Boxing: Warren wants apology from Hamed

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The Independent Online
FRANK WARREN has demanded an apology from Naseem Hamed for saying he had been "exploited and manipulated" by the promoter on Michael Parkinson's BBC1 chat show. Warren's solicitors have written to Hamed, the BBC and Parkinson insisting on an apology from all three.

When Parkinson asked Hamed during last Friday's show if he thought he had been manipulated and exploited, the World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion replied: "Definitely. I did. Yes."

Warren said yesterday: "I want an apology from Parkinson, the BBC and Hamed. I won't let him [Hamed] off the hook."

During the interview Parkinson said to Hamed: "You're being looked after by your brother and all the rest of your family. Does that make you feel more secure?"

Hamed replied: "Definitely. I know exactly what's coming in and what's going out and obviously my family is blood and I know that I can trust them with everything. For once in my life I can control my own destiny and what I want to do and what I want to achieve." Hamed, who officially parted company with Warren last week, was steered to the world title by Warren in September 1995.

"He [Hamed] has earned about pounds 12m from boxing and his commercial activities, selling him to the youth market and that success was down to us," Warren said. "Greed has destroyed our relationship. We began in 1994 and I doubled his wages. He earned just over pounds 500,000 the following year and when we signed a new contract in 1996 I stepped his money up again. So I cannot say how disappointed I was with the Parkinson show.

"The rift began when Riath, Hamed's brother, became involved. Riath had no impact before Naz became world champion. Naz was then getting 10 to 12 times the money other top featherweights were getting. I should know because I was doing the deals."

Riath, also Hamed's business manager, said: "We don't want to be dragged into any sort of press war with Frank Warren. He was very helpful and we are grateful for that. The situation is that we want our independence and both parties have got separate ways to go."

The relationship with Warren ended after the unbeaten Hamed had made his 11th successful title defence against Wayne McCullough in Atlantic City last October. That was his 31st victory, 22 of them under Warren's promotion.

Hamed will be promoted by Barry Hearn, with whom he started his career in 1992, when he makes his next title defence against his fellow Yorkshireman Paul Ingle in Manchester on 10 April.

A spokesperson for the Parkinson programme said: "We can confirm we have received a letter from Frank Warren and it is now in the hands of the lawyers."