BOXING: Lewis aims for a quick getaway

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The Independent Online
LENNOX LEWIS has no worries about defending his title against the Croatian Zeljko Mavrovic at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville on Saturday, and certaionly has not been impressed by the threatening noises emanating from his rivals trainer.

At 17st 4lb, the World Boxing Council champion is 13lb below his heaviest fighting weight, to take on Mavrovic. His trainer, Emanuel Steward, prepares Lewis for the style of the opponent. There is no rigid format to the champion's preparations.

"We are concentrating on balance, and catering for the speed of his opponent and being fluid in movement to make pivots and turns to keep the pressure on," Steward said. "Hopefully it will not go more than four of five rounds. This is the hardest Lennox has trained for a fight in a long time."

It will be Lewis's fourth defence in his second reign as the WBC champion, having beaten Akinwande, the Pole Andrew Golota and Shannon Briggs since he gained the title by reducing Oliver McCall to tears in February last year.

Lewis said: "I feel good, ready to go and get on the way. Some people are saying I'm quicker, but I'm always trying to improve on my speed. The quicker I can knock him out, the quicker I can get home."

Mavrovic had won all his 27 bouts, but his toughest test came from the British champion, Julius Francis, who does not rate remotely in world terms.

"I think they'd babied Mavrovic," said Lewis of the challenger who has a 33-1 record. He hasn't really been tested. He's got good basic boxing skills. But he hasn't been through the same kind of thresholds I've been through. This is a big fight for him."

Mavrovic's English trainer, Darkie Smith, has been making ominous noises, but Lewis just shrugs them off.

"That talk could prove detrimental. Talking to a guy makes him believe certain things all of sudden. Then he could be placed in a position in which he doesn't know how to react. He hasn't been through it," Lewis said.

Mike Tyson is being tested by a team of Massachusetts General Hospital doctors to determine if he is psychologically fit to return to the ring.

The former world heavyweight champion was in Boston on Wednesday to begin the psychological and neurological tests ordered by the state of Nevada's Athletic Commission, following a six-hour hearing last Saturday on Tyson's request for reinstatement of his boxing licence in the state. Tyson, who has been banned since July 1997 when he bit Evander Holyfield's ears during their title bout, has until Monday to submit the requested reports to the commission.

n Naseem Hamed's 11th defence of his WBO featherweight title against Wayne McCullough has been confirmed for 31 October in Atlantic City.