Lewis's $4m to stand aside

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The Independent Online
Wrangling over the heavyweight championship took another twist last night when Lennox Lewis and his associates were offered $4m to let Mike Tyson go through with a challenge for the World Boxing Association held by Bruce Seldon.

The contest, scheduled for Las Vegas on 13 July, was wiped off the heavyweight agenda earlier this week when the Supreme Court upheld legal restraints on Tyson undertaking any contests until a defence of the World Boxing Council championship against Lewis.

It now appears that Lewis may be willing to step aside on the understanding that Tyson will not be risking the WBC crown against Seldon and that he will defend it against him later this year, probably in September.

Lewis's principle associates, Panos Eliades and Dino Divo of the American promotional organisation, Main Events, insist that the deal has not been finalised but reports from New York suggest that following talks with Tyson's promoter, Don King, they are close to an agreement. Not done and dusted but close.

It is also possible that Tyson in turn will step aside enabling Lewis to fight the vacant title, one he gained by decree three years ago when Riddick Bowe gave it up rather than fight him.

Naseem Hamed secured one of British sport's biggest individual sponsorships yesterday when he signed a deal with Adidas believed to be worth around pounds 5m. However, the World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion, his handlers, and the sportswear firm are refusing to divulge the exact amount.