Lennox Lewis was last night being hailed as one of the best heavyweight boxers of all-time after his world title win against Mike Tyson.

The 36-year-old demolished the once-ferocious Tyson to retain his world WBC, IBF and IBO titles in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lewis said after the fight, which is estimated to have generated $100m (£80m) in revenue, that it should act as a spur to England's footballers in the Far East.

But perhaps unfamiliar with the concept of the Home Nations, Lewis - who was raised in Canada - said: "This win is an inspiration to the British team to go forward and win the World Cup."

Tyson was uncharacteristically magnanimous in defeat, calling Lewis "masterful" as legends of the sport lined up to praise the London-born fighter's achievement.

Audley Harrison, Britain's Olympic heavyweight gold medallist, even called for Lewis to be knighted while British boxing officials said it topped a memorable seven days for the country.

Bookmakers immediately tipped Lewis as favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, ahead of England World Cup heroes David Beckham and Michael Owen.

Former heavyweight champion George Foreman claimed the victory had established Lewis as the best heavyweight of all-time.

"Anyone who says to me that Lennox Lewis is not the best heavyweight of all-time is a downright liar."

Lewis had already become the first British sportsman to be worth £100m and stands to pick up a guaranteed £15m from the Tyson fight - plus millions more from his share of pay-per-view television.

Harrison said: "Lennox deserves a knighthood after that.

"He has done so much for this country and yet he has taken so much criticism.

"People should believe in Lennox, because he has never been the timid fighter people think he is."