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  March 26, 1998



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Tyson answers Austin's challenge


 BOSTON (AP) -- Wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin asked Mike Tyson last month if he was man enough to take him on in the ring.

Tyson responded Thursday with a big, wet smooch.

The former heavyweight champion and the wrestler met in the ring on City Hall Plaza during a promotional workout for the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania on Sunday at FleetCenter.

Tyson, banned from boxing last July when he bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear, was booed by the rowdy crowd of wrestling fans that gathered for the workout.

"I hate Mike Tyson. I hope he gets killed," said accountant Jamie Chamberland.

"I'm waiting for something to happen, like he's going to flip out and hurt someone," said 24-year-old Mary Candler, waiting with a camera in the midst of a mostly male crowd.

The crowd hollered obscenities at Tyson, Austin and other wrestlers, and many held up signs and giant foam gloves showing an obscene gesture.

Tyson is supposed to play the "special enforcer" at the WWF championship match between champion Shawn Michaels and Austin, the WF's most popular wrestler. But there has been speculation that the boxer would enter the ring and throw some punches.

At Thursday's promotion, Tyson joined Michaels and two other wrestlers giving Austin a beating, and finished it off with a long kiss on the forehead while Austin was held against the ropes.

Tyson -- who wore a brown jacket and slacks in contrast to the colorful or menacing costumes favored by the other wrestlers -- looked decidedly awkward trying to join the theatrics of professional wrestling as he lightly kicked Austin's legs.

Tyson got a few moves and gestures down, but refrained from mooning the crowd from the roof of a limousine, like Michaels did.

During the event, someone in the crowd threw a film canister containing two batteries that hit Michaels in the head, and the wrestler promptly left the ring.

On Jan. 19 in Las Vegas, just as WWF owner Vince McMahon was to announce Tyson's Wrestlemania appearance, Austin appeared from nowhere, entered the ring and -- with a push and an obscene gesture -- questioned Tyson's manhood. McMahon suggested later that Tyson would wrestle Austin.

"I don't think he should really be here, because he blew his chance in the ring," said Jeremy DiFlaminies, 14, of Norwood. He and many other spectators said they'd rather see Holyfield -- boxing or wrestling.

Tyson, whose purses have topped $100 million in his last six fights, said he would be making a little more than $3.5 million for being involved in the WWF championship match -- a $34.95 pay-per-view event.

As for how Tyson's appearance might affect any attempt to reapply for a boxing license with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, McMahon said he's been told the commission has "no problem whatsoever with Mike being involved with the WWF in any capacity."

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