IBF sanction fourth belt for Lewis

Frank Maloney has confirmed that Lennox Lewis now holds all four of his world heavyweight belts after a settlement was reached with the International Boxing Federation.

Frank Maloney has confirmed that Lennox Lewis now holds all four of his world heavyweight belts after a settlement was reached with the International Boxing Federation.

The IBF had given Lewis a Friday deadline to pay the 300,000 US dollars sanction fee to keep their version of the world heavyweight title.

This followed the IBF withdrawing their belt from the Lewis-Evander Holyfield fight in Las Vegas on Saturday because they say the British boxer's camp refused to pay the sanction fee.

Lewis' lawyers had intended fighting the case if Lewis did lose the title he won fairly and squarely at the Thomas and Mack Center before a crowd of 17,916.

But Lewis' manager Maloney said: 'I've received a phone call from our lawyers to inform me that they have come to a settlement with the IBF and Iÿve been informed by the IBF that they have received the money.

'They have now sanctioned the fight and Lennox is now the IBF heavyweight champion as well as the WBA, the WBC and the IBA.

'I'm pleased that this has been sorted out. It's good for boxing and it's great that politics hasn't overshadowed Lennox's achievement.

'Lennox will be over the moon. He wanted his belts and he's got them all now.

'Holyfield got into the ring with two, Lennox had two, he was supposed to leave with four, he only left with three but now he's got his fourth belt.

'Lennox is going to enjoy his moment with the British people now he is undisputed champion. He's worked 10 years to get there and now he's going to share his achievement with his loyal fans back home.

'There was never any doubt about the 300,000 dollars. It was just about where it was supposed to be paid.'

The controversy stemmed from Lewis promoter Panos Eliades' reluctance to pay the 300,000 US dollars for the IBF to sanction the fight because he feared the money might be lost if the governing body were disbanded by the FBI.

Four IBF officials, including president Robert Lee, face federal charges which allege the individuals routinely altered rankings of fighters in exchange for 338,000 US dollars in bribes from boxing promoters, managers and other officials. Lee pleaded innocent at his arraignment yesterday.Eliades, because of the legal problems facing the IBF, attempted to broker an agreement with them, with the help of the Nevada Commission, that would put the 300,000 US dollars fee into escrow - an independent, frozen account.

Eliades signed a hand-written agreement on the day of the championship bout but the IBF did not and subsequently pulled their belt off the table.

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