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    Nigeria Contends For Tyson - Lewis Fight

    (Monday, February 18, 2002)

    By Chief Charles O. Okereke, Nigeria Masterweb

    Mike Tyson Demonstrates Nigeria is a top contender for the boxing world heavyweight championship between defending champion Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, venue yet to be decided. Florida, and Washington D.C., both in the United States are also top contenders. Others include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Colorado, and Texas. The fight was originally scheduled for April 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Neveda but later cancelled. The cancellation resulted from the denial of a boxing license by Nevada on Jan. 29 after a melee between Tyson and Lewis at a pre-fight news conference a week earlier. Lewis claimed Tyson bit him on the thigh, requiring him a dose of tetanus shot. The rescheduling of Tyson - Lewis fight has been in limbo because negotiations shifted from city to city and from state to state, without solid agreements. Columnist Dean Juipe of Las Vegas Sun put it this way, "The daily ritual of charting which cities and which states are flirting with the issue of hosting the Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis fight has gotten to be very tiresome. One day it's Los Angeles. The next, LA is out and Fort Worth is in. The next, Fort Worth is out and Atlanta is in. And so on, with no real end in sight. As the cycle continues, it becomes nothing but a waste of newsprint."

    Miami Florida mayor, Manny Diaz wants to bring the fight to Miami. He said the bout would add as much as $150 million to the Miami economy. Gov. Jeb Bush and members of the city's Cuban-American community are opposed to the idea. Washington's MCI Center and Nigeria are emerging as possible venues for the fight. Negotiations on holding the fight at MCI Center have intensified in New York between Tyson's advisers and representatives of the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission. Michael Brown, the commission's vice chairman, said June 8 is the target date.

    Akbar Muhammad has been retained by Nigeria for the express purpose of bringing the fight to the country. Muhammad, president of Akbar Productions of Charlotte, NC, in alliance with Vi-Tech Systems, LTD of Nigeria is working hard in bringing the fight to Nigeria. He thinks the fight should not be held in the United States but Nigeria, since Nevada took the first step of refusing Tyson a boxing license. Said Muhammad, "It's the perfect scenario. There's an intrigue with taking the fight overseas and Nigeria is in a great situation. It can create the necessary magic; it's a solid country with a great relationship with the United States; it can and will provide a 100,000-seat stadium; and the people there are serious about this. I met with them last week in New York and I know the money's there. I have the right number." Muhammad, thinks a deal for the fight in Nigeria would be struck in the next couple of weeks.

    Just recently Clark County Police recommended charges be filed against Tyson following an investigation into dual rape allegations made against him. In the event the Clark County district attorney's office files sexual-assault charges against Tyson, Nigeria would become an even more practical option for the fight. More states in the US would be reluctant to license Tyson and bid on the proposed fight, if the charges are filed. In the event the rape charges are filed, legal pundits do not see any reason for the judge to deny Tyson bail. They do not see any reason for him to jump bail, staying back in a foreign country after the fight in the country. On this note, Nigeria seems to be one of the top contending battle grounds, but this time trust me Tyson would not bite but box to his glory and admiration.

    Adrian Ogun, Lennox Lewis' manager believes Lewis is likely to fight Tyson in the US in June, but that Tyson needed psychiatric help before the two could fight. Ogun speaking on BBC Radio said, "Lennox wants a true sporting contest but it was quite clear to me watching Mike Tyson before the Nevada Commission that he needs help." If a statement by Lennox is anything to go by, the fight as implied by the contract was not scheduled for a foreign country. Lennox said the contract agreement between him and Tyson did not provide for the fight outside of the United States. In United States or in Nigeria, the big puzzle, then let's watch the outcome. It would not hurt doing some speculations to 'kill' time.

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