BOXING: Hamed confident despite visa delay

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NASEEM HAMED'S latest defence of his World Boxing Organisation featherweight title finally got off the ground yesterday when he flew out to the United States for Saturday's contest against the Irishman Wayne McCullough in Atlantic City. And Hamed predicted a quick fight before he boarded Concorde. "I'll win in three," he said, thrusting three fingers in the air. "You can put your house on it. You couldn't lose."

Hamed was forced to spend another night in London because of a visa problem. He had hoped the necessary paperwork would be completed at the United States Embassy in time for him to catch Monday night's 7pm Concorde flight from Heathrow. However, he did not obtain the visa and departed on yesterday morning's 10.30am flight.

Hamed was joined by his brothers and managers, Riath and Nabeel, as well as Dominic Ingle, who has been supervising the training of the champion in London. Ingle's father and Hamed's senior trainer, Brendan, who has been involved in a recent difference of opinion with Hamed, has been in the States since Friday awaiting the arrival of the champion.

Frank Warren, the promoter, who left with Hamed, said: "All the problems have been solved. There was a problem with the visa and it's all been sorted. That's why we're getting on the plane."

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