Mike Tyson's decision to fight in Milan has already started a rush for tickets a week before they go on sale.
Two months before Tyson's second European fight and seven days before the 10,000 tickets are available, they had already been flooded with calls for seats.
"We got calls from Paris, London and other European cities demanding tickets at any price," said a spokeswoman for the box office at the Filaforum, the sports arena where Tyson will fight Lou Savarese on May 20.
Reports in Britain suggest that tickets could cost as much as £600.
"In Milan, people are going to attend a super event, because Tyson is a superstar not only in boxing but also as a person," Promoter Frank Warren said. "We expect an impressive response."
When Tyson fought in Manchester, on Jan. 29, scoring a second-round knockout of Julius Francis, 21,000 tickets were sold out in two days. Demand exceeded 50,000.
Tyson said recently he wanted three more fights before challenging undisputed champion Lennox Lewis. Warren told a news conference Friday that it was still uncertain whether Tyson's next bout after this one would be in Europe or in the United States.
Organisers said Tyson will travel to Milan 10 days before the fight with Savarese, stay in a luxury downtown hotel and train in a gym neighboring a park.
"Tyson loves Milan, visited briefly in 1991, and insisted he wanted to fight here," Warren said. "Being a shopaholic he will enjoy all the stores in Milan."
The fight at Filaforum - which hosted such international events as the world ice hockey championships and a Davis Cup final - is scheduled to start between 2230 and 2300 GMT. It will be shown on a six-hour delay in the United States on Showtime.
Savarese (39-3) is expected to be a tougher opponent than Francis.
"It's a fight Tyson can't afford to lose," Warren said. "Savarese is a tough opponent, with a big opportunity to upset the odds."
Tyson enters the Milan fight with a record of 47 wins (41 KOs), 3 losses and one no-contest.
The bout was originally planned in April but was postponed to May 20 because Tyson, who will turn 34 on June 30, reportedly demanded more time to prepare.
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