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  February 18, 2001



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

Mike Tyson to wrestle in New Japan
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling

Sasaki
An announcement made by Japanese legend Antonio Inoki that boxer Mike Tyson will step inside the ring for a pro wrestling match this June overshadowed the main event match of New Japan Pro Wrestling's third pay-per-view event today in Japan.

Addressing a sold-out crowd of 11 000 fans at Tokyo's venerable Sumo Hall, Inoki announced that he had received a fax from Michael J. Smith, Tyson's lawyer, and that Tyson would wrestle a match for New Japan in June at Sumo Hall against an as-of-yet undetermined opponent. Inoki, a former WWF World Heavyweight champion and founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling, had been negotiating with Tyson's representatives for months. It is expected that Tyson's opponent will be Naoya Ogawa, a former NWA World champion and Inoki-protege.

This will not be the first boxer vs. wrestler match in New Japan history. On June 25, 1976 Inoki wrestled former boxing world champion Muhammad Ali. The bout, a 15-round draw in Tokyo, was a 'worked' match combining aspects of wrestling and boxing.

The Tyson announcement served to eclipse the rest of the show. In the main event, I.W.G.P. World Heavyweight champion Kensuke Sasaki defeated challenger Shinjiro Ohtani in 14:53 via pinfall using his signature Northern Lights Bomb.

In the semi-main event, Keiji Mutoh (AKA The Great Muta) defeated Kazunari Murakami in 6:01. New Japan booker Riki Choshu teamed with Shinya Makabe (subbing for an inured Kenzo Suzuki) in a losing effort against I.W.G.P. World Tag Team champions Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima. Don Frye defeated Masa Chono in 12:27 with a choke sleeper and in a six-man tag match, Koji Kanemoto & Tatsuhito Takaiwa and I.W.G.P. Junior Heavyweight champion Minoru Tanaka defeated Dr. Wagner Jr., Silver King and El Samurai in 14:55.

In an inter-promotional match New Japan's Yuji Nagata & Takashi Iizuka defeated the All Japan Pro Wrestling team of Mitsuya Nagai & Masahito Kakihara. Other results saw Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto defeat The Sledge Hammer (AKA Canada's Jason Anderson) & Brian Johnston; Yutaka Yoshie & Shiro Koshinaka beat Osamu Nishimura & Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Manabu Nakanishi (formerly Kurosawa in WCW) defeated Super J (formerly N.W.O. Sting in WCW). SLAM! Wrestling will have more on the Tyson announcement as this story develops throughout the next few days.


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