Mike Tyson banned from making first visit to New Zealand
Mike Tyson has been banned from visiting New Zealand because of his conviction for rape.
The former world heavyweight boxing champion had been booked as the headline act at the Day of Champions Event in Auckland next month.
Under New Zealand law, anyone who has served more than five years in prison is automatically forbidden entry to the country, unless a special waiver is granted.
Tyson, 46, was sentenced to six years in jail in 1992 for the rape of 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room.
Kate Wilkinson, the Associate Immigration Minister, originally approved his visit after receiving a letter of sponsorship from a leading health and drug education charity, according to the Daily Telegraph.
But, on Wednesday, she announced his visa had been revoked, explaining: "Yesterday evening the Life Education Trust contacted my office and asked for that letter to be withdrawn, making it clear that the trust no longer wants to have any involvement with Mr Tyson's visit."
John O'Connell, the trust's chief executive, said the letter of support had been sent without officials' knowledge by a well-intentioned volunteer.
"We are not really withdrawing the letter of support, we didn't know we had done it," he said.
The boxer still maintains he is not guilty, however, reacting angrily to a question regarding the conviction on a live broadcast of Television New Zealand, saying: "I didn't do the crime, I was set up, I don't care what people say.
"I didn't do that ----ing crime."
The decision to bar Mike Tyson from the country comes just days after its Prime Minister, John Key, stated he was opposed to the visit.
Mike had been booked to perform his one-man show "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" as the headline act during the conference of motivational speakers.
He said: "I'm sorry they feel disappointed and I'm just living my life."
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