Hamed in pursuit of quick win

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The Independent Online
BOXING

In the rural setting of the Royal Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet tonight, Naseem Hamed will defend his World Boxing Council international super-bantamweight championship for the fourth time, against Enriquo Angeles, of Mexico.

Hamed's recent opponents have come with sturdy chins and big intentions - but have ended their brief British appearances needing a shoulder to lean on after the exciting extrovert from Sheffield has added more wins to his record.

Angeles has never been knocked down in 30 fights. The only time he has been stopped in four losses has been because of a cut.

Despite the Mexican's record, Hamed is confident that he has the power to beat Angeles easily. He predicts a quick victory inside three rounds. "There's no question about my ambitions. I want to be the greatest boxer of all time. I know my ability," he said.

The fight will make Hamed a millionaire in his 13-month, eight-fight association with the promoter, Frank Warren, but it could be his last contest before he sets his sights higher to challenge the Puerto Rican World Boxing Association super-bantamweight champion, Wilfredo Vasquez, who will make a mandatory defence of his title in his own country on 12 May.

Warren yesterday said that Karl Thompson, the former European cruiserweight champion from Manchester, will fight Ralf Rocchigiano, of Germany, for the vacant World Boxing Organisation championship.

It ends a long quest for recognition for Thompson, who at 31 will be challenging for the title vacated by Thomas Hearns when he faces Rocchigiano in Manchester on 10 June.

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