Cash-wrangle Hamed gives up title

Prince Naseem Hamed, widely regarded as the world's top featherweight, has relinquished his WBO title in a dispute over a mandatory defence.

Prince Naseem Hamed, widely regarded as the world's top featherweight, has relinquished his WBO title in a dispute over a mandatory defence.

The undefeated Hamed, who has held the title since 1995, refused to fight No 1 contender Istvan "Koko" Kovacs.

The fight was due to take place in England on November 4.

Home Box Office, the American cable television network which screens Hamed's fights, said it was not satisfied with Kovacs' credentials and was offering Hamed only a fraction of his usual purse.

Kovacs is now likely to be matched against Mexico's Marco Antonio Barrera for the vacant title, with Hamed to face the winner.

In his most recent fight, Hamed retained the WBO title by stopping Augie Sanchez in the fourth round of their fight in August.

Hamed is 35-0, with 31 KOs.

Boxing fans have been clamoring for Hamed to fight either Barrera or Erik Morales, both super bantamweights.

Hamed's brother and business manager, Riath, sent a letter to WBO president Francisco Valcarcel informing him of the decision to give up the belt.

"Naseem is unable to fulfill his mandatory obligation due to HBO not approving Koko Kovacs as an opponent," he wrote.

"In order to maintain the excellent relationship that we have enjoyed for the last five years, I would like to notify you of Naseem's decision to vacate the title.

"Upon vacating the title, Naseem would still like to be rated No. 1 to allow him the option of fighting for the WBO belt again in the not too distant future."

Naseem Hamed insists losing his title has cleared the way for bouts against the world's best nine-stone fighters.

He came to a mutual decision with the WBO to give up his belt.

Hamed's American cable television paymasters HBO would not meet his purse demands for a fight which they considered a mismatch, but which the WBO - who ranked Kovacs their number one contender - insisted upon.

The WBO is now likely to make a fight between Hungarian Kovacs and Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera for the vacant title, with Hamed first in line to fight the winner.

But the now title-less Hamed, who has come under fire from HBO for not fighting the division's biggest names, today suggested he would shun the sanctioning bodies and pursue the fights that matter.

He said: "My decision stems from my desire to fight the world's top fighters, battle-tested world champions, rather than the manufactured contenders of boxing's governing bodies.

"I carried the WBO belt for five years and defended it 15 times against 10 world champions. My victories over the WBO, IBF, WBA and WBC title holders make me the true featherweight champion of the world."

Hamed has suffered from the farcical nature of boxing politics since he was forced to give up the IBF title he won from Tom Johnson in 1997 when he refused to meet their little-known mandatory contender Hector Lizarraga.

Hamed subsequently beat WBA king Wilfredo Vazquez - who was stripped for agreeing to meet Hamed - and WBC champion Cesar Soto, but was denied that belt because the WBC refuse to recognise WBO champions.

"The titles claimed by Derrick Gainer, Paul Ingle and Guty Espadas are political gifts and each wears a paper crown until they face the true champion," Hamed added.

And Hamed sent out a challenge to Barrera, the man he is still pencilled in to meet in his first fight next year.

"My immediate goal is to fight the man widely considered the greatest threat to my dominance of the featherweight division, the great Mexican champion Marco Antonio Barrera.

"Marco Barrera, hear this: I hereby challenge you to face me, man-to-man, in the first quarter of the year 2001, at a site to be determined, for the linear featherweight championship of the world, with the winner to be recognised as the one true featherweight champion."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own