IT is not every day a boxing legend pops in for lunch.
But that was exactly what Mike Tyson did yesterday when he thrilled fans at a special event at Blackpool’s De Vere Hotel.
A thunderous round of applause greeted the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world as he strode into the East Park Drive hotel, where dozens of fans had gathered to meet their idol.
Among those who joined the queue for a picture with the one-time “Baddest Man On The Planet” was 10-year-old Harvey Cook.
The Carlton Green Primary School pupil, from Blackpool, said: “Mike Tyson said I looked cool.
“I’m a big fan of him and I think my friends at school are going to be really jealous.”
Harvey was with mum Roseanne Jeffrey at the event who said: “I like boxing and Mike Tyson was lovely, he was dead friendly and really nice with kids.”
The event was organised by sports promoter Karl Etherington, and fans travelled from across the country for the chance to meet Tyson and hear him talk about his life and time in the ring.
Brothers Oliver and Jacob Andrews travelled over from Middlesbrough with their family to meet their hero. Jacob, 12, said: “He is a boxing legend so it was brilliant to meet him. He said ‘God bless you’ to me.”
And younger brother Oliver, 10, added: “It was brilliant to meet him. I like him so much because of how gruesome he was.”
It was not just youngsters who flocked to meet Tyson, older fans who remembered his legendary fights in the ring and infamous life outside it turned out to meet him.
In recent times the headlines have centred instead on his controversial life beyond the ropes, with bankruptcy, drug use and prison.
But for those at the De Vere it was his feats in the ring they wanted to hear about.
Andrew Norman, from Warrington, brought his 15-year-old son Dan along and said: “I’m a big, big boxing fan and it was very good to meet him.”
Simon Almond from Preston added: “I grew up seeing him fight. I’ve not met him before and he said a quick hello.”
And Kirk Andrews, from Middlesbrough said: “It was a one-off experience to meet him.
“I’m a big, big boxing fan and some of the sport’s greatest moments have come from him.”
Also at the event was Earnie Shavers who was ranked by the great Muhammad Ali as being one of the hardest punchers he ever faced.