Mike Tyson could box in May, but he won't wrestle in June


Thursday, March 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


NEW YORK (AP) _ Mike Tyson might box in the United States in May. As for wrestling in Japan in June _ no way.

``Not only is Mike not wrestling there, he has never spoken to these people,'' Shelly Finkel, Tyson's adviser, said Tuesday about reports that the former undisputed heavyweight champion is planning to wrestle in Japan.

Finkel was angered by a statement released in London by Frank Maloney, manager of WBC-IBF champion Lennox Lewis of Britain, contending that Tyson had no interest in fighting Lewis and instead planned to wrestle in Japan.

``What Tyson has not told the public is that team Tyson has been in negotiations to follow the legendary Muhammad Ali, but this will not be in the boxing ring, instead it will be in a wrestling ring in Japan,'' Maloney said.

According to the official website of Antonio Inoki, who wrestled Ali in 1976, Inoki said he had received an offer from Tyson's lawyer for a fight with a Japanese martial arts expert and that a match was tentatively planned for June 15 or 16 in Tokyo. Naoya Ogawa, a pro wrestler, was listed as a possible opponent.

Maloney identified the attorney who contacted Inoki by fax as Michael J. Smith.

``Michael Smith is not Mike Tyson's attorney, and he is being put on notice,'' Finkel said.

As for Tyson's next fight, Finkel said, ``We're looking at either the winner of Holyfield-Ruiz or David Izon. If it's Izon, it would be in early May.''

Evander Holyfield, who twice beat Tyson, once in the notorious Bite Fight, will defend the WBA title in a rematch against John Ruiz Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Lewis is scheduled to fight American Hasim Rahman April 21 at Johannesburg, South Africa.

When Ali met Inoki in a 15-round match June 26, 1976, Inoki spent most of the time lying on the mat kicking out at the boxing champion. Ali required hospitalization for damage to his legs.