Muhammad Ali

Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali’s controversial promoter Don King could be set for shock Cannock visit

The Cannock venue has played host to the likes of Evander Holyfield and Floyd Mayweather in previous special guest appearances

Popular Staffordshire nightspot, Bar Sport, could be set to wow sports enthusiasts with a huge special guest appearance from the world of boxing.

It’s a man whose reputation speaks for itself as the shock-haired powerhouse who has given the world some of the greatest fights in boxing history, writes Boxing City editor, Mike Lockley.

He has provided a glittering platform for such legends as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez.

He has promoted in Zaire, Manilla, Vegas, Atlantic City, Mexico City…

And now Don King is poised to weave his magic in…Cannock, Staffordshire.

No, it’s not a wind-up.

The now 91-year-old – the man who gave the world The Rumble in the Jungle and Thriller in Manila, could well bring us Carnage in Cannock.

King, whose 1993 battle between Chavez and Greg Haugen attracted the sport’s greatest ever crowd of 132, 274 to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, will be involved in a more intimate venue.

He is being approached to forge links with Scott Murray’s new launched Excelsior Sporting Club, based at Cannock’s Premier Suite, which staged its second exclusive boxing evening last week.

The unlikely link has come about through Youngstown, Ohio’s former world lightweight champ Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.

Ray is an ambassador of the red-carpet Excelsior, flies over to attend the shows and has a close association with Scott.

He’s also an advisor to world boxing bodies and has a boxing relationship with – and access to – Don King.

Ray flew back to the States, following the Excelsior’s latest sell-out show, on Monday with a pledge. He intends to approach King over the possibility of putting some of the legend’s fighters on future Excelsior bills.

Scott said: “We intend to have American fighters over here in the near future. Ray has said he’ll talk to Don about using his boxers. Those are the kind of fights we want to stage.”

Larry Holmes v Muhammad Ali - 1980: Pre Fight weigh in Don King in the background
Larry Holmes v Muhammad Ali – 1980: Pre-fight weigh-in, with Don King in the background.

And Mancini will also inform King about two Birmingham fighters who have caught his eye during contests at the Excelsior – Sam Eggington and featherweight prospect Nyall Berry.

With Ray present, Berry scored a spectacular second round knockout in Cannock last week. Jon Pegg, who manages both Berry and Eggington, said: “Ray loved Nyall. He said he’d speak to Don King about him, he thinks Don would really like him.”

At Sunday’s Midlands Boxing Awards, also staged at the Premier Suite, Mancini publicly named Eggington and Berry as his favourite UK boxers.

He said: “You can’t not root for a fighter like Sam – and Nyall, you will be a champion one day. The kid belongs in the world rankings.”

You heard it here first.

And publicans of Cannock, be warned. If a very loud pensioner with strange hair and even stranger dress sense enters your establishment, don’t bar him.

It could be Don King.

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