WASHINGTON (AP) _ The chairman of the District of Columbia boxing commission thanked all those who spoke ``for and against'' Mike Tyson's application for a boxing license in Washington.
He paused, then added: ``I'm still waiting for the against.''
After hearing from some 60 members of the public _ all in support of Tyson _ Arnold McKnight and his two fellow commissioners on the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to give the heavyweight a license.
The vote makes the city's MCI Center the favorite to stage a Tyson bout against WBC-IBF champion Lennox Lewis on June 8.
``The commission went above and beyond the requirements of our statute,'' McKnight said. ``An unprecedented examination of a boxer was ordered, and an unprecedented examination of a boxer took place.''
Tyson was not at the meeting. In statement released by spokesman Scott Miranda, he said was ``thrilled to be licensed in Washington D.C.''
``I applaud their decision and will give the fight fans in the District the fight they deserve _ the chance to see me knock out Lennox Lewis in June,'' Tyson said in the statement.
But there is work to be done before the fight becomes reality. Lewis must finish his application for a license _ although that appears to be a formality _ and both camps must work out financial arrangements.
``There is still a big question whether or not the fight ever makes it here,'' said Rock Newman, who managed former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. ``Because of boxing politics, because of the economics, you just don't know.''
The commission's vote was no surprise. The commissioners had said several times that they felt the fight's potential economic benefit outweighed concerns about Tyson's past.
The speakers at the meeting agreed.
``He's not coming here to give a presentation on morality,'' said D.C. resident Malik Waleed to raucous cheers from the standing-room only crowd. ``This is a boxing match.''
Washington is competing against several sites for a Tyson-Lewis fight. Tyson also has been licensed in Tennessee, and Detroit has emerged as a front-runner among a crowded field that has attracted international interest.
The search for a place for Tyson to box began Jan. 29, when Nevada turned down his license request. The commission there cited Tyson's past, which includes a 3-year prison sentence for rape, a 1-year sentence for a road rage assault and a 1-year boxing suspension for biting Evander Holyfield during a fight.