Boxing legend Tyson keeps his promise to visit Yorkshire fan

By
TysonTalk

Published: November 22, 2005

Source: yorkshiretoday & doncastertoday

by Lucy Harvey

FEW people keep holiday promises to visit their new-found friends at home, but it appears boxer Mike Tyson is a man of his word.The
former world heavyweight champion made a special trip to Askern in
Doncaster just as he reported in this newsarticle, to visit dedicated fan Andy Booker, at his council-owned
semi, after vowing to pop by more than 20 years ago.

A T-bone steak was the heavyweight request of former boxer Mike Tyson when he dropped into Donny for a spot of lunch.
The
Sunday lunch date at his Askern home was superfan Andy Booker’s dream
come true after a 21-year friendship with the man known as Iron Mike.
“It
is a dream come true for Tyson to visit – he always promised this when
he retired and he is a man of his word. When I said Tyson would be
visiting, a lot of people thought I was having a laugh – I have visited
his homes in the US where he grew up and he always wanted to see my
home town,” said Andy, a newsagent in the town.
When Tyson arrived
in the Askern on Sunday afternoon, he received a rousing reception with
hundreds of people, lining the streets, chanting the sports superstar’s
name, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sportsman as his convoy swept by.
The
White Hart pub was the boxer’s first port of call – although Tyson, now
converted to Islam just had orange juice. Around 150 people packed the
pub eager to be able to say they’d had a drink with Iron Mike.
Outside
Colin Leeson, 52, of Marian Crescent, Askern, said: “Tyson is a legend
and just to see him is amazing. I have followed him throughout his
career and for him to come to Askern is just fantastic.”


More quotes and images available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).
And Kim
Embery, 23, of The Avenue, said: “I’ve never really followed boxing but
I was interested in the visit because it is so unusual and he is so
famous – it was a great atmosphere in the pub.”
Landlady of the
White Hart, Michaela Fox, 32, who only took over the pub 16 weeks ago
with husband Wes, 32, said: “It is a great occasion for the pub and the
community – quite amazing really.”
Askern Mayor, Malcolm Woodrow, who shook hands with Mike, also hailed the visit as a big lift for the village.
“The
visit is very unique. After all the deprivation caused by the closing
of the mines, to get a visit like this puts a bit of spark back.”
Tyson
spent about an hour in the pub before heading down the road to Andy’s
house on Sunnymede Crescent for a spot of lunch and to meet Andy’s
family – before being whisked off to a hotel near Pontefract.
And
what did Iron Mike make of it all? “I’m very happy to be here. Andy has
always been in my corner when things weren’t okay. I’m happy to hang
out at the bar regardless of my status. It has been great to meet
Andy’s family. He visited me and has seen me grow up and I wanted to do
likewise when my career has finished.”
“I’ve never visited Yorkshire before. Everyone has been so friendly,” he added.

Mr Booker, 41, first met his hero in 1984 during a holiday to New York and has followed his career avidly for two decades.
He has missed only one of his 56 fights, and has stayed at America’s top hotels courtesy of Tyson.
Mr Booker, who has tattoos of his hero on his back and leg, said: “People have always had the wrong impression about Mike.
“He
has always paid all my hotel expenses and really looks after me. People
say he has blown all the money he has earned and there is no doubt he
has got through a lot. But he is a very generous man and has given a
lot away.
“I was with him once when he gave $250,000 to a tramp
begging in a New York street, but you never hear about that side of
Mike Tyson. The media prefer the bad guy image.
“He has six children
and has set up $5m trusts for them. He doesn’t have a lot of cash left
but you could say he is still comfortably off.
“Mike always promised he would come across to see me when he retired and he is a man of his word.

Tyson said: “Andy is a
good and loyal friend and we go back a long way. He has always been
there to support me even when things weren’t going okay.
“He has
visited me and has seen where I grew up and I wanted to do likewise. I
promised I would visit him once my career had finished.
“I’ve never been to Yorkshire before and I’ve had a great time. Everyone has been so friendly.”
Last
night he was due to host a charity question-and-answer session at the
Doncaster Dome leisure centre in front of 800 fans who each paid £150
per ticket.


Andy
Booker, from Yorkshire, England, shows off his back, tattooed with a
Mike Tyson Image and signature