Boxing: BBC to bid £5m for rights to Tyson fight

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The BBC is the favourite to screen the heavyweight title fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson with a bid of close to £5m for the exclusive UK rights to televise the bout.

With Lewis and Tyson expected to exchange official signed contracts today to finalise a meeting on 8 June in Memphis, executives at the BBC's headquarters in White City admitted yesterday that a substantial offer has been made – for a fight that will take place at 4am British time.

Greg Dyke, the BBC's director general, has already demonstrated his willingness to spend large sums securing the rights to big fights. But the strategy has caused disquiet within the BBC ranks. If the corporation's bid is successful, it will break all of its previous records for expenditure on a single sporting event but critics will seize on it as a waste of money that conflicts with the BBC's public service remit, especially given Tyson's penchant for bad behaviour.