McBride: 'I'll be first Irish heavyweight champion'

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The Independent Online

Kevin McBride insists he is a "legitimate contender" for the world heavyweight title after his defeat of Mike Tyson.

Kevin McBride insists he is a "legitimate contender" for the world heavyweight title after his defeat of Mike Tyson.

"It's great, it's great for Ireland," McBride said after his victory at the end of the sixth round. "Ireland has been crying out for a heavyweight for a long time and I am a legitimate contender now, not a pretender."

"I told Mike it was going to be fast and it was. He is a warrior and I respect him, and I'm a warrior - I came with all the heart from Ireland.

"Tyson is a clever man," he added, "he was trying to look for an opening but thank God he didn't get a punch on.

"I'd like to thank my father because he was the first man to show me how to make a fist. I'm not the fastest man in the world but I've got a big heart.

"I'm going to be the first Irish-born heavyweight champion of the world," McBride claimed.

Since moving to America seven years ago - on the advice of Steve Collins, the former World Boxing Organisation super middleweight champion - McBride has made steady progress under the tutelage of Goody Petronelli.

Not only did Petronelli train Collins but Marvin Hagler too, the former undisputed world middleweight champion. The improvement has not been so dramatic as to lift McBride any higher than 27th in the world, still his best ranking. But it put the 32-year-old high on the list of potential opponents for Tyson.

McBride, known as "the Clones Colossus", after his hometown in Ireland, now has eight wins in a row.

Tyson, who lost his last fight against Briton Danny Williams in July last year, confirmed he will retire. "I'm not going to fight again," he said. "I'm not taking anything away from Kevin, I don't like this [boxing] anymore. I haven't loved fighting since 1990.

"I'm just fighting to take care of my bills. I don't have that ferocity. I'm not an animal any more."

l The WBO light-welterweight champion Miguel Cotto overcame Mohammed Abdullaev, of Uzbekistan, with a ninth-round stoppage in New York to stay on track for a possible fight against Ricky Hatton next year. The Puerto Rican, who lost to Abdullaev at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, won the fight after a swelling on his opponent's right eye prevented him from continuing.

Mad, bad and dangerous to know: the troubled times of Mike Tyson

* 1978 Arrested for purse-snatching as a 12-year-old in Brooklyn.

* 1982 Expelled from high school.

* 1987 Charged with assault after allegedly hitting parking attendant. Settles out of court.

* 1988 Breaks right hand in a street brawl with former opponent Mitch Green.

Wife Robin Givens sues for divorce.

Sandra Miller sues Tyson for allegedly grabbing her, insulting her and propositioning her in a New York nightclub.

* 1990 Sued by Phyllis Polaner, former aide to Givens, for sexual assault and harassment.

New York City civil jury finds Tyson committed battery in Miller case.

* 1991 Is charged with raping 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington in a hotel room in the early hours of the morning.

* 1992 Convicted of rape, jailed for six years but only serves half the sentence.

* 1997 Fined £2m and loses Nevada boxing licence after being disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield's ears during world title fight.

* 1999 Sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty of assaulting two motorists in a traffic incident.

* 2000 Fined £125,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control after continuing to throw punches when fight against Lou Savarese in Glasgow is stopped.

* 2002 Brawls with Lennox Lewis at press conference to announce their forthcoming world heavyweight title fight.

* 2003 Files for bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court.

* 2005 Retires from boxing after defeat to Kevin McBride.