Fareham football club pulls the plug on Tyson event

DROPPED Mike Tyson
DROPPED Mike Tyson
Oxford Circus tube station has been closed after a police incident

UPDATE: Oxford Circus tube station opened again after police say there is no evidence of shots being fired or any casualties

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PLANS to hold an event with former boxing champion Mike Tyson at Fareham Town Football Club have been cancelled after the leader of the council stepped in.

Councillor Sean Woodward spoke to the club after concerns were raised about holding the evening in the town.

It was only moved to Fareham after more than 3,000 people signed a petition and protested against holding it at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Members of sexual and domestic violence support charity Aurora New Dawn had opposed the plans.

Cllr Woodward said he read about it in The News and decided something needed to be done to ensure it wasn’t held in the town.

‘I asked them not to hold it and to cancel it,’ he said.

‘I didn’t think we needed that sort of adverse publicity.

‘They will need to find somewhere else to go and not in Fareham.’

Tyson, pictured, was the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title at the age of 20.

But he was jailed for six years in 1992 for raping an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant.

Nick Ralls, chairman of the football club, said: ‘We’ve got to embrace the whole community and if one area of it aren’t happy about something we aren’t going to put it on.

‘We need to make sure that everyone is happy.

‘It was fairly controversial, as it turned out. We don’t want to upset anybody.

‘I wasn’t aware of the controversy and of Tyson’s background, so we thought better of holding this event.’

Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Portsmouth-based charity Aurora New Dawn, said she is thrilled that the club have made such a decision.

‘We contacted Fareham ourselves anyway and they got back to us to confirm they wouldn’t be holding the event,’ she said.

‘We do offer services in the town so we were going to continue the campaign down there.

‘We’re absolutely delighted that they aren’t holding it.

‘We just feel it’s important that people recognise that Mike Tyson does have and has had very misogynistic views on women and violence against women and violence in general.

‘It’s not appropriate for him to be celebrated as a hero in that way.’

The petition held a total of 3,199 signatures protesting against the event in the city.