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SUGAR RAY ANNOUNCES PLAN TO FIGHT OVERSEAS

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Sugar Ray Leonard Friday announced he will fight overseas in November, but not against Thomas Hearns as anticipated.

Leonard's attorney Mike Trainer said Leonard will fight again as a middleweight and is considering a world tour. He has offers from four countries to host Leonard's next bout, and his opponent will probably be a boxer from the country where he fights.Trainer said the weight difference between Leonard and Hearns prevents a third meeting between the two.

"There had been so many stories about Ray fighting Hearns and it was kind of a tease, and that's not what we intended," Trainer told UPI from Bethseda, Md. "We wanted to cut through all that.

"Ray Leonard is a natural 160-pound fighter and it doesn't make any sense giving away 10 pounds to Tommy Hearns for a rematch. Ray will continue to fight in the middleweight ranks. Hearns has indicated that he can no longer fight as a middleweight and, in fact, had difficulty making 168 pounds for his last defense of his WBO super middleweight title against Michael Olajide.

"We have several opponents in mind and we have had several offers from Japan, France, Italy and Australia," he said. "They are very interested in having Ray show his talents overseas. We are interested in having Ray show his talents overseas. We are listening to all offers and we should announce our plans within the next week to 10 days.

"This is something Ray's wanted to do, and something I've wanted him to do for a long time. I have one secretary who does nothing but answer mail from overseas. People want to see him over there."

Leonard will give up his World Boxing Council super middleweight (168 pound) title, but Trainer said Leonard has no interest in fighting for the WBC's vacant middleweight crown.

Trainer said France and Italy are the most likely sites for Leonard's next fight. He would name no possible opponents, but candidates include Italian Gianfranco Rosi and Frenchman Rene Jacquot.

Carlos Elliott, an American serviceman stationed in Tokyo, is another possible candidate if Leonard fights in Japan.