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Irish News Past Papers - Oct 20 1998: Mike Tyson gets boxing licence restored after ear-biting incident

BITE NIGHT.....Mike Tyson launching his biting assault on Evander Holyfield during their World Heavyweight title clash in Las Vegas in June 1997
The Irish News Archive

MIKE Tyson was given his boxing licence back yesterday after pleading with officials to stop “torturing” him and allow him to return to the sport he once dominated.

The former world heavyweight champion told the Nevada Athletic Commission that he has suffered enough for biting Evander Holyfield’s ears during a title fight last year and that he needs to box to make a living.

Chairman Elias Ghanem said Tyson had made many mistakes in his life but deserved another chance.

The commission voted four-to-one to restore the fighter’s licence.

Tyson was near tears when he heard that he could return to the ring, as his supporters hugged him and patted on his back.

“I want to warn you, from my view, this will be your last chance,” Ghanem said.

“You will either conduct yourself in accordance with our rules and regulations, or you will probably never fight again in Nevada.”

Muhammad Ali and basketball great Magic Johnson testified on the boxer’s behalf, saying that despite all of Tyson’s problems he should be allowed to return to the ring.

“There are only a few punishments worse than being denied a right to make a living,”

Ali said in a statement read by his wife, Lonnie, who sat next to the ailing boxing great.

In one pointed exchange with commissioner James Nave, Tyson said he was humiliated by the hearing and the psychological tests the commission told him to undergo last month.

“Please don’t torture me any longer, sir,” Tyson said. “I made a mistake.’’

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ST PATRICK'S Maghera side made it a repeat of last year’s Rannafast Cup final by defeating local rivals St Mary’s Magherafelt by 0-17 to 2-7 in the semi-final yesterday afternoon.

Adrian McGuckin’s charges came from behind with six unanswered points in the last quarter, with left half-forward Jim Kelly the star of the show with six points from play and two more from frees.

He was well supported by a strong defence in which Philip Mooney, Barry McGuigan and Enda Cushnahan stood out. Maghera led by 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time but two goals from Michael Bell put St Mary’s ahead 2-7 to 0-11 at the three-quarters stage. St Pat’s now play St Pious Magherafelt in Saturday’s final.

St Pat’s scorers: J Kelly (0-8), B Skelly (0-3), J O’Kane 0-2, C O’Neill, G McMaster, F Bradley, N McKenna (0-1 each).

St Mary’s scorers: M Bell (2-0), R McElhone (0-4, D O’Kane, R Devlin, J McGuckin (0-1 each)

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ENNISKILLEN duo Aaron Burns and Shane Connolly will learn this evening whether they can line out in Sunday’s AIB Ulster Club semi-final against competition favourites Bellaghy.

Burns and Connolly were sent off in the closing stages of the Fermanagh champions’ win over Rostrevor on October 4 and the Ulster Council will tonight decide on the length of the pair’s suspension.

The minimum two-week ban would enable the right half-back Connolly and wing-forward Burns to line out.

However, a month’s suspension would leave the two men sitting out the first part of Sunday’s semi-final double-header at Clones.

Enniskillen manager Seamus Doyle, a former Derry county footballer, yesterday described the incident which led to the sending-offs of his players against Rostrevor as “fairly innocuous”.

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MARK Kilgore emerged the hero as Derry, for the second year in a row, won the Ulster section of the All-Ireland Inter-county Championship at Murvagh.

In the provincial final Derry beat former All-Ireland champions Down by three matches to two with Kilgore securing the all-important third point which put the issue beyond doubt.

The Portstewart member fought a tense battle with Ulster Boys’ Championship James Clarke (Holywood) before clinching victory on the home green.

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