PROMOTERS of a controversial tour starring exboxing world champion Mike Tyson are to take legal action against the bosses of one of the south’s top venues after they pulled the plug on the show.
Management at Portsmouth’s Guildhall have scrapped the £150-ahead show after Tyson’s comments about American politician Sarah Palin.
The World Class Boxing Council, due to host An Evening with Mike Tyson, came under criticism from rape charities.
Bosses at the venue initially defended the decision to stage the question-and-answer session with the colourful ex-fighter, who was jailed in 1992 for raping an 18-yearold beauty pageant contestant.
Despite condemnation from charity Rape Crisis, which complained treating the boxer as a legend could have a serious effect in silencing victims of sexual assaults, they insisted “he has served his time.”
But now a row has broken out after the Portsmouth Cultural Trust, which runs city-council owned Portsmouth Guildhall, cancelled the event. It released a statement saying it had “decided that it would be in the best interest of Portsmouth Guildhall not to go ahead with the event”, but did not explain further.
The Daily Echo has seen a copy of the email sent from the trust and can today reveal the cancellation was due to comments Tyson made about Sarah Palin.
The email read: “Further to information which clearly indicates that Mike Tyson’s views towards women haven’t changed, reference his comments concerning Sarah Palin, I have discussed the situation at some length with colleagues and intend to cancel Mike Tyson’s appearance at the Guildhall.
“As an organisation which is striving to be values-based his views place the trust in a continued situation which is damaging to our reputation and can only bring us into continued conflict.”
It offered the promoters a different boxer but they declined.
The promoters are now holding the evening on October 12 at privately run Fareham Town Football Club.
Damages And they say the trust’s conduct was a breach of their contract.
Andy Foreman, of the WCBC, defended the decision to host an event with Tyson.
He said: “All they have done is ruin something for the city of Portsmouth. They are talking about something that happened 21 years ago, let it go. He was coming to talk about boxing."