Boxing: WBC demand Lewis-Tyson showdown

The World Boxing Council are preparing to block the proposed fight between Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd on the grounds that Mike Tyson should be the challenger to Lewis' heavyweight title.

The World Boxing Council are preparing to block the proposed fight between Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd on the grounds that Mike Tyson should be the challenger to Lewis' heavyweight title.

Lewis was due to fight Tyson in Las Vegas on April 6 but the American was refused a licence by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after instigating a brawl with Lewis at a New York press conference.

IBF challenger Byrd was then proposed for the date, with the Tyson fight to be moved back until later in the year.

But WBC president Jose Sulaiman insists the British fighter must make a mandatory defence against Tyson before moving on to fight someone else.

He said: "We just cannot allow this, because it would go against the WBC's board of governors.

"At our annual convention in 2000, we rated Mike Tyson the number one contender. There was a lot of discussion but it was a unanimous vote.

"During our annual convention of 2001 we ordered the mandatory defence. We knew both boxers wanted the fight."

Sulaiman was adamant that a venue outside Las Vegas could be found, with Los Angeles, Manila and South Africa all touted as possible locations for the fight.

He added on BBC Sport online: "We did not say the fight should happen in any particular place, and when the promoters registered the fight with us, they never mentioned any city for the venue at all.

"I believe that Lennox Lewis owes himself the satisfaction of defeating Mike Tyson to show the world he is a great champion in his time.

"I also believe that Mike Tyson is convinced that he will defeat Lewis. If Lennox Lewis does not fight and defeat Mike Tyson, the world will continue wondering.

"This is the fight the world wants to see, and even though we are outraged at what happened in New York, if it is in April, May or June, the fight must be held. The people of the world want it."

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