Boxing: Tyson will fight Botha

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The Independent Online
MIKE TYSON is back. The former world heavyweight champion will make his comeback against the South African boxer, Francois Botha, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 16 January.

Tyson has signed a contract for the fight with the promoters America Presents, who were hoping to announce details late last night in New York.

The fight would mark Tyson's first appearance in the ring since his suspension 15 months ago for biting Evander Holyfield's ear during their world title fight. His boxing licence was restored last month by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after a battery of psychological tests established that he was mentally fit to fight again.

Botha is the No 1 contender for Holyfield's International Boxing Federation title. Holyfield also holds the World Boxing Association crown. The South African has lost only once in 37 fights, when he was stopped in the 12th round by Michael Moorer in an IBF title challenge two years ago.

The Germany fighter, Axel Schultz, had originally signed a contract to fight Tyson, but he was deemed unacceptable by Showtime, the cable company which features Tyson's fights. Botha, who was to have fought on the Naseem Hamed bill in Atlantic City last Saturday, is being handled by the British promoter, Frank Warren. A spokesman for Warren would not confirm the Tyson- Botha fight yesterday, saying only that Warren's company is "advising" Botha until January.

Jane Couch, who took legal action to win the right to box in Britain, will make her domestic debut against the German teenager Simona Lukic, at Caesars Nightclub in London on 25 November. The pair will thus become the first women to box in Britain on the same bill as their male counterparts.