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Tyson Relinquishes WBC Heavyweight Title

September 25, 1996

TOTOWA, N.J. (AP) _ Mike Tyson would rather give up his WBC heavyweight title than fight No. 1 contender Lennox Lewis. There is a question, however, whether the WBC will accept Tyson’s decision.

The WBC said from Mexico City that its board of governors is still voting to determine whether it will accept Tyson’s decision to give up the title. The organization said 26 of 32 votes have been received and are in favor of accepting Tyson’s request.

Promoters Panos Eliades and Dino Duva, who co-promote Lewis, and the WBC said a purse bid for a championship fight between Lewis and No. 2 contender Oliver McCall will be held Thursday in Mexico City.

``We are disappointed and surprised that Tyson decided to give up the title instead of fighting Lennox,″ Duva said. ``The heavyweight championship is one of the most valued possessions in sports.

``For Tyson to just throw it away like this is incredible. I thought he was a warrior. I was wrong.″

Tyson had an agreement to give up the WBC title as soon as he stopped Bruce Seldon to win the WBA championship earlier this month. That was one of the terms of a binding contract signed by both sides.

Tyson and promoter Don King agreed to give up the WBC title as part of a deal in which Lewis also accepted a $4 million compensation payment to step aside. The WBC also said Tuesday that it discovered Lewis had an exclusive promotional deal with HBO that prohibited him from facing Tyson.

Lewis became the mandatory challenger for the WBC title in May 1995 by defeating Lionel Butler in an ordered elimination bout.

``Lennox has waited patiently for his opportunity to regain the title,″ Eliades said. ``We would have preferred to challenge Tyson for the title, but he did not want the fight.″

Tyson won the WBC title from Frank Bruno in March.

King is lining up a WBA defense against Evander Holyfield in November, followed by a challenge for Michael Moorer’s IBF title.

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