Published: June 18, 2004
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson received the blessing of the Hawaii State Boxing Commission yesterday to headline a split K-1/boxing card this September at Aloha Stadium.
The commission met with K-1 president Scott Coker and local promoter Tom Moffatt at its monthly meeting to discuss the parameters of the proposed card, but barring any surprises, Tyson will fight here in Hawaii.
“The commission is not about to put any blocks on the promotion, barring legal issues,” commission consultant and former executive officer Bobby Lee said. “Of course, we will want to see the contracts and other paperwork, but we would like to see this fight happen in Hawaii.”
Coker and Moffatt sat before the commission yesterday and outlined a plan that would have Tyson fight Jerome Le Banner in a strict boxing match. Le Banner has made his name in kickboxing with a 30-9-1 record in the sport but is 5-0 with 4 KOs as a boxer. Ray Sefo, another kickboxer, would be Tyson’s opponent if Le Banner cannot go, but the commission seemed comfortable with Le Banner, even viewing tapes of him in action following the meeting.
Tyson, a former heavyweight champion, is scheduled to box July 30 in Louisville against Kevin McBride.
K-1 has had a promotional contract with Tyson since April for one boxing fight and an option for another, according to Coker. Tyson served as color commentator for a K-1 pay-per-view special broadcast from Aloha Stadium last year.
Although its enthusiasm was evident during the meeting, the commission made it clear that Tyson must meet all Hawaii state law requirements, including a physical and a personal appearance in front of the State Boxing Commission, to be licensed.
Moffatt envisions a full card of six to eight fighters — local names like Brian Viloria, Teddy Limoz and Samson Po’uha were mentioned as undercard possibilities — in boxing matches preceded by a like number of K-1 fights possibly including Bob Sapp and Akebono. Moffatt said he expects to approach 30,000 in attendance and told the commission that it was looking at 100 million viewers on pay per view.
K-1 is a mixed martial art that bills itself as a mix between karate, kickboxing, tae kwon do and kung fu.
Because the state regulates boxing but not mixed martial arts like K-1, the commission would only have a say in the boxing aspect of the event. Moffatt says he would like to see a K-1 show for a few hours, with a boxing show to follow after an intermission.
Having K-1 and boxing in the same building was thought to be a possible snag, but commission chairman Randy Ahlo says it was not and never would have been.
“Nobody has ever asked us anything like this before,” Ahlo said. “We told them if they complied with the bylaws, we would have no reason not to approve it.”
Coker says if this event is successful, he expects it to be just the first meeting in a long relationship with the state. He has boxers Shannon Briggs, Ray Mercer and Francois Botha under contract and said he would like to do similar shows at least once a year.
“The Japanese influence here makes Hawaii a natural,” Coker said. “It works timewise for Japan. And it actually works against the U.S. (mainland) because of the time frame here. But, you know … worldwide, it’s going to be fantastic.”
Coker said it would not be a problem getting mainland viewers to stay up for the event.
“Of course. It’s Mike Tyson.”
By Jerry Campany/ Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Source: Doghouse Boxing