Tyson on wrong end of record fine

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Mike Tyson was fined £125,000 by the stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control in London yesterday.

Mike Tyson was fined £125,000 by the stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control in London yesterday.

Tyson, 34, was not present at the hearing but was represented by a legal team of seven, including the British QC Geoffrey Robertson, his British solicitor, Mark Stephens, and three senior partners from an American law firm.

The hearing was called so that Tyson could answer two charges of bringing the sport into disrepute during and after his fight against fellow American Lou Savarese in Glasgow on 24 June. The first charge was for his part in the melee in the ring involving Savarese and the British referee, John Toyle, for which the stewards fined Tyson £125,000, beating the previous record at the Board by £115,000.

The second charge related to some of Tyson's post-fight comments for which the Board did not fine him but issued a severe reprimand.

"Mike can box on without hindrance and we will decide whether to appeal the size of the fine," said Stephens.

Tyson's British promoter, Frank Warren, who attended the four-and-a-half-hour hearing, said: "The amount of the fine shows just how seriously the Board treated the incident. The good news for Mike Tyson is that he can still box on."

The Board could have called for a ban or a suspension of Tyson's licence and if that had happened the boxer would have struggled to find a venue anywhere in the world at which he could fight.

It was revealed after the hearing that Mr Robertson had used the Human Rights Act to argue that Tyson's comments after the fight were simply an exercise in free speech. It clearly worked.

It is unlikely that Tyson will appeal the fine, which is a tiny fraction of the purse he received for the fight, which could have been as much as $12m (£8m).

In 1997 Tyson was fined $3m and his licence to box was revoked after he bit off a segment of Evander Holyfield's ear in a title fight. The fine was 10 per cent of his purse.

Yesterday at the Board hearing, which was held in a neighbouring hotel to accommodate the press turn-out, there was never a suggestion that he would be banned or face a fine of anything like 10 per cent of his purse.

The reality is that Tyson's comments and actions in the ring in Glasgow were typical of what he has done in the past and yesterday's hearing should never have taken place.