Boxing: Hamed fight on despite Tyson blow

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Naseem Hamed and Robin Reid will still make their world title defences as planned despite the postponement of the Tyson-Holyfield rematch on the same night.

Frank Warren said yesterday that his promotion at Manchester's Nynex Arena on 3 May, featuring Hamed against Billy Hardy in defence of his World Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Federation featherweight crowns and Reid's World Boxing Council super-middleweight title bout against Henry Wharton, will run as planned, despite the fact that it was originally tied in to television coverage Mike Tyson's pounds 32m attempt to regain the World Boxing Association heavyweight from Evander Holyfield at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. That fight was due to follow Sky's coverage of the Manchester promotion.

There were fears for the British bill when Tyson cut an eye in training and his fight was put back, probably until 28 June. Indeed, the Tyson delay caused problems in another vital area of the world heavyweight division. Lennox Lewis's handlers, Panos Eliades and the New Jersey-based operation of Main Events, this week agreed a deal with Henry Akinwande's American promoter, Don King, for their WBC title match to take place in London on 5 July, but that arrangement was scrapped after the news of Tyson's injury came through.

A financial package of about pounds 1.73m was approved by King for a fight on the eve of the Wimbledon men's singles final, when the technology and commentary personnel of Lewis's American cable network, Home Box Office, would be covering the tennis championships.

King, though, had a change of mind once the Tyson injury was revealed, and the Lewis-Akinwande is open to purse offers again, in Las Vegas on 13 April. That is the fifth different deadline for the purse offer.

King will be favourite to submit the highest offer and, although Mexico City and New York have been mentioned as possible venues should his financial deal beat the one tabled by the Lewis promoters, it would seem feasible that the Lewis-Akinwande fight could go ahead on the rescheduled Holyfield- Tyson promotion.

Tyson expressed disappointment at the delay to a fight he is itching to get on with. "I'm in great shape and I'm prepared to fight at this moment, but I'm just following the instructions of the doctor. It's not a health-threatening illness or anything. I'll just wait," he said yesterday.

"My theory in life is to destroy or be destroyed and I'm looking forward to destroying. I'm going to fight Holyfield this time as if I knocked him out the first time. I hate making excuses for anything, I don't take it too personally, though it just happened, that's all. If Holyfield beats me this time, he will beat me the best I've ever been."