Boxing: Tyson key to end confusion

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The Independent Online
WITH the world heavyweight picture in disarray, 1993 is unlikely to be a vintage year. In an age where the volume of title contests is of greater significance than the calibre of the protagonists, the four sanctioning bodies will continue to trade profitably at the expense of the sport's credibility.

The World Boxing Council's decision to strip Riddick Bowe of their heavyweight belt will have depressing consequences. Although Bowe retains the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation versions, Lennox Lewis has inherited the WBC's crown, while Michael Moorer represents the World Boxing Organisation.

Three 'world' champions will produce a proliferation of title contests. Ageing warriors such as George Foreman, Larry Holmes and Michael Dokes can see fresh opportunities; failed contenders like Frank Bruno are hailed as future opponents; even former champion Evander Holyfield, who retired after being thrashed by Bowe in November, plans a comeback.

The man best placed to stop the disintegration is Allan Dershowitz, the lawyer representing Mike Tyson, who remains jailed after being found guilty of rape. Only if Dershowitz can spring his man (a retrial looks likely) can Tyson resume his career and restore order.

On the home front, the new alliance between the promoters, Barry Hearn, Frank Warren and Barney Eastwood, threatens to dominate, offering many British boxers the opportunity to win major honours.

The first batch of promotions will see featherweights Paul Hodkinson and John Davison, supermiddleweights Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, and welterweight Pat Barrett in world title contests.

Perhaps the most significant development is the arrival of the Professional Boxers' Association, inspired by Barry McGuigan. To be formally launched on 3 February, the PBA is ready to fight for boxers' rights.

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