Tyson cleared for return to ring as his 'life ban' is lifted

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The Independent Online
BARELY A year into what was supposed to be a lifetime ban, Mike Tyson won the right to return to the boxing ring yesterday as Nevada's Athletic Commission offered him one last chance and reinstated his licence.

Sixteen months after Tyson chewed Evander Holyfield's ears in a world title fight in Las Vegas, the 32-year-old former world champion persuaded the Nevada authorities that he had overcome his history of violence both in the ring and out. "Please don't torture me any longer, sir," Tyson told commissioner James Nave during yesterday's hearing. "I made a mistake. Other fighters have made more. I'm just a human being trying to live my life."

His entreaty was answered when the commission voted 4-1 in his favour despite some recent evidence that he is still prone to outbursts of violent temper.

The commission chairman, Elias Ghanem, said this would be his last chance, and added: "You will either conduct yourself in accordance with our rules and regulations, or you will probably never fight again in Nevada."

Although Tyson is still on parole because of his rape conviction six years ago - and is facing a new trial at the end of the year on charges that he attacked two men after a car crash in Maryland in August - the commission appears to have been swayed by a sympathetic medical report issued last month. Widely leaked to the media, it said the boxer suffered from low self-esteem and recurrent bouts of depression but was considered "mentally fit to return to boxing".

Among those who lobbied the hardest for Tyson's reinstatement was the Las Vegas casino industry, which can count on huge crowds for a Tyson fight. He could be back in the ring at the MGM Grand casino on the Las Vegas strip as early as December.

The ruling also gives Tyson a chance to overcome his huge personal financial problems. He owes the US tax authorities $13m and risks losing all three of his homes.

Unlikely reprieve, Page 28