Ban Mike Tyson from Australia, says crime victims

Ban Mike Tyson from Australia, says crime victims, by Peta Hellard and Ben Packham
(Credit: Herald Sun)

* Mike Tyson to play poker in Australia
* The former boxing champ has rape conviction
* Victims of crime say 'ban him'

A storm has erupted over plans by ex-heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, to come to Melbourne to play poker.

Crime victims have called for the ex-con, who once bit a boxing opponent's ear off in the ring, to be banned from entering Australia.

Tyson, 42 - who's playing poker with spin king Shane Warne in Las Vegas this week - says he plans to head to Melbourne in January for the $10 million Aussie Millions Poker Championships.

He said he'd finalised a deal with Crown casino that would see him compete in the rich tournament.

"I love Australia, but I've never been before," he told the Herald Sun. "I really want to come and see the country."

But Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said a visa should be refused.

"He has bitten off ears. He has done all sorts of things," he said.

"If we sent someone over there with a record like that he wouldn't get into the United States."

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans said it was premature to speculate on whether Tyson would get a visa: "The minister won't speculate on a person's visa application."

Tyson would usually have to pass a character test to gain entry.

This could be difficult, considering he served three years' jail for the rape of an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant.

But he could appeal directly to the minister.

US rapper Snoop Dogg was barred from Australia last year by then immigration minister Kevin Andrews after the "gangsta" rapper failed to reveal a conviction for drugs and gun offences for which he got five years' probation.

Tyson served three years of a six-year jail sentence for the rape of Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington, in 1991. He also served 3 1/2 months of a 12-month jail sentence in 1998 after bashing a motorist in Maryland.

And he served another day in jail and was put on three years' probation last November for cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

Undisputed heavyweight champion for over two years before losing to underdog Buster Douglas in 1990, Tyson is also infamous for biting off part of opponent Evander Holyfield's ear in 1997.

Mr McNamara said: "To bring a bloke like that out here . . . who is a rapist and not of good character - it is absolutely outrageous."

He said it was insulting that Tyson might profit from the poker trip: "I am disgusted."

This week, Tyson is joining Warne and 9000 of the world's best poker players in a World Series of Poker tournament.

Warne will be joined by boxer Jeff Fenech, who coached Tyson in the latter stages of his career, in an Australian team.

Tyson did not know of Warne - whom he met for the first time last night through Fenech - but said he knew of cricket.

"I know what cricket is-- you throw a ball and then you hit it with a paddle," he said.

"I've seen it on TV before."





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