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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 14:11 GMT
Tyson fight called off
Mike Tyson
Tyson's scheduled bout with Lennox Lewis is now in doubt
Mike Tyson's bout with Clifford Etienne, which was scheduled to take place in Memphis on Saturday, has been cancelled.

The 36-year-old former world heavyweight champion was due to have his first fight since being beaten by Lennox Lewis last June.

But Tyson was forced to pull out due to flu and stomach illness, and a planned rematch with Lewis in the summer must now be in doubt.

I'm hopeful the fight can be rescheduled soon

Mike Tyson
"I'm sorry to let down all my fans in Memphis and around the world," Tyson said in a statement.

"But I am not 100% and I do not want to perform at less than that.

"I've been in bed with the flu the last five days and I'm hopeful the fight can be rescheduled soon."

Reports had been circulating over the last couple of days that all was not well in the Tyson camp and fears heightened after he missed a scheduled flight from Las Vegas to Memphis on Monday.

Tyson's close friend and fitness trainer Jeff Fenech had already flown home to Australia after stating his charge had missed several days' work in the last week.

If he's not 100% he shouldn't fight, because if he loses to a guy like Etienne, it's over

Tyson's trainer Freddie Roach

Tyson's trainer Freddie Roach gave the decision his full backing.

"It's in his best interests not to fight," said Roach. "If he's not 100% or at least close to it, he shouldn't fight, because if he loses to a guy like Etienne, it's over.

"Fights fall out all the time and the trainers don't get paid if the fighters don't get paid, and fighters don't get paid if they don't fight," Roach told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"I have no problem about that because that's one of the risks of this job, whether I was with Mike or any other fighter.

"I'm not sure what I'll do. I like Mike and I want to help him, but we'd have to have some things cleared up.

"It was better than I ever thought possible at first," he said of working with Tyson.

"But then it turned out to be more than I ever expected, no question.

"Mike has different personalities. His good side is great, but his bad side is bad."

See also:

13 Jan 03 | Boxing
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