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TRAINING IN TUNICA

Boxers to set up training camps at Fitzgeralds, Sam's Town.

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The rumors have been confirmed: Fitzgeralds Casino in Tunica will host Mike Tyson and his training camp, and Sam's Town casino will host heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. The boxers will meet June 8th in The Pyramid.

"My owner, Don Barden, challenged me with the task of making sure the next heavyweight champion would be working out here. I think I've accomplished that," jokes Domenic Mezetta, vice president and general manager for Fitzgeralds Tunica Casino.

Representatives from Fitzgeralds, Sam's Town, the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau, and fight promoter Brian Young announced the decision on the training camps Tuesday, April 16th, in a press conference at Fitzgeralds.

"It was an easy choice on these casinos," says Young. "Fitzgeralds made us a tremendous offer. We were so impressed with them. We didn't feel there was any place better suited."

Mezetta claims there was no truth to the rumor that Fitzgeralds was the only casino willing to host Tyson's camp, saying, "There were other people who wanted him too."

He says Tyson is expected to arrive on June 1st and will stay at Fitzgeralds until June 9th. Mezetta also says that there will be at least one public and one media workout scheduled but does not know the dates or how tickets will be handled. With a capacity of only 500-700 spectators in the training area, Mezetta anticipates that the viewing audience will have to rotate for everyone to watch.

The training camp is expected to begin June 1st with the dates and times of public workouts to be announced at a later date.

Rick White, Sam's Town director of marketing, says that he ranks the upcoming Lewis/Tyson fight in the same category as the legendary Muhammad Ali/George Foreman match.

"Here you have two fighters who have been there -- have knocked out the best in the world. There are two champions at work here," says White.

Young says that the undercard fighters have not yet been decided but that they and their camps will likely be housed at some of Tunica's other casinos.

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