Boxing: Hamed and Warren split

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NASEEM HAMED has split with the promoter Frank Warren following the completion of their contract. Hamed had been expected to go his own way since their deal expired following his win over Wayne McCullough in November.

Hamed split with his long-time mentor Brendan Ingle following the McCullough bout and is training in a rival Sheffield gym. He is now expected to negotiate his own individual fight deals, paying top promoters to deliver venues and opponents on a one-off basis.

Paul Ingle has turned down two world title fights and opted to defend his European featherweight title in Scarborough instead. The fighter's promoter, Frank Maloney, and trainer, Steve Pollard, both expressed their surprise at his decision.

Ingle was offered both world title shots last week - one by World Boxing Organisation champion Hamed - but he is not prepared to give up his European belt. Pollard said: "He's got the talent to win a world title but he hasn't got the mind for it."

After staying up until 4am to consider his options, Ingle decided to fight the former WBO champion Steve Robinson in front of his home-town fans. Ingle said: "I want to go into my next fight without the slightest doubt in my mind I am doing the right thing. I'm 110 per cent sure I can beat Robinson."

The Hamed option had been favoured by Maloney, who called the purse offer "exceptional" and added: "He would have had everything to gain and nothing to lose."

One alternative, a bout with World Boxing Association champion, Antonio Cermeno, offered by Don King, would have been chief support to Evander Holyfield v Lennox Lewis in New York. Maloney said: "It is Paul's decision and I respect it. But he has put all his eggs in one basket."

Pollard, too, believes Ingle has chosen the wrong route but insisted he would stand by his man and prepare him for the fight, which will take place at Scarborough's Spa on 6 March.

Pele Reid will challenge Julius Francis for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles this month after Danny Williams pulled out through injury. Reid, the former kick-boxer trained by Brendan Ingle in Sheffield, has relinquished a European title shot to meet Francis.

The fight takes place in Bethnal Green on 30 January, on the same bill as Scott Welch's return against Michael Murray. The former WBO heavyweight title challenger Welch is chasing a fight with Herbie Hide. He said: "Having trained and sparred over 100 rounds with Herbie I know his weaknesses. We've had a few set-tos in the past, he is very mouthy and basically I would love a showdown with him."

n William Joppy, 28, the WBA world middleweight champion, is in a critical condition in hospital in Maryland after a car crash. Joppy's van was struck by a car as he left a gymnasium and he suffered a fractured back vertebrae and cuts to his head.