagerly awaited video game magazine tips. These codes were like hidden treasures, giving us a fighting chance to face the toughest boxers, and for some, the only way to come face-to-face with Mike Tyson himself. Remember the thrill of entering these codes and skipping straight to the major challenges? Here are some of the most sought-after codes for “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out”:

  • Start at Major Circuit – 005 737 542
  • Start at World Circuit – 777 807 345
  • Start at Super Macho Man – 940 861 853
  • Fight Mike Tyson – 007 373 596
  • Access Another World Circuit – 135 792 4680 with A+B+select
  • Hear Busy Signal – 800 422 2602

Mike Tyson’s Involvement

When talking about “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!”, how can we not mention the legend himself – Mike Tyson? In the 1980s, Tyson wasn’t just a boxer; he was an icon, the youngest ever to win the heavyweight title. With a fierce reputation and a string of knockouts under his belt, he was more than a sports star; he was a cultural phenomenon. His matches weren’t just fights; they were blockbuster events, drawing eyes from all corners of the globe.

mike tyson playing nes

Nintendo’s move to secure Tyson’s name and likeness for the game was a stroke of genius. It wasn’t just about having a strong character in a video game; it was about capturing the essence of a boxing legend in the pixelated world of the NES. Tyson’s presence lent an air of authenticity and excitement to the game, making it a magnet for not just gamers, but also boxing enthusiasts and casual fans. It bridged the gap between the digital and the real, between a sports simulation and the visceral thrill of boxing.

Tyson’s inclusion was pivotal in elevating “Punch-Out!!” from a mere boxing game to a cultural milestone. It’s arguable that without Tyson’s menacing avatar waiting at the end of the game, “Punch-Out!!” might not have reached its legendary status. His likeness didn’t just add a face to the final challenge; it added a sense of achievement and prestige to conquering the game. Beating “Punch-Out!!” meant you had symbolically taken down one of the most formidable boxers in history – a feat that resonated with players and contributed to the game’s enduring legacy.

Punch-Out!!: A Timeless Gaming Legacy

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” is more than just a game; it’s a cultural touchstone that has left an indelible mark on the world of gaming. Its massive success paved the way for a series of sequels and remakes, each carrying the torch of its unique blend of charm and challenge. The legacy includes titles like “Super Punch-Out” for the Super Nintendo and “Punch-Out” for the Wii, each adding new layers to the beloved formula.

But the influence of “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” extends beyond its direct sequels. It has inspired a whole genre of boxing and sports games, setting a high bar for intuitive gameplay, engaging characters, and a perfect blend of fun and challenge.

Reflecting on its impact, it’s clear that “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” did more than entertain; it helped cement Nintendo’s status as a titan in the video game industry. Its combination of Tyson’s star power, innovative gameplay, and captivating graphics didn’t just create a great game; it created a legend. A legend that continues to resonate, proving that some games don’t just age – they transcend time.