Don King, the American promoter, has dismissed a proposed heavyweight tournament that organisers have claimed would produce a genuine world champion.
The British duo, Lennox Lewis and Herbie Hide, were two of eight world- class fighters being courted by the American cable TV network, Home Box Office, to take part in a pounds 116m competition to start in October.
HBO claimed the tournament, in which the eventual winner would fight a maximum of three bouts, would cut through the politics of boxing to produce a universally recognised champion.
Not one of the fighters is connected to King, who is the promoter of the former world champion, Mike Tyson, and regarded as the most influential man in boxing.
"I think we all know that it's a joke," said King. "Mike Tyson is the uncrowned champ, and everyone else is lining up for a chance to fight him."
The titles began to splinter between the various organisations after Tyson - who will begin his comeback against Peter McNeeley next month - lost the unified championship to Buster Douglas in 1990.Reuse content