Former boxing champion Mike Tyson is fighting New Zealand officials in an effort to land a lucrative series of self-help lectures in the country.
Tyson, who has been wowing theatre critics in New York with his one-man show, is hoping to take the concept of his Broadway hit to the other side of the world in November (12) - but officials at the New Zealand Immigration Service have yet to agree to give him the visa necessary - because of his 1992 rape conviction.
Under New Zealand law, anyone convicted of an offence which carries a prison sentence of five years or longer will not be granted a visa unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Tyson, who sports a Maori tattoo design on his face, hopes the officials will see sense and allow him to enter the country.
In a video interview with local reporters on Thursday (30Aug12), the boxer said, "I'm not going to sit here and cower and beg to come to your country. If I can't come, I can't come. It will be my misfortune but I don't want to feel like I'm on trial to come to your country.
"I've never been to New Zealand. I've never had the opportunity before. It must be a serious country if I can't go there."
Tyson's promoter, Max Markson, adds, "He's a great ambassador and he really does have a tremendous story which he has to tell to the people of New Zealand and it would be a tragedy if the show that he's been doing on Broadway for the last few weeks can't be told."