Tyson gives up heavyweight title

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The Independent Online

Mike Tyson, the world heavyweight champion, last night gave up his World Council title, paving the way for Britain's Lennox Lewis to have a crack at the vacant crown.

The WBC declared the heavyweight title vacant and said it would be calling for purse offers for a title fight between Lewis and the American Oliver McCall.

Tyson, who won the WBC title from Frank Bruno in March, still holds the World Association's world title which he won earlier this month against Bruce Seldon.

Dino Duva and Panos Eliades, the promoters, said a purse bid for a championship fight would be held tomorrow. Eliades and Duva, who run Main Events, co- promote Lewis.

"We are disappointed and surprised that Tyson decided to give up the title instead of fighting Lennox," Duva said. "The heavyweight championship is one of the most valued possessions in sports. For Tyson to just throw it away like this is incredible. I thought he was a warrior. I was wrong.

"Lennox has waited patiently for his opportunity," Eliades said. "We would have preferred to challenge Tyson for the title, but he did not want the fight."

Lewis became the mandatory challenger for the WBC title in May 1995 by defeating Lionel Butler in an elimination bout.