Tyson 'looking forward' to NZ visit

By Abby Gillies

Mike Tyson. Photo / AP
Mike Tyson. Photo / AP

The man once known as the "the baddest man on the planet'' is looking forward to meeting Maori on his first visit to New Zealand next month.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson will spend a day in Auckland for the New Zealand leg of his "Day of the Champions'' show, before heading to Australia.

Speaking from Las Vegas today, he said he wasn't sure what to expect on his visit but wanted to meet Maori - citing his facial tattoo he said was inspired by the culture.

"Other than that I've never heard of Maori people so I'm looking forward to come down there and see them. I've never been there before so it'll be pretty interesting to go there,'' he said.

He wasn't planning on getting any more tattoos while here though.

At age 20, Tyson was the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, and is the only person to have owned them simultaneously.

The 46-year-old's successful boxing career has been marred by a rape conviction, drug dependency and the infamous ear biting incident in his bout with Evander Holyfield in 1997.

In 1992 Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for the rape of an 18 year-old woman, and was paroled after three years for good behaviour.

In spite of his conviction he has been granted a visa to enter New Zealand next month - a decision Prime Minister John Key said he could not understand.

Tyson responded to the opposition saying everyone was entitled to their opinion and that his controversial past was "gone and dead''.

Audiences at his shows could take inspiration from his personal story, but he was not a motivational speaker, he said.

"I'm not a motivational speaker, that's not what I do. I'm an entertainer.''

Tyson recently finished shooting Scary movie 5 and performing on Broadway. He is also known for his appearances in The Hangover and The Hangover 2.

He hoped to continue to further his acting career, spend more time with family and "just enjoy life''.

- APNZ

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