Boxing: Promoters battle for Tyson's British date

THE LONDON promoter Frank Maloney is rivalling Frank Warren in the bid to stage Mike Tyson's proposed British debut. Warren has 29 January booked for Manchester's MEN Arena, while Maloney wants to feature Tyson at Wembley Arena on 22 January.

Whatever the date or venue, Maloney's British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion, Julius Francis, is the probable opponent. While Maloney manages Francis, Warren has the vital link with the American cable network, Showtime, which screen Tyson's fights.

Maloney, meanwhile, is waiting for a fight contract to guarantee Francis the biggest pay day of a career which has blossomed late, and brought him outright ownership of a Lonsdale Belt in April.

It must come by Wednesday - Francis's 35th birthday - with a non-returnable deposit, or Francis goes ahead with his British title defence against Harry Senior at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre on 18 December, insists Maloney.

"It would be a lot better if the two promotional companies could sit down and work out a deal," Maloney said. "This is a fight which has been on and off for the last three-and-a-half weeks. Tyson's handlers are happy with the opponent, I just want to know if Tyson's going to fight in this country and who's going to promote it. I've given everyone until Wednesday to deliver a contract, or else Julius goes ahead with the 18th. I've told him not to even focus on Tyson, just think about the 18th.

"Obviously it will be the biggest pay day for Francis. I'm working as a manager for Julius and looking after his interests. I want a contract with a non-returnable deposit so if I pull him out of the 18th, he's got some money for Christmas."

n Stephan Johnson, the 31-year-old New York boxer who collapsed after being knocked out in a middleweight fight on 20 November, has died from a brain injury in Atlantic City.