- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 2, 2002

Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis have agreed to the terms dictated by the International Boxing Federation to have their embattled fight set and a venue secured by March 25, IBF officials said yesterday.

Representatives for both contacted the IBF and agreed to the conditions the IBF has set in order for Lewis to hold onto the title and delay a mandatory defense against No.1 heavyweight challenger Chris Byrd, according to IBF president Marian Muhammad.

Members of the District Boxing and Wrestling Commission are hoping to have Tyson licensed and MCI Center in place as the site for the fight soon, but the city now faces strong competition from Michigan. Tyson also will seek a license to fight in Detroit against Lewis, the IBF and World Boxing Council champion.

Tyson adviser Shelly Finkel told the Detroit Free Press yesterday that it appeared Michigan was the front-runner to secure the fight, saying, "I'm convinced there's a pretty good chance it will happen there."

That means the District commission may not get a chance to question Tyson before considering his boxing license, which, according to commissioner Michael Brown, they hoped to do privately before their scheduled March 12 public meeting on Tyson's license.

If Tyson is not licensed and a venue in place by March 25, Lewis must begin negotiations to fight Byrd or risk being stripped of the IBF championship, according to the organization's conditions in response to Lewis' request for an exception from a mandatory defense against Byrd. That fight, according to a court order, was scheduled to take place by April 22.

Another deadline is looming. Under the terms of the contract with Tyson, Lewis is allowed to withdraw from the agreement and seek different financial terms if the fight is not set by March 15, industry sources said.

The IBF also has demanded that the Lewis-Tyson winner fight Byrd next and no later than Dec. 8. It stipulated that Lewis begin negotiations to fight Byrd immediately if the Lewis-Tyson fight does not take place. If Lewis doesn't meet the conditions, the IBF can strip him of its title.

Byrd has until Thursday to appeal the IBF's ruling.

In October 2000, Tyson fought Andrew Golota at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. The fight was stopped after two rounds when Golota refused to continue. Tyson was declared the winner, but it was later learned that Tyson had tested positive for marijuana in a prefight exam. He refused to take a post-fight test.

Tyson was fined $5,000 by the Michigan Athletic Board of Control and his Michigan license was suspended for three months. He also agreed to donate $200,000 to a group of Michigan charities.

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