Tyson set for early release from jail

BOXING

Prison officials have given a reprieve of sorts to the former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and moved his release forward to the original date of 25 March.

Tyson's release date on a six-year rape conviction had been moved back to 9 May after he was disciplined in May 1992 for threatening a guard and disorderly conduct at the Indiana Youth Centre in Plainfield.

But the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner, Christian DeBruyn, has decided to lift the penalty after discussing Tyson's case with prison staff, said a department spokeswoman.

The 28-year-old Tyson, who withdrew his request for an appeal hearing on his 1992 rape conviction late last summer, could be released earlier than 25 March if a motion before the Indiana Superior Court judge, Patricia Gifford, is granted. The defence has asked Gifford to reconsider the sentence.

If Tyson is let out earlier, he would be released under house arrest, which means he would wear an electronic device that monitors his whereabouts.

Tyson, who became the youngest world heavyweight champion at the age of 20, was convicted of raping Desiree Washington, a 19-year-old Miss Black America beauty pageant contestant, in February 1992. Gifford sentenced Tyson to 10 years in prison and suspended four years of the sentence.

Among the queue of candidates hoping to fight Tyson on his release is Frank Bruno. The British heavyweight believes prison life will have made an even more daunting prospect of the former champion, who has not fought since beating Razor Ruddock on 28 June 1991.

Bruno, in preparation for Saturday's sell-out bout with Puerto Rico's Rodolfo Marin at Shepton Mallett, said: "Going to prison is no funny business. It might have made Mike more determined. It might have made him more hungrier, more wiser, more positive."

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