Mike Tyson vs. Julius Francis
|Date||29 January 2000|
|Venue||M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England|
|Title(s) on the line||None|
|Tale of the tape|
Tyson's previous fight had come against Orlin Norris three months prior. The fight was another controversial one for Tyson, who hit Norris with left hand after the first bell had rang that dropped him to the canvas. Norris fell awkwardly and injured his right knee in the process and decided that he could not continue on with the fight, which was then declared a no-contest after only one round. Originally, Tyson stated that he would be in favor of a rematch with Norris in December of that year, but Tyson instead chose to face British journeyman Julius Francis in what would be his first fight in Europe and his first outside the United States since his 1990 loss to James "Buster" Douglas. However, Tyson's impending arrival in England caused a stir, as his 1992 rape conviction led to concern as to whether or not Tyson would be allowed into the country. The issue was brought to the Home Office, a department of the U.K. government that is responsible for immigration and security, and on 13 January 2000 the head of the department, Home Secretary Jack Straw, announced his decision to allow Tyson into the country, stating that he "did not want to hurt the businesses in Manchester that were expecting a windfall from the fight or disappoint the fans who had bought tickets." Several of Britain's top politicians criticized Straw's decision, including Trevor Phillips who accused Straw of "caving in" and "ignoring the law." Tyson officially arrived in England on 16 January 2000, where he was met with protests from the feminist women's group, Justice For Women, who hoped to have the decision to allow Tyson in England overturned. Tyson would lash out at his protesters, calling the group "just a bunch of frustrated women who want to be men." Tyson's opponent Julius Francis was installed as a 16–1 underdog going into the fight. Francis was recognized as the British Heavyweight Champion, but came into the fight with an unimpressive 21–7 record, having lost to several heavyweight contenders in the years before his fight with Tyson, including John Ruiz, Željko Mavrović and Vitali Klitschko. Nevertheless, Francis maintained that he and Lennox Lewis were the only two British boxers who were worthy enough to face Tyson.
Tyson would dominate the fight, gaining five knockdowns over Francis in a span of four minutes. The first knockdown came with 45 seconds left in the first round. After being backed into the ropes, Francis attempted to throw a right hand, but the attempt missed and Tyson landed a right uppercut that sent Francis down. Francis remained on his knees before finally getting back up at the count of nine. Tyson responded by throwing three consecutive power punches in an attempt to gain the knockout victory, but the punches missed and Francis quickly clinched with Tyson in an effort to slow Tyson down. The two were separated with 15 seconds left and Tyson continued his attack and was able to gain a second knockdown just before the round ended with a quick left hand, but Francis was able to get back up at the count of 7. As the second round began, Tyson continued his assault on Francis and was able to gain a third knockdown less than 20 seconds into the round. Francis again got back up but was knocked down again only seconds later by a left uppercut. Though he was clearly hurt, Francis got up for the fourth time but Tyson quickly ended the fight after another right uppercut sent Francis down. Following the fifth knockdown, referee Roy Francis immediately stopped the fight and Tyson was awarded the knockout victory at 58 second of the second round.
- For Tyson, A Setback For Bout In Britain, N.Y. Times article, 2000-01-12, Retrieved on 2013-08-19
- Tyson Is Cleared To Fight In Britain, N.Y. Times article, 2000-01-14, Retrieved on 2013-08-19
- Straw "caved in" on Tyson , BBC article, 2000-01-13, Retrieved on 2013-08-19
- Women's Group Protests Tyson's Arrival in England, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article, 2000-01-17, Retrieved on 2013-08-19
- Tyson Lashes Out At Women's Group, N.Y. Times article, 2000-01-20, Retrieved on 2013-08-19
- Francis Gets His 10 Rounds of Fame, N.Y. Times article, 2000-01-27, Retrieved on 2013-08-19
- Bloody Good, Sports Illustrated article, 2000-02-07, Retrieved on 2013-08-19