Boxing: Hamed must make knock-out return

TODAY IS the first day of the rest of Naseem Hamed's life. Tonight at the MEN Arena in Manchester, Hamed and his family go it alone - almost - and stage their first show without Frank Warren and Brendan Ingle, formerly the Prince's promoter and manager-trainer respectively. And jealous eyes will watch and wait for something to go wrong.

As outsiders with virtually no track record in boxing, Prince Promotions, headed by Hamed's eldest brother, Riath, are victims of the sport's small- time xenophobia - and who can state with certainty that the Yorkshire- Yemeni faction are not suffering from the real thing? They are viewed with distrust, mainly because they are not recognised "boxing people" and no one knows them to trust them.

Riath Hamed, and younger brother Nabeel, have experience in the commercial side of boxing management. They can claim responsibility for the many sponsorship deals, largely from blue-chip companies, that have been secured for their multi-millionaire fighter brother. It was the shift in emphasis from boxing to big business that eventually led to the acrimonious break-up of Hamed's relationship with his former mentors.

Warren's contract was not renewed last year, with the Hamed clan stating that they no longer had need for a promotional middle man. In future they would handle things themselves to maximise profits. But the nuts-and-bolts running of tonight's promotion comes courtesy of Matchroom, who will be grateful to return to the big stage albeit for a knockdown fee believed to be in the region of pounds 50,000.

Having taught Hamed to box as a child and nurtured him through a dozen World Boxing Organisation featherweight title defences, Ingle fell by the wayside not long after Warren. He has been replaced by an unproven Puerto Rican, Oscar Suarez, who will be bolstered by the considerable presence of the legendary trainer Emanuel Steward as a second in the Hamed corner. "It's all going well, but we've had to hire in expertise where we've needed it," said Riath Hamed. "We need to be allowed to do what we're good at."

And prior to the event, things seemed to be in nicely in place: Manchester is a proven Hamed town even if ticket sales were initially slow; Matchroom are tried and tested, the originators of the gaudy production favoured by Hamed when they promoted Chris Eubank; opponent Paul Ingle will not trouble the champion; only Suarez seems a risk, but Steward will be there to support him.

The true test, of course, will be whether or not the show makes money. Challenger Ingle plays his part here. Over 7,000 fans will follow him from Scarborough, making a considerable contribution to the live gate. But it seems unlikely that he has much more to offer. The European and Commonwealth champion is said to have been floored in sparring and that bodes ill for his chances against the biggest hitter in the division.

Hamed has a point to prove following his lacklustre points victory over Wayne McCullough in Atlantic City last Halloween. That was only the third time that Hamed has gone the distance in 31 unbeaten fights. Tonight it will be surprising if he does not return to knockout form in less than four rounds. But the main fight is secondary to the whole event this evening and a few observers will hope for egg on faces of the Sheffield-Arabic variety.

Also on the show, the Detroit legend Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns, the only fighter to have won world titles at six weights, tries to become a champion again when he meets fellow American Nate Miller for the vacant International Boxing Organisation cruiserweight title. But at 41, Hearns is a shell of the Eighties warrior who battled Leonard, Hagler and Duran.

Hearns turned down his original opponent, Belfast's Darren Corbett, because he needed a greater challenge to motivate him. Unfortunately for Hearns, his courage could be his undoing. If Corbett stood a chance against the depleted veteran, Miller's is greater.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn