The Prince Becomes King [Archives:1997/40/Sports]
of the Rings Will Naz Win 4 International Titles?
“If you want to beat Naz, you’ll have to use a gun,” said the Prince’s promoter Frank Warren during their visit to Yemen in 1995. Naseem’s Iron Fist has certainly become the terror of the rings – a present-day legend. The Prince’s challengers – world featherweight champions – find it hard to get near Naz, let alone punch him. He is like a cat making the mouse dizzy before devouring it. Since Nassem started his boxing career in 1992, his victories never stopped. He qualified in 1994 to challenge Europe’s Italian champion Bill Castro who fell at the 12th round after a ferocious fight. “Castro looked like a ghost,” commented Naseem after their fight. This fight made Naseem win the championship’s belt, and regain it for Britain which lost it since the Second World War. “I’ll be champion of the world,” shouted Naseem after that famous fight. One after the other, his opponents fell. The point came when Warren agreed to arrange a fight with the British world featherweight champion Steve Robinson in 1995. Around 25,000 spectators, 99% of them were Robinson’s fans, gathered in Cardiff to witness the historic fight. Naseem’s knock-out punch made Steve fall unconscious at the 8th round. Naseem got his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title. After much negotiating with Don King, Tom Johnson’s promoter, agreed to arrange a fight with Naseem in London. Johnson also fell in the 8th round under the onslaught of Naseem’s bomb-like punches at the London Arena in February of 1997. Naseem got his International Boxing Federation (IBF) title. A series of fights followed in which many a famous boxers – starting with Bill Hardy and not ending with Juan Cabrera – fell under Naseem’s Iron Fist. Naseem’s next fight with the World Boxing Association (WBA) champion, Wilfredo Vasquez, has been postponed indefinitely. Another fight is also planned with World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Luisito Espinoza. Winning these fights will earn Naseem two more titles.