Controversial Tyson Arrives in Britain

Published June 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

 

Controversial former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson kept a low profile as he slipped into Britain on Sunday ahead of his next fight with journeyman pugilist Lou Savarese in Glasgow next Saturday. 

There was no repeat of the pandemonium generated by the 33-year-old's arrival at London Heathrow in January. 

Gone was the unwieldy scrum of fans, photographers and reporters that he had to fight through last time. 

In its place was a secretive display of formalities on a windswept apron at the fringes of Heathrow's terminal four. 

Tyson fights his fellow American at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Saturday night, but will spend a few days training at his London hotel before flying to Scotland on Wednesday. 

The 10-round bout, dogged by controversy, cleared its final hurdle on Friday when Glasgow City Council granted a safety certificate for the venue, but promoters have reduced the Glasgow stadium capacity for the fight to 51,800 after failing to sell all 60,000 tickets.  

Earlier, Tyson's promoters were forced to fend off a legal challenge from women's rights campaigners angry that the convicted rapist had been allowed into the country for a second time. 

Home Secretary Jack Straw decided to grant Tyson a visa for the fight despite political opposition and protests from women's groups. 

Promoter Frank Warren explained the elaborate arrangements by saying that police had insisted on them. 

"Customs and police insisted because of the public disorder that took place last time," he stressed. 

Tyson's arrival at Heathrow in January descended into chaos when numerous security guards and police officers could not hold back a crowd of around 400 fight fans, photographers and reporters who swamped the fighter. 

At least two women were sent flying in the maul before Tyson was finally guided through the crowds. 

This time, if Tyson had come through the arrivals hall, he would have found it virtually deserted. 

A small party of reporters and photographers began gathering at the arrivals exit hours earlier, at about the time Tyson must have been boarding his flight.  

The army of Tyson fans from his last visit were nowhere in evidence apart from one or two camera-toting diehards lurking in the arrivals hall - (Several Sources) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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