Born In: Sheffield, United Kingdom
British retired boxer Naseem Hamed, also known as Prince Naseem and Naz, was a boxing icon of the 1990s. Born to Yemeni parents in Sheffield, England, he was scouted by Brendan Ingle at age 7, who trained him at his Wincobank gym. Hamed’s multiple featherweight world championships included the WBO title, the IBF title, and the WBC title. He also held the European bantamweight title for a year. The International Boxing Hall of Famer has been ranked by BoxRec as the best British featherweight of all time. Hamed also gained fame for his outlandish antics and his grand ring entrances, such as entering on a flying carpet or with a somersault over the top rope. Known for his one-punch knockouts, he won 36 matches in his career, losing only to Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera in his penultimate match, in 2001. However, he lost some of his fame and glory after a horrific accident, caused due to his rash driving.
Also Known As: Prince Naseem
Spouse/Ex-: Eleasha Hamed
father: Sal Hamed
children: Sami Naseem Salem Hamed
Born Country: England
Naseem Hamed, also known as Prince Naseem and Naz, was born on February 12, 1974, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, to Yemeni parents. Hamed lived above a family corner shop and grew up with his 8 siblings.
A child prodigy, he joined Irish boxer and trainer Brendan Ingle's Wincobank gym in Sheffield, at age 7. His boxing skills and his trademark southpaw style made him famous since an early age. Hamed’s father, too, nurtured young Hamed’s talent.
Honed by trainer Ingle since his early years, Naseem Hamed grew up to be a fine boxer, known for his speed, his off-balance punching, and his ability to knock out his opponents. He turned professional at 18 and made his boxing debut beating Ricky Beard on February 14, 1992, at Leisure Centre, Mansfield, England.
His career eventually saw him win 36 bouts, knocking out his opponents in 31 of them. He became the European bantamweight champion within just 12 fights, beating Vincenzo Belcastro in May 1994.
Meanwhile, he also shot to fame for entertaining the crowd before his bouts, with his signature somersault over the top rope, making a grand entry into the ring. His other antics included wearing leopard-print shorts and entering the ring on a flying carpet or in a Cadillac, accompanied by fireworks.
However, his long association with his trainer Ingle and his gym ended in December 1998. Their relationship tuned worse after Hamed’s speeding accident in 2006.
Apart from the European bantamweight championship title, in his illustrious career, Hamed held the WBC International super-bantamweight title from October 1994 to December 1995, the WBO featherweight title from September 1995 to October 2000, the IBF featherweight title from February 1997 to August 1997, the WBC featherweight title from October 1999 to January 2000, and the IBO featherweight title from May 2002 to June 2003.
Hamed also held the UK pay-per-view record before being surpassed by the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson match in 2002. Throughout his career, he defeated eminent boxers such as Dominican boxer Laureano Ramírez, Colombian boxer Juan Polo Perez, Welsh boxer Steve Robinson, Mexican boxers César Soto and Manuel Medina, British boxer Paul Ingle, American boxer Augie Sanchez, and others.
In fact, the only loss of his career was in a bout against Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera, in what was Hamed’s penultimate fight. The match, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US, on April 7, 2001, was for the vacant IBO featherweight title. By then, however, Hamed had accumulated a fortune worth £50 million.
After his loss to Barrera, Hamed decided not to fight for the next 13 months. His next bout, which was also his final, was held at the London Arena on May 18, 2002. He defeated Manuel Calvo in match by unanimous decision after 12 rounds.
However, he quit boxing abruptly at the age of 28. There were speculations of him fighting in future bouts, though he never fought again. He later explained that his retirement was largely caused due to chronic problems in his hands, including multiple fractures and a surgery.
World Boxing named him the 11th greatest British boxer of all-time. Hamed was also named the 46th greatest puncher of all-time by The Ring.
In 2015, Hamed was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The following year, he was ranked 22 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters of the last 25 years.
A British boxing icon of the 1990s, he inspired many great boxers and trainers around the world. BoxRec has named him the 6th-best fighter from the UK, while he was ranked at No. 14 in the all-time featherweight rankings.
Naseem Hamed recorded the track Walk Like a Champion with hip hop group Kaliphz. The track made it to number 23 on the UK Singles Chart in 1996.
In 2000, Codemasters came up with the PlayStation sports fighting game Prince Naseem Boxing. In 2022, a portable version of the game was released by Virtucraft.
Hamed was the inspiration behind the character Prince Naseem in Squaresoft's 1998-released fighting game Ehrgeiz. He also inspired the character of American boxer Bryan Hawk in the Japanese manga series Hajime no Ippo.
The Japanese manga series Batuque featured the character Shyun Amamiya, who was a fictional fan of Naseem Hamed. In 2023, a film based on Hamed’s relationship with trainer Brendan Ingle was announced.
A devoted Muslim, Naseem Hamed often recited the Takbir out loud before his bouts. In 1998, Hamed tied the knot with his girlfriend Eleasha Elphinstone, in Sheffield. Elphinstone is a former hairdresser. Hamed is now a father to 2 sons, Aadam and Sami, who both aspire to be professional boxers.
By 1997, Hamed had soared to fame and had acquired the no. 22 spot on the Forbes list of the world's highest-paid athletes. In 2003, Hamed became the second-richest British boxer, just behind legendary heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
In 2006, Hamed’s £320,000 McLaren Mercedes sports car, which he was driving at 90mph, crashed into a Volkswagen Golf, trying to overtake a Ford Mondeo. The collision left the driver of the Golf, Anthony Burgin, with severe brain injuries and with every major bone broken. Hamed, however, was unhurt. Witnesses also stated how Hamed fled the scene of the crash, as Burgin and his wife Claire remained trapped in the wreckage.
Following this, Hamed was arrested. Interestingly, he had 4 other speeding offenses registered against him earlier. The court sentenced him to 15 months in prison.
Hamed, however, served only 3 months in prison, after which he remained under house arrest and was monitored by an electronic tag. Hamed later moved to Windsor.
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