Holyfield to fight Damiani on Nov. 23 Atlantic City, Atlanta, Vegas potential sites BOXING

October 25, 1991|By Alan Goldstein

Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has a definite title opponent, Francesco Damiani of Italy, and a date, Nov. 23, but the fight site remained unsettled yesterday.

Shelly Finkel, Holyfield's business adviser, said he was negotiating with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., and The Omni in Atlanta, the champion's hometown.

"We should have a definite site by tomorrow [today]," Finkel said.

The next job could be in getting Damiani ranked among the top 10 heavyweights by the three main sanctioning bodies. Idle since he lost his World Boxing Organization crown to Ray Mercer in January, the native of Bagnocavallo, Italy, has dropped to 16th in the World Boxing Council ratings.

WBC president Jose Sulaiman of Mexico is a strong ally of promoter Don King, who controls former champion Mike Tyson. It is expected that the WBC will not recognize Damiani (27-1) as a suitable title challenger.

"Even if the WBC won't support Damiani, we expect that both the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation will put him in their top 10," said Kathy Duva, spokeswoman for Main Events Inc., which promotes Holyfield.

"We see two openings in the top 10 after Tommy Morrison and Joe Hipp both lost last week," she said. "Damiani should fill one of those spots."

Meanwhile, King was seeking an alternate fight for Tyson. He was informed Tuesday by Main Events president Dan Duva that Tyson must wait for a chance to challenge Holyfield after their Nov. 8 match was postponed when Tyson sustained a rib injury Oct. 8 in training. Efforts to reschedule the fight in January proved futile.

Tyson is facing a Jan. 27 trial date in Indianapolis for alleged rape.

King held preliminary discussions Wednesday with Rock Newman, who promotes unbeaten Riddick Bowe, ranked No. 2 by the WBC.

"It's very possible," King's matchmaker, Al Braverman, said of the proposed Bowe-Tyson bout.

Newman was rebuffed in an effort to have Bowe replace Tyson as Holyfield's next opponent. Bowe is scheduled to fight journeyman Elijah Tillery at the Washington Convention Center on Tuesday night.

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