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Mike Tyson barred from New Zealand due to rape conviction

Mike Tyson speaks to OnTheRedCarpet.com about 'The Hangover Part 2' at the Los Angeles premiere of the movie in May 2011.

October 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a fight Mike Tyson probably won't win. New Zealand has told the fighter he's not allowed in the country.

New Zealand canceled a visa for Tyson on Wednesday because of his rape conviction in the 90s. Tyson was supposed to speak at an event that would have benefitted a children's health charity. The country had initially granted the visa, but then reversed the decision because the charity said it wanted nothing to do with him, withdrawing its support on Tuesday.

The chief executive of the Life Education Trust said the charity had decided long ago not to accept any money from the event due to Tyson's character, but a volunteer mistakenly sent a letter to immigration authorities supporting Tyson's plans.

Tyson had said he had been looking forward to visiting the country because its native people were the inspiration for his infamous face tattoo.

The former heavyweight boxing champion was scheduled to speak at a November event in Auckland as well as five major cities in Australia. Tyson's rape conviction would normally prevent his entry in New Zealand and could be grounds for denial in Australia as well.

Would-be visitors to Australia normally must pass a character test. Those who have a "substantial criminal record" - including people who, like Tyson, have been sentenced to more than a year in prison - fail the test. But the department can use its discretion to grant such people visas.

A spokesman for Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the decision on Tyson's application was still pending.

Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for the 1991 rape of an 18-year-old woman in an Indianapolis hotel room. He served three years before being released on parole.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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