Holyfield to stay home for title defense

October 26, 1991|By Alan Goldstein

Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, who never has fought a major heavyweight bout in his hometown of Atlanta, will accomplish that personal goal at The Omni on Nov. 23, when he defends his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles against Francesco Damiani of Italy.

"The site got down to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and the Omni," said Kathy Duva, spokeswoman for Main Events Inc., which promotes Holyfield's fights. "Evander said he felt this might be the last opportunity to fight in his back yard."

Holyfield reportedly will earn $8 million for his first defense since winning a unanimous decision over former champion George Foreman, in Atlantic City, N.J., on April 19. Damiani, who lost his World Boxing Organization crown to Ray Mercer in January, will receive $750,000 for the bout, which will be carried by Home Box Office.

The Omni will scale its 17,000 seats from $250 to $25.

Damiani (27-1), a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics, is replacing Mike Tyson, who had been scheduled to challenge Holyfield in Las Vegas on Nov. 8 before he suffered a rib injury in training.

Attempts to reschedule the $100 million fight in January proved futile. Tyson faces a jury trial in Indianapolis on Jan. 27 for the alleged rape of a beauty pageant contestant.

The World Boxing Council, strongly allied to Tyson's promoter, Don King, will not sanction the Holyfield-Damiani match, viewing it as a non-title affair since Damiani is not rated among its top 10 heavyweights. The WBA and IBF planned to elevate Damiani, idle since January, to the top 10.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.