Mike Tyson takes a curtain call during a performance of his one-man show… (Michael Loccisano / Getty…)
Mike Tyson was looking forward to meeting the people who inspired his famous facial tattoo. And, presumably, some people in New Zealand and Australia were looking forward to hearing the former boxing great during his speaking tour down under.
But it now appears that nobody is going to get their wish.
Tyson's visa for New Zealand has been canceled after a charity that would have benefited from a appearance by the one-time heavyweight champ pulled out of the event due to his 1992 rape conviction. And Australia still hasn't decided whether to let Tyson in to perform his one-man show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," which is directed by Spike Lee and appeared on Broadway earlier this year.
Tyson has said he was hoping to meet New Zealand's indigenous Maori people -- whose facial art he said inspired his own -- while in the country to speak in November at the "Day of Champions" charity event in Aukland. He had initially been granted a visa in the country, but Prime Minister John Key has spoken out against the visit and the Life Education Trust charity withdrew its support of the event on Tuesday.
The ex-fighter was sentenced to six years in prison for the 1991 rape of an 18-year-old woman in an Indianapolis hotel room and served three years before being released on parole.
People with that type of criminal record are often denied visas in Australia, but a spokesman for the country's Department of Immigration and Citizenship said a decision on Tyson's application is “still pending.”
Still, Sydney agency Markson Sparks is still selling tickets for appearances in New Zealand and five major Australian cities. Promoter Max Markson said he is still hopeful Tyson will get visas from Australia and New Zealand once he finds a suitable replacement charity.
But Markson added that he will give refunds if Tyson can't come.
“He'll only be in the country for 20 hours, I don't think he's a danger to anybody, and thousands of people want to see him,” Markson said.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.