The Pugilist

Tyson forced to deny sex change claims

Mike Tyson has denied reports that he has undergone 16 hour sex change surgery and would now be known as Michelle.

Several online African newspapers appropriated a spoof story about the former heavyweight boxing champion having a sex change at face value.

The original spoof was published on the NewsBiscuit website at the end of November.

It was then published as fact by Zimbabwe's Standard on Sunday. Zambian news website Zambia Watchdog carried the story on Monday and it was picked up by the SpyGhana news website on Tuesday.

"We've had half as many visitors from Africa in the last few days as we'd expect generally in a whole month," John O'Farrell from NewsBiscuit told the BBC, adding that the story had been viewed over 50,000 times.

A statement accredited to Iron Mike on the Spy Ghana website said: "I am still a man and I have always been fully in touch with my masculinity and have no intention of becoming a woman. The claims are not only untrue but unbelievably stupid. I was at the Pacquiao-Marquez fight on Saturday and any reasonable person could tell I was looking like a man."