Lennox Lewis confirms Mike Tyson did bite him during infamous brawl

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Lennox Lewis has recalled his infamous press-conference brawl with Mike Tyson prior to their heavyweight clash in 2002 – confirming his old rival bit him during the skirmish.

Lewis successfully defended his unified heavyweight titles against Tyson in Memphis, Tennessee, knocking out the former undisputed champion in one of the most lucrative bouts of all time.

Their showdown proved a box-office hit following a crazy melee at the pre-fight press conference, which saw both men and their respective security teams become embroiled in an ugly altercation on stage.

In Lewis’ new documentary, ‘Lennox: The Untold Story’, the Brit’s long-time friend Courtney Shand sheds light on the tension leading up to their first encounter.

“The moment we got together for the press conference, there was so much tension,” says Shand.

“I remember when we got to New York, the night before the press conference he said: ‘If Mike makes one move for me forget about all the money, I’m not backing down from him. I’m not backing up from him.'”

Lewis then recalls his version of events, confirming Tyson bit him during the brawl.

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The 55-year-old says: “All of a sudden I’ve seen him take his hat off, throw it on the ground and start marching towards me.

“Boom. I was on it – the first three punches were mine and the first bite was his.”

Tyson was forced to pay Lewis £260,000 as punishment for biting his leg at the press conference, which almost resulted in the fight being scrapped.

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Their heavyweight dust-up was originally due to be held in Las Vegas, only for the Nevada State Athletic Commission to take ‘Iron’ Mike’s licence away.

Promoters subsequently decided to find an alternative, choosing Memphis as their destination for one of the highest-grossing PPV events in boxing history.

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Tyson had history with biting, of course, having been suspended from boxing for ripping a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear three years earlier.

Lennox: The Untold Story is out now on digital and on DVD from Monday.

  • Mike Tyson

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