Lewis team battles to protect belt

LENNOX LEWIS, who on Wednesday night was dethrone as the World Boxing Association champion without so much as taking or throwing a punch, may no longer technically be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but his advisors have made it clear that they, at least, are not prepared to accept the decision without a fight.

Lewis's promoter, Panos Eliades, yesterday confirmed he would be making moves to try to prevent other contenders fighting for the vacant title.

After a New York judge stripped Lewis of the belt, it would appear that the Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz fight in June will count for the World Boxing Association championship. But Eliades has other ideas. "We're trying to get an order to prevent anybody else fighting for the belt until an appeal is heard," he said.

"If they [Holyfield-Ruiz] fight for that title and Lewis wins the appeal, who's got the belt? We are trying to expedite the matter, but the paperwork will not be in before Lewis makes his next defence."

That is against America's Michael Grant for the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles at Madison Square Garden, New York, on 29 April.

Eliades added: "We don't expect a decision until a long way down the line. We are talking about months, not weeks."

It took Lewis seven years to unify the titles with his points victory over Holyfield in Las Vegas in November in the re-match that followed the controversial draw in New York eight months earlier. Yet, after 146 days, the title is once again split.

Lewis is virtually certain to fight South Africa's Frans Botha at London Arena on 15 July, if Grant is overcome. That would be Lewis's first appearance in Britain since losing the WBC crown to Oliver McCall at Wembley Arena in September 1994.

Then the time will be approaching for Lewis to defend the IBF title against the top contender David Tua. Eliades will have to start negotiations for that fight from 1 August, then will come the WBC's mandatory challenge, making it difficult for Lewis to fit in a meeting with Mike Tyson - if it can be set up. With the title now split, perhaps Tyson might see the way ahead as a third fight with Holyfield - if he beats Ruiz. It would certainly have huge appeal for American audiences.

Meanwhile, Lewis must concentrate on the Grant fight and his manager, Frank Maloney, said: "He's prepared himself mentally and now he's got to pick himself up again.

"In the 10 years to unify the belts, he's had a lot of ups and downs. The WBA title was won in the ring and unfortunately it has been taken away from him in a court room."

Several prominent figures in the British boxing scene spoke out in support of Lewis yesterday. Henry Cooper, the former British and European heavyweight champion, said: "Boxing doesn't need this. I am a great believer that world champions only lose their titles in the ring. Lennox has dodged no-one and has fought all the logical contenders. You can't say he is taking easy fights.

"The problem is there are so many people with fingers in the pie these days. If you unify the titles there are fewer people involved and so less money to spread around."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power