- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

Negotiations are ongoing for former two-time heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to fight at MCI Center against Irish heavyweight Kevin McBride on June 11 in a Showtime pay-per-view event, local matchmaker Chris Middendorf confirmed yesterday.

However, sources close to the financing of the fight said negotiations were a long way from being finalized, and, as often is the case with a Tyson event, details are murky.

The group seeking to put up the money for the fight includes Rock Newman, the former boxing manager who attempted to bring the Tyson-Lennox Lewis championship fight to the District three years ago, sources close to the negotiations said.

Tyson (50-5, 44 knockouts) has not fought since July 2004, when he was knocked out in the fourth round of a stunning upset by British journeyman heavyweight Danny Williams. Tyson, 38, injured his left knee in that fight and required surgery. He recently has been working out in a Phoenix gym with former featherweight champ Jeff Fenech as his new trainer.

Middendorf, who is working with Raging Promotions, the local boxing firm run by Marty Wynn and former women’s boxing champion Isra Girgrah that is hoping to stage the event, said plans are in the works for the June 11 fight against McBride — another unheralded challenger with a 32-4-1 record and 27 knockouts. But no announcement has been scheduled despite a notice on the boxing Web site fightnews.com that a press conference was set for the Lincoln Theater at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. Middendorf called that report “bogus.”

Women’s boxing champion Laila Ali, who fought at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie in July in a Raging Promotions event, also is scheduled to be on the card.

Tyson, who has had difficulty finding a place to license him since his press conference fracas before the Lewis fight, was granted a license to fight in the District by the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission when talks were taking place to bring the Lewis fight to Washington. Eventually, that fight took place in Memphis, Tenn. After being knocked out by Lewis, Tyson stopped Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds in February 2003.

It is believed Tyson’s District license has expired, meaning he would have to renew it to fight in Washington.

Tyson, who reportedly earned more than $300 million in the ring, is fighting to reduce his debt of nearly $40 million since filing for bankruptcy last year.

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