Tyson apologizes _ sort of _ for his actions at news conference

Thursday, January 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Saying he's not ``Mr. Politically Correct,'' Mike Tyson released a written apology of sorts for his part in a news conference melee that could deny him a license to challenge Lennox Lewis.

``I'm a boxer, and from now on, I will let my boxing talk for me,'' Tyson said in the statement Wednesday.

He did not comment on whether he bit Lewis' leg in the brawl at the Hudson Theater on Tuesday. A source close to Lewis' camp, who asked not to be identified, said Tyson did bite the WBC-IBF champion.

Lewis and his advisers declined to talk about it.

''(The fight) is under investigation by the Nevada commission,'' said Gary Shaw, chief operating officer of Main Events, the American promoter of the champion from Britain.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission is scheduled to consider Tyson's application for a license on Jan. 29. It was the Nevada commission that fined Tyson $3 million and revoked his license after he bit Evander Holyfield's ears in 1997.

Tyson got a license a year later, but it lapsed in 1999.

``There was obviously a miscommunication between our camps with regards to the face-off, and chaos broke out,'' Tyson said, explaining how the brawl began.

Apparently, each man was to come on stage upon being introduced and stop on one of two small platforms, which were not close to one another. They were to turn and stare at one another.

Tyson was introduced first. After Lewis got up on his platform, Tyson walked toward him, claiming he was going to engage in a stare down.

When he got close, he was pushed by Lewis' bodyguard and threw a punch at the man. Lewis threw a right hand that grazed Tyson's head and suddenly people were pushing, shoving and rolling around onstage.

After order was restored, Tyson threw up his arms in triumph and made an obscene gesture. Then he became enraged and shouted obscenities at a man who had yelled, ``Put him in straitjacket.''

``I came to New York to promote a fight that I want and boxing fans want to see,'' Tyson concluded in his statement. ``I am not a role model or Mr. Politically Correct.''

During the fracas, Tyson was cut on his hairline, while WBC president Jose Sulaiman sustained a concussion when he hit his head on a table and was treated at a hospital.

On Tuesday, Las Vegas police said they found evidence supporting a woman's claim she was raped by Tyson. Police have forwarded the case to the district attorney's office to consider prosecution.