Lennox Lewis exclusive interview: ‘Mike Tyson said he wanted to eat my children but we have a deep friendship’

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Considering Mike Tyson once said he would “eat his children”, it comes as something of a surprise to hear Lennox Lewis say he has a deep friendship and connection with his old adversary. But Lewis is in a reflective mood, and willing to let bygones be bygones. A new documentary is out on his “untold story” and he comes across as what he is – a great statesman of his sport. You can see that in how he also talks of his growing affection for Evander Holyfield, but the fighter’s instinct has not left him as he describes how of the current generation of heavyweights only Tyson Fury would give him problems “for a couple of rounds” before Lewis would unleash his trademark finish. And while his regard for his rivals is clear, the documentary shows how the feeling is entirely mutual for a man who was, of course, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Indeed, the longer Lewis has been out of the sport, the more ‘The Lion’ has been, well, lionised. He certainly merits it, both in performance, and the way Lewis has always carried himself. “To be a champion, you have to act like a champion,” the 55-year-old told Telegraph Sport. Yet it is easy to forget just how combative the (younger) Lewis was with all his rivals – the mass brawl with Tyson and his entourage in 2002, when ‘Iron Mike’ bit his leg, or the television studio scrap with Hasim Rahman which caused mayhem. Lewis always kept his composure, but as he also revealed: “I’m a fighter, so I was already to go…” Lewis through the ages, nonetheless, is a fighter and sportsman to behold. He never ducked, he never hid, and once in the ring, stood without fear against all-comers, like a fortress wall, his fists booming cannons. In this latest documentary of his life, Lewis stands out as a man who made the most of what he had, and where he came from.

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