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Francis versus Tyson

January 31, 2000

This week's subject is the boxing match between Britain's Julius Francis and America's Mike Tyson. For many months, there has been much advertising for this match, and much speculation about Tyson's remaining ability and Francis's chances of being able to stand up to him. As it turned out, it was a vintage performance from Tyson who was far too strong for Francis. The British man was knocked to the canvas five times in two rounds before the referee stopped the contest.

A lesser known fact about this particular bout was the problem's that Tyson had in gaining entry into Britain. Britain has a law that states that anyone who has been convicted of an offence for which the British sentence would be greater than twelve months imprisonment, is not to be allowed to enter the country. Tyson is a famous man, and as you may know, he has been convicted of such as offence and is therefore not able to enter Britain.

However, the authorities did not remember this rule until a week before he was due to fly into London. The fight had been organised. An arena had been booked and tickets had been sold. So, should he be allowed into the country to fight? Or should he be banned according to the law? Not surprisingly, there was much argument on the issue. The government wanted to allow him in because it would be a boost to business. The opposition wanted to ban him because that was the law, and they said that the government had no right to break the law for profit. Eventually, the "home secretary" (interior minister) decided to allow Tyson to enter the country.

This was not the end of the matter though! Tyson's conviction was for rape, and so the various women's pressure groups were outraged that the law was being broken to allow a rapist into the country. They launched a high court challenge to have him deported before the fight. The challenge was eventually rejected and the fight went ahead, but there remains a problem: Tyson cannot easily fight in America and the now everyone is aware of the law banning him from Britain. So, the question is, where will he fight next? Britain is his preferred choice, but will the home secretary allow him to enter the country a second time? I predict that there will be as much debate and argument next time as there was this!

If you have an opinion on this issue, then email me at dareid@btinternet.com and if I get enough comments, I'll write a follow up article.

by Duncan - Great Britain, enjoys writing to penpals from all over the world

© January 2000 English on the Internet www.aj.cz