It was only the second loss for Tyson, 30, in 47 professional contests and his first in five undertaken since being paroled from the Indiana Youth Centre in March last year after serving three years for the rape of a beauty queen contestant.
As Tyson is considered to be one of the most powerful punchers heavyweight boxing has ever known, achieving 39 of his victories inside the distance, little hope was held out for Holyfield, the 1984 Olympic silver medallist, who was reported to have a cardiac problem in 1994 after losing the WBA and International Boxing Federation titles to Michael Moorer.
There was so much anxiety over Holyfield that the Nevada State Athletic Commission would not sanction the contest until he underwent tests at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. "I put my trust in God," Holyfield a deeply religious man, said afterwards. There is likely to be a re-match next year.
Flat out: Tyson goes down in the 11th round Photograph: Jeff Scheid/AP
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