Mike Tyson spotted in Polish village buying pigeons

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has been spotted in the unlikely setting of a village in Poland, which he visited to buy pigeons from a local breeder.

The visit, which had not been publicly announced, was revealed after photos taken by one of those present appeared on social media.

Tyson has often spoken of his love of pigeons, which he has kept since he was a child growing up in New York. Yesterday, a Polish account on Instagram, teamhypetalk, announced that the ex-boxer had “flown specially to Piątnica…to buy 100 pigeons from a local dealer”.

Piątnica is a village of around 1,800 people in northeast Poland. In its post, teamhypetalk shared two photos of Tyson in the village alongside the pigeon breeder, as well as a screenshot of a message from the person who had sent the pictures.

The images quickly drew the attention of Polish media. State broadcaster TVP noted the contrast between Tyson’s surroundings in Piątnica compared to the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where a week earlier he had attended the fight between current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou.

Meanwhile, local news outlet MyLomza.pl set out to investigate the case. “From what we have established, not only Mike Tyson but also his friend from the US were in Piątnica,” wrote the website, which also published further images of the former boxer in the village with five other men.

Its reporters established that someone had called several veterinary offices in Łomża with a request to vaccinate over 100 pigeons in order to obtain health certificates necessary to export the birds to the United States.

However, when MyLomza.pl contacted the pigeon breeder to ask if he had finalised the deal to sell the pigeons to Tyson, the man refused to comment.

A może by tak rzucić wszystko i hodować jedwabniki?
Albo gołębie?https://t.co/guL0yO2PpY pic.twitter.com/GJDqKCVFMR

— Girolamo °●° 🌊🌊🌊°●° (@__Girolamo) November 8, 2023

Tyson has regularly spoken about his passion for pigeons, which he said were initially a way for him to escape from the bullying he endured as a child. The first time he got in a fight was when someone killed one of his animals.

“The guy ripped the head off my pigeon. This was the first thing I ever loved in my life, the pigeon,” he said.

“That was the first time I threw a punch. I have loved pigeons since I was nine. They were my escape. I was fat and ugly. Kids teased me all the time. The only joy I had was pigeons.”

Tyson also revealed that he had broken up with a former girlfriend after she cooked one of his pigeons and tried to make him eat it.

In 2011, a TV documentary series, Taking on Tyson, followed how the former boxer entered the world of competitive pigeon racing.

As well as his boxing exploits, Tyson is also well known in Poland as the brand ambassador for a popular line of energy drinks called Black.

There is a VERY popular energy drink in Poland called “Mike Tyson’s Black Sex Energy” 😳 pic.twitter.com/LZoyoHPQSV

— Macho Macho Sam (@superfacemitch) June 6, 2019

Poland has gained a growing reputation in the world of pigeon breeding. Last year, AFP reported that the country now has Europe’s largest community of pigeon breeders. It noted that pigeons good enough to compete in international tournaments are sold for up to 6,000 zloty (€1,350).

In March this year, Poland’s government announced that it was adding traditional pigeon breeding to the country’s List of Intangible National Heritage.

“Polish mail pigeons are world class,” said deputy culture minister Jarosław Sellin, quoted by Polskie Radio.

VIDEO: 🇵🇱 Pigeon racing is taking off in Poland, with breeders winning more international competitions and hoping their birds will fetch top prices. For some though it’s not about the money — „it often happens that less fortunate breeders who bought pigeons a bit by chance win” pic.twitter.com/MyqngIlcwm

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 27, 2022

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Main image credit: teamhypetalk/Instagram

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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