Norwegian teacher and local politician Roy Bø was recently at an international pigeon enthusiasts’ conference in Netherlands when he received a rather out-of-the-ordinary business proposal.
A breeder representing boxing legend Mike Tyson approached Bø and offered to buy three of his Janssen pigeons, called “without question the number one racing pigeon strain in the world”, for €5,000 a pop. The total purchase is worth about 140,000 kroner.
Bø, who has bred pigeons for 36 years, told local newspaper Strilen that the breeder representing the former heavyweight world champion “went wild” when he saw that the Norwegian had the sought-after breed.
The Norwegian said he agreed to select three prime specimens from his 130 Janssen pigeons and send them to Tyson in Las Vegas.
Tyson is widely considered one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time and eded his preofessional career with a record of 50-6-2, with 44 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
‘Iron Mike’ has been interested in pigeons since his childhood and even starred in an Animal Planet TV series called ‘Taking on Tyson’ that followed his competitions in pigeon racing.
The first thing I ever loved in my life – the pigeon,” he said in a 2011 interview. “They’re so much like people.”
The 49-year-old retired champ told Details magazine in 2001 that his first ever fight was a result of a younger kid in his Brooklyn neighbourhood ripping the head off of one of Tyson’s beloved pigeons.