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Emma Simpson reports from Glasgow
"This will be hugely popular, but controversial"
 real 28k

Frank Warren, Boxing Promoter
"Mike Tyson will be fighting"
 real 28k

Tyson's previous UK opponent Julius Francis
"Let the man do his job"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 May, 2000, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Hampden named as Tyson venue
Mike Tyson and Hampden Park
Hampden is set to host the controversial bout
Scotland's national stadium, Hampden Park, has been confirmed as the venue for Mike Tyson's fight next month, despite a wave of protests.

The announcement was made by co-promoter Frank Warren, who must now apply to Glasgow City Council for two licences allowing the bout to take place on 24 June.

Scottish Sports Minister Sam Galbraith is urging managers at Hampden, which has a standard seating capacity of 52,046, to take into account public hostility to Tyson.

The boxer is at the centre of a new controversy, after allegations that he hit a topless dancer at a night club in Las Vegas.

Mike Tyson has paid the price

Frank Warren
More than 15,000 people have already applied for tickets for the fight against Italian-American Lou Savarese, a 34-year-old heavyweight who has won 36 of his 39 contests.

Controversy is raging over Tyson's re-admission to the UK, despite his 1992 rape conviction, but the Scottish Executive has said it will not seek a judicial review of Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision.

Frank Warren has defended Tyson, saying he has paid the price for his conviction.

Mr Warren told the BBC: "I always felt I would like it to go on in Scotland.

"It seems to me as a promoter that they are looking for big events in Scotland and you are not going to get any bigger than this in boxing."

Frank Warren
Frank Warren: Chose Glasgow
He revealed that Wembley Stadium and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff had also wanted to stage the fight, but Glasgow had remained the best city.

Mr Warren reiterated his view of Tyson's criminal record. "There are other people who have come in with bad convictions.

"I think the bottom line with criminal convictions is that if you serve a prison sentence that is supposed to wipe the slate clean and you can get on with your life. Mike Tyson has paid the price."

Earlier, he argued that heads of state with "far worse records" than Tyson had attended a Commonwealth summit in Scotland without such protests.

Tyson's opponent in Manchester in February, Julius Francis, said Scotland would put on a "great show" and maintained: "Let the man just do his job".

Judicial review

The Scottish National Party's legal affairs spokeswoman, Roseanna Cunningham, said: "The fact is the majority of people in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament, and indeed, the Scottish government, do not want this fight to take place.

"I think, therefore, that people will resent the fact that the fight may take place at the national stadium.

Roseanna Cunningham
Roseanna Cunningham wants a judicial review
"Holding this in the national stadium would give it a status, a level of acceptance it does not warrant."

She said she believed a judicial review of Mr Straw's decision would be in order. "We would not rule anything out, but we believe it would be best done by ministers."

However, Acting First Minister Jim Wallace ruled out a legal challenge. A spokesman said under the terms of the devolution settlement, immigration issues were a reserved matter for Westminster.

Sporting calendar

The Scottish Football Association, which runs the national stadium, said Tyson's entry to the UK was a matter for politicians.

"This is the type of major event which will put Hampden on the map and there are very few events of this magnitude in the sporting calendar," a spokesman said.

"The SFA has a requirement to make Hampden pay by attracting non-football events and the deal for this fight has been done at the right level for a commercial venture such as the national stadium.

Hampden Park
SFA: "Hampden must pay"
"It will be a showpiece for both the stadium and the city of Glasgow that will be seen around the world."

British Telecom, which is a major sponsor of Hampden Park, said the fight was a matter between the stadium management and Mr Warren.

The company said it was not making moral judgements either way on Tyson's criminal record.

Downing Street said Mr Straw was aware of the "strength of feeling in certain quarters", and had consulted Jim Wallace, and the Scottish Secretary, John Reid, before taking his decision.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Maria Fyfe said she and six other Labour colleagues would write an open letter to Tyson demanding he donate his purse money to groups working with rape victims.

She said: "We would rather he was not coming to the country at all. However, if he is, and people say he is a reformed character, let us see him do something to show it."

The letter will ask Tyson to hand over his purse to Scottish rape crisis centres which the MP said were "grossly underfunded" for the work they did.

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See also:

19 May 00 | Scotland
Women plan Tyson 'confrontation'
18 May 00 | Scotland
Tyson cleared for UK fight
18 May 00 | Scotland
Full text of Straw's decision
30 Jan 00 | Sport
Tyson in the ring
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