Heavy hitters: The boxers Tyson must beat to reunify the world title Compiled by Owen Slot

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The Independent Online
Oliver McCall

How the belt was won and lost

Lennox Lewis, the previous holder, had been unbeaten in 29 fights until McCall took the title from him at Wembley in the early hours of a September Sunday last year. There was nothing clever or classy about McCall's victory; Lewis had left his chin in the air and McCall cheerfully whacked him on it.

Holder's

credentials

Competent fighter from Chicago. Main strength is his chin (never been knocked down), main weakness is his temperament (thus a tendency to go into the ring unprepared). Five defeats in his previous 29 fights show why Lewis made the mistake of underestimating him.

Competition for the belt

McCall has already fought off a challenge from Larry Holmes. Frank Bruno steps up for a shot at the title on Saturday. McCall may yet vacate it anyway as he has promised his wife that he will retire.

Tyson's

chances

McCall used to be Tyson's regular sparring partner and so might manage a reasonable defence against him.

Riddick Bowe

Not a highly valued title. Michael Moorer and Ray Mercer, previous WBO champions, both returned the belt. Riddick Bowe, who won it from Herbie Hide, followed suit recently deciding he didn't want a share of his money for his forthcoming bout with Evander Holyfield to be taken by the WBO, thus leaving the title vacant.

Bowe was the ideal champion, at 6ft 5in and just over 17 stone, the best proven fighter in the world in Tyson's absence. His flaw is his inability to walk past a hamburger bar without opening his wallet and his only defeat in 38 fights came when an overdose of fast food helped Holyfield to relieve him of his world titles.

No contenders lined up. The WBO is fast resembling other joke titles (the WRU, for instance, set up recently by a man in Norfolk who wrote to Foreman asking him to be his champion) and Tyson may not be interested.

Pretty good if there is no one there to defend it.

Bruce Seldon

George Foreman, the last holder, was stripped of his title when he refused to bow to pressure to face a Don King fighter. Seldon won the vacant crown in April when Tony Tucker, his opponent, was stopped in seven rounds because of cuts.

Not brilliant. Seldon looks the part - very muscular, perfect boxer's build - but has a worrying habit of being knocked over. Riddick Bowe discovered this in 1991 when he knocked him out in one round. Seldon's career statistics: 33 wins, 3 defeats.

Seldon made his first successful defence last weekend against Joe Hipp, an American in gross condition who barely landed a blow.

Seldon is due to make his next defence in November.

The impression is that Tyson would have more trouble finding the venue than he would have in overcoming Seldon once he got there.

George Foreman

George Foreman was the last man to win it, shocking the world with his victory over Michael Moorer last November. He lost it, though, when he was stripped of his title for refusing a second bout with Axel Schulz, the German he was adjudged to have outpointed - controversially - in April.

Foreman was barely more than a cartoon champion in his reincarnation as the Punching Preacher. The expectations of his potential sucessors, Schulz and the South African Frans Botha, are not much higher.

No date yet for the Schulz v Botha fight for the vacant title. The potential of Botha is unknown as his 35-fight unbeaten career has been largely against no-hopers lined up by his promoter Don King.

Neither Schulz nor Botha would should trouble Tyson. Botha would probably put up the better fight as he is brave and strong if not talented.

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