Boxing: Hamed's rival signed by Warren

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The Independent Online
FRANK WARREN yesterday signed the fighter widely regarded as the outstanding threat to Naseem Hamed's hopes of winning a unified world featherweight title. The current US Boxing Association featherweight champion, Angel Vasquez, is undefeated, with 13 knockouts in his 15 fights, and is considered the best prospect in the division.

Vasquez joins two other new overseas recruits to Warren's Sports Network stable as he takes another step towards becoming the world's leading promoter. Warren already has a strong contingent of top British talent under his wing, including Hamed, the World Boxing Organisation champion, Chris Eubank and Ryan Rhodes.

Along with Vasquez, Francois Botha and Marco Antonio Barrera have also joined forces with Warren, with all three scheduled to challenge for world titles in the near future.

Botha, a South African known as "The Great White Buffalo", is the current World Boxing Association North American champion and is the mandatory challenger to the winner of the world heavyweight title fight between Evander Holyfield and Vaughan Bean.

Barrera, meanwhile, already has 45 fights and nine world title bouts under his belt at the age of 24 and is set to fight Richie Wenton for the vacant WBO world super-bantamweight crown.

Warren said: "I've always said that my ambitions lie in expanding into the rest of the world. These three fighters are all top quality and show that we are serious about becoming the premier force in world boxing.

"I hope all three will shortly be able to show the British fans their skills."

Mike Tyson's application to return to boxing will be decided in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 9 September by the five-man panel that stripped him of his licence.

The Nevada Athletic Commission banished him from the ring in July of last year after he chewed off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's right ear in their heavyweight title fight the previous month.

Now the same jury will decide whether to allow Tyson to resume his career after the fighter withdrew his bid to have his licence restored in New Jersey at the 11th hour earlier this month. Tyson will now return to the scene of the incident and his boxing future will be in the hands of the men who banned him from the ring 13 months ago.