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Bruno on Boxing
Joe Bruno

January 15, 2000

Bruno on Boxing

By Joe Bruno--Former Vice President of the Boxing Writers Association and the International Boxing Writers Association

New Item : Mike Tyson arrives in England for his fight with Julius Francis

"Bring us your worn, your huddled masses. Bring us anyone who can make us a bloody buck."-- proposed sign at Englandís Heathrow Airport.

Rapiní Mike Tyson arrived in England on a Concorde jet on Sunday, January 16th for his scheduled fight with British heavyweight champion Julius Francis (Orange Julius?), and anti-rape campaigners immediately said they were ready to ask the High Court to review the government's decision to let the convicted rapist into their country.

Justice for Women, a group that campaigns against domestic violence and sexual assault, was incensed that Home Secretary Jack Straw "exceeded his powers" in overriding immigration rules. Anyone convicted of a crime that would carry a 12-month jail sentence in Britain is deemed unfit to enter the country unless he can show compassionate reasons.

Pat Wilkins, a lawyer for the women's organization, said "It is a blatant contradiction that this government has a strategy to tackle violence against women and then the Home Secretary lets a rapist into the country."

Straw, who leads the department that oversees law enforcement, cited "special circumstances" Thursday in admitting Tyson. He said he was influenced by small businesses in Manchester that stood to lose money, and by fight fans hoping to see Tyson's first bout in Europe.

"On the one hand is the abhorrence of his (Tysonís) record," Straw said. "On the other hand, the inconvenience to members of the public - innocent members of the public - who by this stage had already gotten their tickets."

Francis, a former jailbird himself, said he stood to loose 100,000 quid if Tyson were not allowed in England, and as a result, Francis said he would have to file for bankruptcy, then sue his country.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and the weaker sex in Britain braced themselves for a big battle.

"I think much of the country is behind us," said Julie Bindel from the Justice for Women organization. "This is to challenge the decision of the Home Secretary. This (review) is to look at the extent of his powers and whether or not he has abused them. It is not a witch hunt against Tyson. It is actually looking at how the Home Secretary has acted inappropriately, so I do think we have a good chance. We have the top lawyers in the country working on this."

British promoter Frank Warren, who proposed this monstrosity-of-a -fight in the first place, said would lose at least 1 million scones if the Tyson-Francis fight was canceled. Warren said, "I am pleased to have got to this stage (Tyson being allowed in England), so now we can get on with the fight and put all this behind us."

No spit Sherlock.

Tyson, who stands to make a bloody good $12 million for his fight against Francis (The Talking Mule?), once said he admired famed British killer Reggie Kray, and that Kray, who is still in British prison after a 1969 murder conviction, wrote to Tyson while Rapiní Mike was in a United States prison.

Tyson was quoted in the British Daily Mail as saying: "Reggie Kray knew what I was going through. He came from the people, and even though he was a killer, people still loved him and his brothers."

Yeah, just like us Yanks love John Gotti. Give me a bloominí break.

The guys wearing the powdered wigs in the British courts, and the whole of Scotland Yard, should investigate this talking-out-of-the-side-of-his-mouth Straw-man post haste. The way English law reads is that Tyson had to show those at immigration at Heathrow Airports there were "strong compassionate reasons" why the ex-rapist should enter England's cloudy shores, not "strong monetary reason." As a bit of added advice, Mr. Straw better not even think about buying himself a new luxury car with cash. At least not for the next month or so.

The bottom line in this whole Tyson situation is this: money talks, bullcrap walks. Even in a snooty country with supposed high standards of morality like England.

Warm beer is the least of our "Mother Countryís" predicaments for sure.


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