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BOXING: Tyson's UK fight sells out within two days

IT TOOK little more than 48 hours to sell out Mike Tyson's British debut in Manchester on 29 January. All 21,000 tickets that were available on Saturday morning for his fight against Julius Francis at the MEN Arena - backed by Joe Calzaghe's World Boxing Organisation super-middleweight title defence against David Starie - were gone by noon on Monday.

Despite the controversy that follows Tyson, the sell-out proves his name is still one of the biggest in world boxing. The MEN, Europe's largest indoor arena, confirmed it is the fastest-selling boxing event it has hosted.

The promoter Frank Warren said: "I have promoted some of the biggest fights ever in Britain, which have included Nigel Benn, Naseem Hamed, Frank Bruno and Joe Bugner in sell-out fights, but none of them compare to this.

"The demand for tickets has been incredible. We had in excess of 40,000 requests for tickets and we had to take on extra staff to cope with the number of calls. I knew this fight would sell out, but what astounded me was the rate at which the tickets went."

It will only be Tyson's third trip outside America in 50 bouts. His previous two overseas fights were both in Tokyo - against Tony Tubbs in March 1988 and Buster Douglas in 1990, when he lost his undisputed title in one of boxing's biggest ever upsets.

Four top local prospects will share the bill. Richard Hatton, Anthony Farnell, Michael Gomez and Thomas McDonough have all earned great exposure on the undercard.