Tyson granted Australian visa

Controversial former boxer and convicted rapist Mike Tyson has been granted a visa from the Australian government, allowing him to go ahead with next month's national speaking tour.

Tyson will visit Australia for the first time after receiving the green light to enter the country and is scheduled to make appearances in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Officials carefully weighed the pros and cons of his visit and of his character given his criminal past before making the decision, said Cian Manton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

She said it was the first time Tyson had applied for a visa to Australia and he was warned the privilege could be revoked if he broke any laws.

"Given the purpose of his visit and the short duration, we considered the risk of him reoffending to be very low,'' Manton told Associated Press.

The Kiwi leg of Tyson's tour is still in doubt after he was forced to lodge a second application to visit the country.

Last month he was granted a special visitor's visa to New Zealand so he could speak at an event in Auckland in November but it was cancelled days later.

Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson made the call after it was revealed the children's charity backing him - Life Education Trust - had withdrawn their support.

However, another application was made after a new backer emerged - the Urban Maori Authority, a support group for disadvantaged youths in south Auckland.

Their chairman Willie Jackson confirmed they would sponsor the visit, saying he wanted Tyson to talk to speak to the area's troubled Maori youngsters during his stay.

Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and won his first 19 bouts by knockout.

After winning his first 37 professional bouts he was surprisingly knocked out by Buster Douglas in 1990, his career in and out of the ring frequently troubled thereafter.

He was jailed for rape in 1992, admitted to squandering up $300 million and infamously bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear during a 1997 bout and subsequently had his boxing licence rescinded.

After numerous comebacks with mixed results he retired from professional boxing for good in 2005, aged 39.

- AAP

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