Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Rugby League 
Rugby Union 
Formula 1 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's boxing correspondent John Rawling
"It seems the timing is strange"
 real 28k

The BBC's Kevin Geary
"For the promoter, it's a serious, wholly unexpected problem"
 real 28k

The BBC's Nick Jones
"He can only get in this country on very strong compassionate grounds"
 real 28k

Frank Maloney Julius Francis' Manager
"Nothing surprises me with this government or with boxing"
 real 28k

Boxing promoter Frank Warren
"It's not a closed door and we shall work on it"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 02:40 GMT
Tyson fight in doubt

Tyson (right) during a controversial comeback in October

The UK Government says there is "very little" chance of Mike Tyson being allowed into the country for his first British fight later this month.

The former world heavyweight champion is due to face former British champion Julius Francis in Manchester on 29 January.

Tyson's convictions
1992: Rape, six year sentence
1999: Attacking motorists: Jailed for a year
But the Prime Minister's office has said Tyson would be turned back at the airport because of his criminal convictions.

The American was jailed for rape in 1992, serving half of a six-year sentence.

He was also imprisoned last year for attacking two motorists, serving four months of a one-year sentence before his release last June.

As a US citizen, Tyson does not need a visa to come into the UK or a work permit to take part in a boxing match.

But under the rules anyone convicted for an offence which would carry a 12 month jail term in Britain is not allowed into the country.

Tyson is believed to have planned to fly into Britain in a week or so to prepare for the fight at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

'Compassionate grounds'

The matter of his entry to the country is decided, not by the Home Secretary, but by immigration offcials if an application is made, or if someone arrives in the country.

A Downing Street spokesman said that he was not aware that any such application had been made.

"The rule for discretion is very limited," he said.

"These are the rules. They will have to be followed."

The only way Tyson could be allowed in is on "strong compassionate grounds".

Frank Warren: Unaware of any problem
Nearly all of the 22,000 fight tickets have been sold.

Fight promoter Frank Warren said: "Nobody has said a word to us about it and we haven't heard anything negative.

"Mike Tyson is coming over here to fight and then go home. He's not here to do anything else and he's not going to be a danger to anyone apart from the man he's going to fight in the ring.

"For Julius Francis it gives him the opportunity of securing himself for life with a massive pay day as well as the chance to fight Mike Tyson."

Evander Holyfield's ear after Tyson's bite
Tyson's career has been a long story of ups and downs, with problems in and out of the ring.

In addition to his criminal convictions, the fighter controversially bit Evander Holyfield's ear during one world title bout.

And his latest comeback, against Orlin Norris in October, was ruled a no-contest when Tyson knocked down his opponent after the bell.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
11 Jan 00 |  Sport
The life of Iron Mike
11 Jan 00 |  Sport
The ups and downs of Tyson's life
Links to other Sport stories are at the foot of the page.