Boxing: King lectures Lewis on the hard sell: Lord of the ring delivers words of wit for Britain's heavyweight champion

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The Independent Online
DON KING came to London bearing bluster yesterday in an effort to enlighten Lennox Lewis and his handlers on the art of salesmanship. In a rambling tirade, the eccentric American promoter claimed that Lewis had much to learn about self-projection.

King accused Lewis and his manager, Frank Maloney, of failing to sell Lewis's first defence of his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Tony Tucker in Las Vegas on 8 May.

King, who has paid dollars 12m ( pounds 8.5m) to stage the contest, said: 'Lewis is Britain's first world heavyweight champion for 100 years. He is young and courageous and should be on the front page of every newspaper in America. Instead, no one knows he is there. He should be out meeting and greeting the people and acting like a world champion in the way Muhammad Ali did.'

Maloney, seated beside King at yesterday's news conference, retorted: 'We are co-operating with everything in the contract. Lennox's training camp (in South Carolina) has been open to the press and public. Don King is making a big hoo-ha out of nothing.'

On the other side of the Atlantic, rumours were circulating that Mike Tyson was about to follow in the footsteps of Ali, who embraced the Islamic faith and changed his name from Cassius Clay.

A story in the New York Post went so far as to suggest that Tyson, who is studying Islam while serving a six-year prison term for rape, has selected the name Malik Abdul Aziz. However, Muhammad Siddeeq, a volunteer chaplain at the Indianapolis prison where Tyson is detained, said: 'I've heard the entire report and it is unfounded. There's nothing in it that is correct.'

The former heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, will fight Alex Stewart in Atlantic City on 26 June.

(Photograph omitted)