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Tyson to Defend Title Against Thomas--Maybe

March 31, 1987|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Mike Tyson, the World Boxing Assn. and World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, will defend his titles against Pinklon Thomas on May 30 in Las Vegas, fight promoter Don King announced Monday.

Thomas, a former WBC champion, is ranked as the No. 1 contender by the WBC and No. 3 by the WBA. He lost his title to Trevor Berbick on a 12-round decision March 22, 1986.

Murray Goodman, a publicist for King, said the Tyson-Thomas fight is scheduled for 15 rounds--the WBA limit--at the Las Vegas Hilton. WBC championship bouts usually are 12 rounds.

WBC and WBA officials expressed surprise at King's announcement and said their organizations might not sanction the bout.

Alberto Aleman, adviser to WBA President Gilberto Mendoza, said Tyson should be required to fight the association's top-ranked contender, Tyrell Biggs.

"He's skipping No. 1 and No. 2 (Tony Tucker) to fight No. 3," Aleman said from his home in Panama City, Panama. "Why? I don't know why."

WBC President Jose Sulaiman said the fight should be 12 rounds, rather than 15, because Tyson would be making a mandatory WBC title defense against Thomas. But he said he is hopeful the WBA and WBC can agree on a set of rules that will allow Tyson to defend both titles.

"The public wants one heavyweight champion, and we will do everything we can to make sure that it gets one," Sulaiman said in an interview from WBC headquarters in Mexico City.

Goodman dismissed the bickering between the organizations as "petty politics," and said he is confident the fight will take place.

"Somewhere along the line, there has to be an agreement between the two bodies," he said. "Usually, they can't even agree on what time it is."

Tyson knocked out Berbick in the second round to win the WBC title Nov. 22, 1986, and then added the WBA championship by winning a 12-round decision over James (Bonecrusher) Smith on March 7. On the same night, Thomas knocked out Danny Sutton in the seventh round.

Tyson is 29-0 with 26 knockouts. Thomas is 29-1-1 with 24 KOs.

The Tyson-Thomas fight will be shown on Home Box Office, a cable network that is televising a series of fights designed to unify the heavyweight championship.

A third major boxing organization, the International Boxing Federation, recently stripped Michael Spinks of its heavyweight title. James (Buster) Douglas and Tucker are expected to fight for the vacant IBF championship. The date and site have not been determined.

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