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Sunday, June 2
Updated: June 4, 12:37 AM ET
Tyson surprises demonstrator outside fitness center

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Mike Tyson hugged a demonstrator Sunday who shouted "stop homophobia'' at him.

Tyson, in town to fight heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis next Saturday night, got out of a sport utility vehicle outside a fitness center and walked over to nearby gay rights activists.

"I was shouting stop homophobia and holding up my sign, and then he just came up and hugged me and said he wasn't homophobic,'' said Jim Maynard, vice-chair of Equality Tennessee and one of three demonstrators.

"I was totally shocked,'' Maynard told The Commercial Appeal. "I didn't really know what to do. So I just posed with him and smiled for the cameras. It's a step in the right direction.''

Tyson signed autographs for approximately 20 people and then went inside for his workout.

After Tyson finished his session, he got in the vehicle, rolled down the window and said, "Listen. Listen. I'm not homophobic; I told them I'm not homophobic. So if I use a homophobic term ... I'm not homophobic.''

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