Earlier this week, we asked why Mike Tyson had a sliotar in his trophy cabinet?
ITV's Trevor McDonald met Tyson at his home in Las Vegas, and a glance at his trophy cabinet revealed that a sliotar held pride of place in front of his WBC heavyweight belt. Frustratingly McDonald did not question the provenance of the sliotar, meaning its origin remained a mystery. Until now.
It was revealed on Red FM's Neil Prenderville Show that the sliotar was gifted to Tyson at Thomond Park three years ago by caller Stephen. He met Tyson at a meet and greet in Thomond Park in October 2012. The event was strictly a chance to meet Tyson as he was not going to be signing any memorabilia.
In lieu of him receiving anything from Tyson, Stephen decided to give Tyson a gift. That gift was the sliotar in question, which he caught during the 2005 All Ireland final amid "a scuffle in Hill 16". We will allow Stephen to describe what happened when he took out the sliotar to give it to Mike:
Security said there were no signings, but I said "this is a present for Mike". I approached Mike and he thought it was a baseball. I said "no Mike, that's called a sliotar. It's played with a hurley, which is a stick, in an Irish game. That's a present for you". When I gave him the sliotar he was just like a young fella, " you giving me a present!?, like he never got a present in his life". Then he turned to his management and said, "I like this guy". I said to put that in your cabinet at home and said - now I was joking - that the "next time I meet you and ask what you did with that sliotar, and if you say you've lost it or you've thrown it away, we'll have to sort it out...the photographer said it's priceless what you've done there, by giving him a present.
Stephen had been wondering what Tyson had done with his sliotar, and was naturally excited when he realised it had not been lost.
It's like a message in a bottle, and I'm going mad Trevor McDonald didn't ask him - I suppose he didn't know what a sliotar was - why the ball is there? I'd been worried for three years as to what he'd done with it.
To Stephen, the remarkable story revealed Tyson's true nature:
He is a big softie. That's why, I think, he's been ripped off over the years".
Stephen reveals that he would love to get in contact with Tyson, and revealed that he has a picture of himself along with Tyson and the sliotar.
You can listen to the full interview here.