Italian promoter ready to accommodate Tyson

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Rescheduling the now twice-delayed Mike Tyson fight is not a problem on the Italian end, the match's Milan-based promoter said today.

Italian promoter Salvatore Cherchi made the assurances following the announcement on Sunday from Tyson's manager that the planned May 20 fight against Lou Savarese in Milan will be postponed until at least June.

The manager, Shelly Finkel, said in the United States that the fight might not be held in the Italian city at all, depending on when it is rescheduled.

But Cherchi said there are June dates available at the Filaforum, and if a scheduling conflict arose, the match could be moved to Milan's outdoor San Siro stadium.

"In boxing, if a fighter needs a week or two more to train that's understandable," said Cherchi. "We are available to make it work."

Finkel met with the former heavyweight champion Saturday to try and find a new date amid reports Tyson had not been training and wanted more time to prepare for Savarese.

Cherchi said all but 2,000 of the 11,000 tickets for the fight at Milan's Filaforum arena have been sold. If the fight doesn't take place in Milan, fans will be reimbursed for the tickets, which range from dlrs 1,639 at ringside to $55 for an upper section seat.

The bout was originally planned for April 8, but pushed back to May 20 to give Tyson more time to train.

Executives at the Showtime network, supposed to televise the fight, said earlier that a June 3 date would also be available. Cherchi said he had also heard the June 3 date and would talk about that to Showtime representatives.

Finkel said a decision would be made this week on a new date for the fight.

"We have a lot of things we have to work out," Finkel said.

Cherchi said a cancellation of the fight would damage Tyson's "credibility."

"It would not be a nice thing," Cherchi said. "He's loved here in Italy, and it would be a pity if he lost that support."

Tyson, who will turn 34 on June 30, last fought January 29 when he knocked out Julian Francis in the second round at Manchester, England. The fight in England was the first stop on a European tour that was to include three or four fights before Tyson fights Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield.

The 34-year-old Savarese (39-3) is on the downside of his career, but he is figured to be a tougher opponent for Tyson than Francis.