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Lewis takes title after two-day fight

BRITAIN DOES have an undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion in Lennox Lewis after all - so long as the cheque clears.

The International Boxing Federation, which left Lewis's tilt at the unified title shrouded in farce when it refused to hand over the champions belt on Saturday, said it will now recognise Lewis, sealing for the Briton the greatest prize in boxing.

The IBF finally relented last night after acknowledging that it had received the $300,000 (pounds 190,000) sanctioning fee from the Lewis camp.

Gerald Krovatin, the lawyer representing the IBF president, Robert W Lee Snr, said the money had arrived, and he confirmed: "If the cheque clears, the IBF will confer the belt on Lewis."

Lewis had until Friday to stump up the money after the IBF said it considered the belt vacant because of a pre-fight wrangle over when the fee should be paid

Lewis, the WBC champion, eventually scored a unanimous decision over IBF-WBA title holder Evander Holyfield on Saturday night in Las Vegas, avenging a controversial draw in March.

Frank Moloney, Lewis's manager, said he was delighted by last night's news: "It's good for boxing and it's great that politics hasn't overshadowed Lennox's achievement. Lennox will be over the moon. He wanted his belts and he's got them all now.

"Lennox is going to enjoy his moment with the British people now he is undisputed champion. He's worked 10 years to get there and now he's going to share his achievement with his loyal fans back home.