Frank Bruno's defence of his World Council title against Mike Tyson was given the green light at the WBC's convention in Chiang Mai, Thailand yesterday.
The official WBC sanctioning of Bruno-Tyson, following unsuccessful legal moves by former champion Lennox Lewis to prevent the fight taking place, sets up the rematch for Las Vegas with 16 March the likeliest date.
Bruno's promoter Frank Warren, who was present at the convention, said: "This will be Frank's mandatory defence. The winner will have to defend against the next mandatory challenger by September next year. The date is still to be confirmed but 16 March is the one we are looking at. I'm highly delighted, justice was seen to be done. The courts in Britain had thrown out Lewis' action against Bruno and the WBC.
"They were told that any further legal action should be taken in Dallas, Texas, but they completely disregarded that and have taken it to New Jersey. It was a situation they could never win. Bruno will receive the biggest purse of any British fighter."
The "mandatory challenger" should be Lewis, provided he maintains his winning ways during 1996. Bruno could bank as much as pounds 10m for tackling Tyson for a second time with the roles reversed. Tyson was champion when Bruno was stopped in five rounds at the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas in February 1989.
The purse would substantially outstrip the previous British record of pounds 6m which Lewis earned from his first defence of the WBC crown against Tony Tucker, also in Las Vegas in May 1993.
Lewis's manager, Frank Maloney, and the American fight agent Don Majeski appealed on behalf of the former champion in Thailand, "but their representations were denied and subsequently rejected," Warren added.
"I'm not very happy with the decision," Maloney said. "It seems the WBC make rules to suit the WBC - they're making a person bigger than an organisation, and that person's Mike Tyson. We came to Thailand and got stuffed by the convention."
The High Court in London rejected Lewis' application for an injunction and he is pursuing further legal recourse in New Jersey where the judge has ordered the WBC to "show cause" why they should sanction Bruno-Tyson before Bruno-Lewis. That will be heard on 28 November.Reuse content