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Lewis-Akinwande fight goes to Lake Tahoe

May 13, 1997

LONDON (AP) _ Lennox Lewis will defend his WBC heavyweight title in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, July 12 against Henry Akinwande, Lewis’ manager Frank Maloney said today.

The fight was announced last month for Atlantic City, New Jersey, but that site was apparently ruled out because of legal problems in New Jersey for Akinwande’s promoter Don King.

In November 1995, New Jersey casino regulators barred King from holding a Mike Tyson-Buster Mathis Jr. fight in Atlantic City because of his legal troubles.

Lewis, reported to be earning about $5.2 million for the fight, is 30-1. He won the title Feb. 7 in Las Vegas when the referee stopped the fight after a seemingly confused Oliver McCall threw only two punches in the fourth round and one in the fifth. Lewis’ only previous loss was to McCall.

Akinwande, who has relinquished his WBO title to fight Lewis, has 32 wins, no losses and one draw. Akinwande was awarded the mandatory challenge because he was the highest available contender since Tyson is to fight WBA champion Evander Holyfield in a rematch June 28.

Panos Eliades, head of the London-based company Panix that promotes Lewis, said earlier that moving the bout from Atlantic City would cost him between $300,000 and $400,000, a shortfall he wanted King to pick up.

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