Boxing: Lawyers deny Tyson 'deal': Rumour of former champion's early release knocked down

RUMOURS that Mike Tyson, the world former heavyweight champion, might get out of jail early appeared yesterday to be ill-founded.

The idea floated atthe weekend by Sports Illustrated was that Tyson was on the verge of paying dollars 1.5m ( pounds 1m) to Desiree Washington, the beauty queen he raped, then he would apologise for harming her, and - somehow - those two things would be enough to persuade the judge in Indiana to grant Tyson an early release. The next step would be a guaranteed pounds 65m for his comeback fight.

Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison after a jury convicted him of rape in February 1992. He is due for release in May next year.

Now both Tyson's and Washington's lawyers have said there is no deal. 'I categorically deny it. The story isn't true, he's not going to admit to anything, he didn't do anything,' Tyson's lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, said.

Washington's attorney, Michael Weisman, said: 'The story is so remote from reality as to be truly regrettable. There has been no payment, and there has been no apology.' However, Weisman said the two sides had been in contact and had scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday, the day after Tyson pleads in Indianapolis for mercy from the judge who sent him to jail.

The rumours will survive until then, at least.

In January an Indiana radio station reported that the boxer would admit to raping Washington if that secured his freedom. The Sports Illustrated story said Tyson would not admit to rape, but instead to 'doing something wrong', or causing her 'harm'.