Judge declines to intervene in Lewis-Grant fight

The federal judge overseeing the IBF corruption trial declined to order the organisation to withdraw from the April 29 heavyweight bout between champion Britain's Lennox Lewis and Michael Grant.

The order was sought Monday by David Tua, the International Boxing Federation's top-ranked heavyweight contender, who believes he should have the next shot at the champion.

His January lawsuit is an outgrowth of the controversial draw between Lewis and Evander Holyfield in March 1999, and not directly related to the racketeering case brought against IBF founder Robert Lee Sr. by federal prosecutors.

Tua asserts that the IBF violated its own regulations by ruling that Lewis was not obligated to fight him until Nov. 13. That is a year after Lewis unified the heavyweight titles by defeating Holyfield in a rematch.

Lawyers for Lewis and the IBF argued against intervention, contending the judge should permit flexibility in how the group interprets its rules, and the conflicts that need to be resolved to bring about a fight that could unify the heavyweight titles of the three major sanctioning groups.

Tua maintains that because his bout against the IBF champion was delayed because of the rematch, it must occur sooner than Nov. 13.

U.S. District Judge John W. Bissell agreed that Tua's rights "have been somewhat abridged," and did not bar the New Zealander from seeking monetary damages at a later date. He ruled that Tua, at 27, has not been irreparably harmed by the delay.