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 June 9, 2002 | 1150 IST

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Lewis crushes Tyson to retain crown

Lennox Lewis pummelled Mike Tyson to defeat in the eighth round on Saturday to retain his world heavyweight title after an emphatic display.

The British boxer knocked an increasingly dispirited Tyson down twice in the round to end the fight after cutting him around both eyes.

The first knockdown was a left uppercut that staggered Tyson and left him almost defenseless.

The second -- a right to the jaw -- left Tyson, also bleeding from his nose, motionless on his back on the canvas before being counted out two minutes and 25 seconds into the round.

Tyson (L) tries to land a left cross on Lewis during the fightLewis, who retained his WBC and IBF titles in what was billed as the richest fight in history, wheeled away in triumph at the Pyramid Arena before declaring: "This completed my legacy, I wanted to prove I was the best boxer in the world, on the planet.

"Nobody gets away from my jab."

Tyson, meanwhile, a shadow of the fighter he once was and who barely landed a telling punch throughout apart from a couple of hooks, was magnanimous in defeat. "He was splendid, a masterful boxer -- I take my hat off to him," he said.

He said he had needed a few more fights to prepare properly before pleading with Lewis to give him a rematch.

Tyson, who along with his entourage had subjected Lewis to a string of abusive assaults before the fight, added: "We have always been friends but in competition the best man has to win."

Lewis's career record climbed to 40 wins, two losses and one draw, while the 35-year-old Tyson, trying to regain the title he lost in 1996, fell to 49 wins and four defeats.


The 36-year-old Lewis, who has never earned the recognition in the United States which he feels he deserves, had refused to let a leaden-footed Tyson inside throughout, using effective jabs and combinations to keep Tyson away while also staggering him with a series of uppercuts.

Taking advantage of a near six-inch height advantage, he opened up a cut over Tyson's right eye in the third round and assumed control in the fourth.

With 11 seconds left in the round, Lewis swung wildly and Tyson hit the canvas, but it was ruled a push, not a knockdown. Lewis appeared to be docked a point after the incident.

"My trainer wanted me to take him out in the fourth round but I wanted to soften him up more with my jab," Lewis said.

The tactic worked to perfection as Tyson, trying to regain the title for a third time, ran out of steam.

Lewis's main problems, indeed, seem to be coming from the referee as he was warned for pushing and leading on early in the fight.

In the sixth round, Lewis whacked Tyson with a straight right to the head, but a determined Tyson refused to back down and continued to try to move inside on Lewis.

Tyson had not lost since June 28, 1997, when he was disqualified for biting the ears of Evander Holyfield.

He only featured in one round, the first, before gradually grinding to a halt as he was outboxed and out-thought.

The fight had been due to take place in Las Vegas in April but was postponed after a news conference in January turned into a mass brawl after Tyson confronted Lewis.

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