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The BBC's Paul Newman
"Today both boxers had a final chance for some psychological tricks"
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The BBC's John Rawling reports
"It was another media frenzy - they were eyeball-to-eyeball"
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Former heavyweight Frank Bruno
"Mike Tyson is still the biggest name in boxing"
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Tyson and Francis weigh in
Tyson and Francis take the scales
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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 19:19 GMT
Tyson smirks at 'fat' Francis

Tyson twists his dreadlocks as he eyeballs Francis

Mike Tyson branded Julius Francis as "fat" after conceding a huge weight advantage to his opponent as they prepare for Britain's biggest boxing bout for years.

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British hopeful Francis weighed in for Saturday's heavyweight showdown in Manchester at 17stone 6½lbs - substantially heavier than Tyson who registered 15st 13¾lbs.

Friday's weigh-in, as with much of the build-up to the fight over the past two weeks, was a chaotic affair.

Proceedings were delayed for well over an hour and when the fighters did come face-to-face it was far from the intimidating affair that usually precede big fights.

Francis: Taller and heavier
This time there was no staring from Tyson - instead he just smirked at Francis, while appearing to nervously twiddle his hair.

Tyson said of his opponent: "He's kinda fat. He can't hit me with his eyes. I'm cool, I'm relaxed and I'm ready to fight."

And Tyson's outspoken cheerleader, 'Crocodile' was equally confident, saying of Francis: "We don't need to know nothing about nothing. My man's gonna knock him out. Julius Francis has never faced a man as ferocious as Mike Tyson."

Tyson is at a similar weight as for his previous two bouts, against Orlin Norris and Francois Botha, while Francis is 4lbs lighter than his last contest.

Despite his smaller size, the American is being tipped to secure a comfortable victory.

The enormous media interest in the non-title fight has, if anything, intensified since the Tyson camp moved north from London.

The fighters met for the first time at a news conference on Thursday.

Francis, wearing sun glasses, towered over Tyson when they faced the cameras at a Manchester hotel.

Francis covers up as Tyson adopts stare tactics
But it was former world champion Tyson who caught the attention of the press, as he glowered at his little-known opponent and then declared: "I'm ready for war.

"I'm an animal in the ring. I'm a ferocious fighter," the 33-year-old said. "I'm in great shape and I can't wait to go."

Francis, though, laid his own claim to victory: "I'm going to win because that's what I believe. I have trained hard, I have worked hard. I have watched Mr Tyson through his career and as everyone knows he's had a good career.

"The youngest undisputed world champion, give him respect for that, but like I've been saying all along, it's about Julius Francis."

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See also:
28 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson v Francis: Full statistical breakdown
25 Jan 00 |  UK
Tyson toys with media circus
18 Jan 00 |  UK
Team Tyson: Iron Mike's minions
27 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson: I'm ready for war
22 Jan 00 |  UK
Training, preparation and shopping
20 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson's fight for the right
17 Jan 00 |  UK
Tyson stays, court rules

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