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Saturday, April 10, 1999 Published at 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK


Hamed prevails in the eleventh

Naseem Hamed (right) hooks to Paul Ingle's head

Naseem Hamed retained his World Boxing Organisation featherweight title and unbeaten record with an 11th round knockout of Scarborough's Paul Ingle in Manchester.

A right hand which seemed to land on the top of the head put Ingle
Naseem Hamed: "I think I broke my hand" (BBC Radio 5 Live)
down, and when he rose on unsteady legs, referee Joe Cortez had no option but to stop the bout.

It was a classic way to end a fight which Hamed dominated for eight rounds, flooring his foe in the first and the sixth, before running into trouble in the ninth and tenth, as the superfit Ingle came on strong.

But the champion's edge in power got him out of what looked like a tricky situation.

Hamed later claimed to have damaged his left hand early in the fight, while praising his opponent's determination.

"I hurt my hand in the early rounds but, at the end of the day, I've got the heart of a lion and I ain't getting beat.

"I think I have broken my left hand. I'm going to get it X-rayed and see what it is," he added.


His ring entrance caused controversy, with Ingle and trainer Steve Pollard leaving the MEN arena after being kept waiting for six minutes.

He only returned to the ring after Hamed had made his own entrance.

Roundly booed by the pro-Ingle crowd, the champion arrived in a car, while talking to the crowd through a small microphone.

[ image: Paul Ingle: About to taste the canvas in the first round]
Paul Ingle: About to taste the canvas in the first round
A quiet first round was interrupted by a perfect Hamed left hook which dumped Ingle onto the canvas.

The underdog took a count of eight before being subjected to a furious attack which he survived with some discomfort.


Despite his first round success, Hamed opted for a cautious start to the second, although he took it with good work from his jab.

Hamed's domination continued into the third round, left hooks and right uppercuts thudding into the face of the challenger, whose best defence seemed to be talking to his opponent and smiling at him.

The fourth was much a better round for the Scarborough man, as he began to avoid some of Hamed's wilder shots and starting firing his sharp jab, which broke the rhythm of his cocky opponent.

The next round offered little in the way of solid action, with Ingle missing with most of his shots, and Hamed content to pose and then unload with his big bombs, which were sometimes wildly off target.

But the sixth saw Hamed unload on his tiring opponent, and a left hook to the body forced Ingle to take another count. He was fortunate that only 20 seconds remained in the round, and he survived that with some ease.


Despite his problems in the sixth, Ingle was reasonably sharp in the next, and perhaps did enough to earn a share, although the difference in power was considerable - Hamed smiled when hit, while Ingle grimmaced.

[ image: Naseem Hamed: A nearly dominant performance]
Naseem Hamed: A nearly dominant performance
But he failed to build on that success, and allowed Hamed to dictate the pace of the eighth and land some punishing body shots.

But Ingle came back strongly in the ninth, bloodying Hamed's nose and landing sufficient hooks and jabs to take his first round, with the champion looking a little weary.


Ingle's resurgence continued in the tenth, as he forced Hamed to run from him, and it was a tired fighter that stumbled to the floor after missing with a left at the end of the round.

But then came the 11th, and Ingle's dreams and unbeaten record vanished.

Earlier, Coventry's Richard Evatt failed in his bid to win the IBO featherweight title when he was stopped by American Junior Jones in the late stages of the 11th round.

Evatt had put up a gallant effort, forcing Jones to take a count in the first round, and building a lead on the cards of two of the three judges.

But a stunning left hook put him on the canvas, and referee Paul Thomas decided that the British fighter was in on condition to carry on.

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