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Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 10:53 GMT
Tyson targets Lewis clash
Mike Tyson has pulled out of his fight with Ray Mercer
Tyson had been due to fight Ray Mercer in January
Lennox Lewis is "delighted" at Mike Tyson's decision not to fight Ray Mercer, his trainer Emmanuel Steward has told the BBC.

Tyson was due to meet Mercer on 19 January ahead of a clash with Lewis in April.

But Lewis was concerned that, if he lost, Tyson would not be allowed to fight him for his world heavyweight titles.


He's going to have to be up there when they start considering the best heavyweights of all time
Emmanuel Steward
Desperate to prove himself against the former undisputed world champion, Lewis sued in the US District Court to have Tyson drop the Mercer fight.

Three days later Mercer has been told their bout is off - and now nothing stands between Lewis and a clash his mentor is convinced he will win.

"It'll be on 6 April and Lennox is very delighted," Steward told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He was so frustrated because he did everything he thought was asked of him to make sure he could face Mike Tyson.

Only interested

"Lennox is very happy that this fight is taking place - it's the only fight in boxing that the world wants to see and is waiting to see.

"He hasn't had a chance to fight with Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe because neither were prepared to fight him - but now Mike realises the public are only interested in Lennox Lewis.

"There remained a chance that if Tyson had lost against Mercer he wouldn't have the chance to fight for the title."

Lennox Lewis
Lewis might retire if he beats Tyson
Steward also hinted that Lewis may consider retirement if he beats Tyson.

"I feel personally that Lennox Lewis will do that, knock out Mike Tyson and he will have done everything he set out to do and more.

"He's going to have to be up there when they start considering the best heavyweights of all time."

Lewis had stated in his original suit that it would "be impossible successfully to promote a timely championship bout that will maximise revenues" if fought on 19 January.

Tyson originally protested against Lewis' intervention, stating: "Lennox makes his own rules only when they suit him."

Offer

Last night, however, 'Iron Mike' had changed his tune.

"This is a business and I'm sure Ray understands why I need to take Lennox out now," Tyson said.

"Lennox made me an offer that I could not refuse and it is time to give the people what they want."

Around $25m (17.4m) is at stake for both Lewis and Tyson.

"It was worthwhile to go directly to Lewis," said Tyson's adviser Shelly Finkel.

Tyson added: "The heavyweight championship is my destiny, and I need those belts on my waist again.

"So keep taking those acting lessons, Lennox, because your next role will be playing Cinderella and I'm going to break your glass chin."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Boxing journalist Steve Fahood
"It's just common business sense to stage Lewis and Tyson now"
See also:

06 Dec 01 |  Boxing
Lewis sues Tyson
18 Nov 01 |  Boxing
Super Lennox stops Rahman
14 Oct 01 |  Boxing
Brutal Tyson wins in seven
25 Nov 01 |  Boxing
Tyson wants Lewis 'tomorrow'
Links to more Boxing stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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