New Zealand bans former boxing champ Mike Tyson

Posted at 10/03/2012 11:51 AM | Updated as of 10/03/2012 11:51 AM

WELLINGTON - New Zealand revoked an entry visa for former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson on Wednesday after a charity going to benefit from his visit dropped its support.

Tyson, 46, who served three years of a six-year U.S. jail sentence for rape in 1992, had been due to take part in an event in November, but needed a dispensation under New Zealand immigration laws because of his conviction.

However, a youth-related charity trust which originally backed his visit to appear at the event, billed as "Day of the Champions", said it no longer wanted to have anything to do with Tyson's visit due to his rape conviction.

"Given that the Trust is no longer supporting the event, on balance, I have made the decision to cancel his visa to enter New Zealand," Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson said in a statement.

She said the original decision to allow Tyson in had been a "finely balanced call", with the backing of the charity a significant factor in the dispensation being granted.

Tyson's planned visit had been attacked by women's groups and criticised by the Prime Minister.

Tyson was undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion in the 1980s, but in 1992 he was convicted of raping teenage beauty queen Desiree Washington in Indiana and served three years in prison.

He added to his notoriety later in the decade when he bit rival Evander Holyfield on both ears in a 1997 bout, for which he was disqualified and temporarily suspended from boxing. Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003 and retired from professional boxing in 2006.

Last month, Tyson spoke to a financiers' conference in Hong Kong about his life before and after boxing, his family and his acting career, which includes a recent one-man show on Broadway.

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Michael Perry)