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04 Apr 2003 00:00
Plans for a world heavyweight title rematch between the World Boxing Council champion Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson have fallen through, at least for now, and talks have begun to put together a bill on June 21 involving both men against different opponents.
Provided Lewis and Tyson both win, their televison company backers, HBO and Showtime, have not given up the hope that a rematch between the current and former champion can still take place later in the year, probably November.
After beating Clifford Etienne in only 49 seconds in February in Memphis, Tyson said he had no wish to go into a Lewis fight without more time in the ring, fearing he would receive a beating from the champion similar to the one in which he was knocked out in eight rounds last summer.
Lewis had contracted to face the mandatory challenger Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine this month but put that contest on hold, hoping instead to force Tyson back into the ring.
But Tyson failed to meet a deadline set by the Lewis camp and now it seems the Klitschko fight may be back on, not least because his promoters were threatening to sue for breach of contract.
If Lewis does not face ‘Dr Iron Fist”, other opponents being mentioned include Canada’s Kirk Johnson, although there are suggestions Johnson is pricing himself out of the contest with his purse demands. Tyson has been linked with fights against the Uzbek Oleg Maskaev or the 42-year-old former World Boxing Organisation champion Ray Mercer, whom he had been due to face before his renewed challenge for the WBC title.
Both are more durable than Etienne and would be guaranteed to provide the competitive action Tyson says he needs. The promotion is most likely to be in Las Vegas, although Tyson would first face another battle to be relicensed in Nevada, where his application was rejected a year ago. Another venue under consideration is Buffalo, New York, a city with no recent boxing tradition. —
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