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 He has been replaced by an unproven Puerto Rican, Oscar Suarez, who will be bolstered by the considerable presence of the legendary trainer Emanuel Steward as a second in the Hamed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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions