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Fight promoter Frank Warren
"A Lewis-Tyson match-up is a long way off"
 real 28k

Panos Eliades, promoter for Lewis
"On this performance Lennox would kill him"
 real 28k

Jay Larkin of Tyson's Showtime TV
"Tyson and Lewis will not fight in the forseeable future"
 real 28k

Boxing correspondent John Rawling
"Tyson said he had a long way to go before taking on the likes of Lennox Lewis"
 real 28k

Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 09:16 GMT
Victorious Tyson waits for Lewis

Tyson explains how many rounds it took

Mike Tyson followed up his four-minute victory over Britain's Julius Francis by predicting that he will beat the world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis - but only when he is ready.

The former title-holder wasted little time in winning his mismatch with Francis, knocking him down five times before referee Roy Francis ended the bout a third of the way through round two.

Tysonís fight for the right
The Life of Iron Mike
The challenger: Julius Francis
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After a controversial and often hectic two weeks in the UK, the fighter is due to fly back to the US on Sunday.

Tyson was unwilling to give full details of his future plans immediately after the fight, but may hold a press conference before flying home from Gatwick Airport.

In the ring, as he savoured victory, Tyson thanked the British public and Home Secretary Jack Straw - as well as the Kray family for sending him flowers before the fight.

But when quizzed about his next opponent, Tyson was tight-lipped.

I have a long way to go to fight for a title. I wish I was as good as people say I look
Tyson on the future
His manager Shelley Finkel, though, said a meeting with Lewis was just "three fights away".

Lewis's manager Frank Maloney, who also represents Francis, was also confident that the much-anticipated match-up would take place.

"I think Lennox versus Tyson will happen," said Maloney.

"It is the fight everyone wants and Lennox will destroy Mike Tyson."

But many boxing experts believe the contest may never happen because the two fighters are contracted to rival TV companies in the US - Tyson with Showtime and Lewis with HBO.

Panos Eliades, who promotes fights for Lewis, was disparaging when he spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Lewis will kill him," was his simple verdict, while he doubted whether Tyson's camp really wanted the fight to take place.

I am ok now. I did not do as well as I thought. I really believed I could win the fight
Julius Francis
The former champion saw it differently when asked how far away he is from being ready to tackle Lewis.

"Mr Lewis is the champion of the world and I have a few fights before I'm ready to fight him. But when the time comes I'm sure I'll be victorious," the American predicted.

Thanks to Straw and Kray

Tyson's first comment immediately after the comfortable win was not about boxing at all.

His initial act was to thank the govenment minister who allowed his entry into the UK after concerns that Tyson's rape conviction would make it impossible.

Tyson showed few signs of celebration
"I'd like to thank Mr Jack Straw for inviting me to this country and for taking all the flak," he told the pay-per-view television audience.

Later he also made public his gratitude for convicted criminal Reggie Kray, the infamous figure from London's gangland of the 1960s.

"Thank you very much to the Kray family for sending me flowers," he said.

Meanwhile Tyson admitted he had been moved by his treatment in England, despite widespread protests.

"I just want people here to know I'm humbled by the reception they've given me," he explained.

"Hopefully my next couple of fights will be over here," he added.

"I am an American and I will continue my world tour. I love Europe. I think the next couple of fights I have will be in Europe."

It is the fight everyone wants and Lennox will destroy Mike Tyson
Frank Maloney, manager of Lewis
The defeated Francis believed he could have done better, and said it was not just pride that made him keep getting up after the knockdowns.

"I am OK now. I did not do as well as I thought," he said.

"He's very powerful. What surprised me was those short punches inside. All those punches hurt me.

"Few boxers will stand up to Mike Tyson, but I got in some shots and Tyson knew I hit him."

Promoter Frank Warren paid tribute to Francis as did Tyson.

"I knew Francis would show a lot of heart, but I wanted to bang him out," explained the winner of the fight.

"I was hoping the referee would stop the fight earlier.

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See also:
30 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson v Francis: Punch by punch
30 Jan 00 |  Sport
Picture gallery: Tyson floors Francis
30 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson: The fans' verdict
30 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson wastes little time
29 Jan 00 |  Sport
Calzaghe disappoints in victory
28 Jan 00 |  Sport
Tyson v Francis: Full statistical breakdown

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