Boxing: Lewis to defend world title in April

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LENNOX LEWIS yesterday revealed the date of his first World Boxing Council heavyweight title defence, but not the challenger. The fight will be in London on Saturday 24 April at either Earl's Court or Loftus Road, but he has to wait 10 days before discovering his opponent.

The WBC executive votes on 24 January on whether Lewis, who was presented with the champion's belt in London yesterday, should meet the leading contender Tony Tucker - the former International Boxing Federation champion - or make a voluntary defence.

'It doesn't matter who I fight,' Lewis said, 'but I 100 per cent want my first defence in London.'

The rules state that Lewis should fight the leading contender first, but the WBC has stuck to its policy of listening to any request from the champion. Should Lewis's wish be granted, Alex Stewart, a London-born Jamaican, is the likely man for Britain's first heavyweight champion of the century.

Lewis's home advantage has been made possible by a pounds 16m deal with the American cable network Home Box Office, which has Frank Bruno's name on the contract as an 'approved' opponent later this year. The HBO agreement commences with the April fight and includes others in July, September and early in 1994.

Not in the deal is a re-unification fight with the WBA and IBF holder Riddick Bowe, who meets Michael Dokes in New York next month.

Holligan's fire, page 31