Tyson is man in the middle

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The Independent Online

Mike Tyson is involved in a tug-of-war between two of Britain's premier promoters.

Mike Tyson is involved in a tug-of-war between two of Britain's premier promoters.

Frank Maloney is rivalling Frank Warren in the bid to stage Tyson's proposed British debut.

Warren has a date of January 29 booked for Manchester's MEN Arena, while Maloney wants to feature Tyson at the Wembley Arena on the 22nd.

Whatever the date or venue, Maloney's British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Julius Francis is the probable opponent.

While Maloney manages Francis, Warren has the vital link with American cable network Showtime who screen Tyson's fights, and that must make him favourite to win the day.

Maloney, meanwhile, is waiting for a fight contract to guarantee Francis the biggest pay day of a career which has blossomed late, and brought him outright ownership of a Lonsdale Belt in April.

It must come by Wednesday - Francis' 35th birthday - with an unreturnable deposit, or Francis goes ahead with his British title defence against Harry Senior at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre on December 18, insists Maloney.

"It would be a lot better if the two promotional companies could sit down and work out a deal," said Maloney.

"This is a fight which has been on and off, on and off for the last three-and-a-half weeks. If Francis gets the Tyson fight, Christmas will have come early for him.

"I believe Tyson's handlers are happy with the opponent, I just want to know if Tyson's going to fight in this country and who's going to promote it.

"I've given everyone until Wednesday to deliver a contract, or else Julius goes ahead with the 18th. I've told him not to even focus on Tyson, just think about the 18th.

"Obviously it will be the biggest pay day for Francis. I'm working as a manager for Julius and looking after his interests.

"I want a contract with a non-returnable deposit so if I pull him out of the 18th, he's got some money for Christmas."