Press Conference with Prince Naseem Hamed [Archives:1999/21/Sports]

May 24 1999

On Monday evening, May 17, Yemen Times organized a press conference for the world champion feather weight boxer Naseem Hamed at the Sheraton hotel in Sanaa. Prince Naseem was concluding a visit to his country of origin to participate in the first conference held for Yemeni emigrants. The press conference was attended by many journalists from various official and opposition newspapers. Despite the exhaustion that was clearly visible in Naseem’s face, he answered all the questions asked by the journalists. They covered various aspects of his future plans and ambitions. Naseem left Sanaa later the same day. Yemen Times Sports Editor Jamal Al-Awadhi filed the following summary of the press conference. 
Q: How well were you received by the Yemeni people? 
A: The people received me with extreme happiness when I was going from the airport to the hotel. I saw the people greeting me and I wished that could stop the car and hug every Yemeni citizen I saw. I was also yearning to visit my family and loved ones in Yemen. 
Q: It has been claimed that your visit to Yemen was conditional. Is this claim true? 
A: This is a lie. How could I even think of putting conditions on coming to visit my own family and friends? The way we were invited to participate in the emigrants conference was just like any other invitation sent to any other emigrant family abroad. Contrary to what these people claim, I paid over seven thousand dollars for the tickets and paid one and a half million rials to the participants in the Naseem’s Cup match, Where are the conditions that they talk about? I love my country Yemen and my companions in it. I even had to cut short my preparation for my next match to come and participate in the conference here. 
Q: What are your plans? 
A: Currently I am preparing for my next match, which will be against the Filipino boxer who holds an international title. The match will be held in September, and I will present my next victory to the Yemeni people. I am also planning to create an Arab union for boxing to guide the professional Arab boxers, as well as the talented amateurs, and take care of them so that they can become international champions in the future. 
Q: Why did you leave your previous coach and manager? 
A: My previous manager and I were not seeing eye to eye on my share of the revenues from matches, and I was not benefiting very much from each match, but I am benefiting much more since leaving him. 
Regarding my previous coach, he wrote a novel in which he wrote about my life without my permission, but we still are good friends. Circumstances caused us to end our partnership. 
Q: Has your marriage affected your performance? 
A: No, but it has increased my strength and concentration. As a matter of fact, my marriage is a positive element and my wife is a great woman, and she has presented me the loveliest child (Sami). None of this stops me from working to improve my performance in boxing, in order to prove to every one that I will continue to be the champion for a very long time