Published: October 20, 2005
by Andy Bond
A traditional Sunday roast, a pint down the local and a spot of culture are on the menu when former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson drops into Doncaster next month.
Former Undisputed Champion Iron
Mike will spend two days in the area as a guest of Askern-based
superfan Andy Booker, whose friendship with the boxer began back in
1984 at Tyson’s very first fight.
He is flying in for a speaking
engagement at The Dome on November 21 and will be met by Andy, a
newsagent, who will take him back to his Sunnymede Crescent home.
is going to have Sunday lunch at my house before I take him out for a
couple of drinks at the local pub. Then we’ll be heading into town for
drinks and a restaurant meal later on. We have booked him into a hotel
in the countryside.”
“On the Monday I will take him to York – he
wants to see some British culture and likes castles and history. In the
evening he will be doing a speech at The Dome. We have organised a
great night for him – Frank Bruno will be coming, as well as Sky boxing
correspondent Steve Bunce.”
Andy, 41, recalled how the pair met when
Andy was holidaying in New York and went along to watch a new
fighter(Tyson) take on – and beat – Hector Mercedes. “I had a Union
Jack draped around me, which I think Mike noticed. We got chatting and
he invited me to his next fight. It then just spiralled from there. I
have been to all his fights – 56 – and have paid for just three – Mike
has paid the rest. We regularly talk on the phone and I have been over
to visit him.”
He added: “I think our friendship has been built on
the fact he respects me. I have never asked anything of him. After he
lost his fight to Lennox Lewis, he offered me a diamond bracelet –
worth one million pounds – I could have retired on the money from this.
I couldn’t take it though and I think it was this respect which made
our friendship grow stronger.”
Now Andy is looking forward to
entertaining his friend on his home patch: “His November visit is going
to be very exciting – he wants to sample some of the traditional
British culture. Mike promised to come over once his career ended – and
it is great. People didn’t believe me when I said Mike Tyson would come
to visit me one day.
Andy’s support for Tyson has seen him travel
the globe to watch his fights. He proudly boasts a Tyson tattoo on his
back and a picture of the boxer on his car – on top of the usual
memorabilia and pictures.
Tyson, now 39, lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tickets for The Dome evening on November 21 are on sale now, contact:
(01302) 370999. The event will include a four-course dinner and
speeches. More info available here.