Originally created 01/18/00

Anti-rape group fails in bid to expel Tyson



LONDON -- Mike Tyson won his second fight in England before stepping even inside the ring for his European debut Jan. 29 against Julius Francis.

He beat immigration authorities last week after they threatened to bar him from the country because of his 1992 rape conviction. On Monday, he won again when the High Court denied an attempt by a women's group to stop the bout.

Tyson trained Monday in his hotel across the street from Hyde Park. He also did some sightseeing and went for a well-guarded training run.

The group, Justice for Women, filed court papers Monday challenging Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to let the former heavyweight champion into the country.

The court decided a few hours later there was no reason to review Straw's decision, giving the go-ahead to the bout in Manchester.

In allowing Tyson into the country, Straw cited "special circumstances" and said he was influenced by the local businesses that stand to earn millions of dollars from the fight.

Following a 90-minute hearing, deputy High Court judge Jeremy Sullivan ruled Straw's decision will not be reviewed because of the "practicalities of the matter."

"Clearly, a great deal of arrangements will have to be made, not merely by Mr. Tyson and those in his camp, but by his opponent and by third parties," the judge said.

Women's group spokeswoman Julie Bindel had asked the court to "clarify the powers" of Straw and challenged his "autocratic and arrogant behavior."

She called Tyson an "absolute disgrace" and said he should donate his earnings from the bout -- estimated at $8 million to $12 million -- to rape crisis charities.

"We quite frankly wish the home secretary would intervene on compassionate grounds for people we really do feel need to seek refuge and asylum in this country -- and not millionaire rapists," Bindel said.

Under British law, anyone convicted of a crime that would carry a 12-month jail sentence in Britain is deemed unfit to enter the country unless there are "compassionate reasons." Tyson was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant and served half his six-year sentence before he was paroled.

Black organizations said they supported Tyson's arrival.

"We should not be hypocrites when we allow our own home grown sports personalities to beat up their wives/girlfriends or members of the public and get away with it," said the 1990 Trust, which represents black groups in Britain. "Mike Tyson has served his time and should be treated as a `free man."'

Tyson settled in Monday at Grosvenor House Hotel across from Hyde Park. He trained behind closed doors in a makeshift gym set up in an elegant salon with chandeliers and thick carpeting.

In the afternoon he left the hotel in a black Mercedes for what handlers said was sightseeing.

The boxer received the kind of chaotic welcome usually reserved for rock stars when he arrived at Heathrow Airport on Sunday aboard the Concorde. Several people were pushed to the floor in the mayhem and one man was accidentally shoved into Tyson's limousine.

One of Tyson's first stops was a car showroom, where he spotted a McLaren Formula One model that he expressed interest in buying.

With photographers and reporters camped outside his hotel, Tyson was seen briefly about 3 a.m. when he left his room for a walk.

The Daily Mail said Tyson wants to visit Reggie Kray in Maidstone Prison in Kent. The two reportedly became pen pals when the English gangland killer, jailed for life in 1969, wrote to Tyson in prison.