Boxing body gives Lewis world crown

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LENNOX LEWIS became the first British-born boxer to hold a version of the world heavyweight championship this century when the World Boxing Council awarded him its title yesterday.

Riddick Bowe, who lost to Lewis in the super-heavyweight final at the 1988 Olympic Games, claimed the undisputed title last month by defeating Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas. The WBC insisted that the American should make his first defence against Lewis and threatened to strip him of the crown if that fight was not arranged by early January.

Bowe saved the council the trouble by giving it up voluntarily yesterday and castigating the organisation for the way it had treated him.

At a news conference in London, Bowe said: 'The WBC is wrong and I will not be intimidated by them. I am the heavyweight champion of the world and today I am withdrawing my recognition of them.' With that, he dropped the WBC championship belt into a waste bin.