By Chris Cella
Over the past few days there has been controversy over whether or not former world heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson should be granted a Visa to enter New Zealand, due to his 1992 rape conviction in America.
Earlier today, Tyson was in fact granted an exemption to New Zealand immigration rules to allow the former boxing champion to bring his one-man show called Undisputed Truth–a recent success on Broadway–to the “Day of the Champions” charitable event in November.
Just hours later, it was revealed that his visa had been cancelled as Tyson’s sponsor withdrew its support.
New Zealand’s Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson said in a statement Wednesday that the original decision to let Tyson enter New Zealand was “a finely balanced call” and that the charity that would have benefited from his visit had now withdrawn its support.
“Yesterday evening the Life Education Trust contacted my office and asked for that letter to be withdrawn, making it clear that the Trust no longer wants to have any involvement with Mr Tyson’s visit,” reads Wilkinson’s statement.
“Given that the Trust is no longer supporting the event, on balance, I have made the decision to cancel his visa to enter New Zealand for the Day of the Champions event.”
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke out against the planned Tyson visit this week, questioning the decision by immigration authorities and saying he personally disapproved.
Despite spending three years in prison following his conviction for the rape of Desiree Washington, the 46-year-old Tyson continues to deny his involvement in the crime: he devoted a sizable segment of Undisputed Truth to the incident during its recent New York run.
Nothing yet has been released in regards to how the cancellation will affect Tyson’s show going forward.