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Universum Press Release - 9/20/00

Is Prince Hamed ducking European champion Ko-Ko Kovacs?

Kovacs: "Hamed, in contrast to Muhammad Ali, does not face the best possible opposition!"

Hamburg, 20th October 2000 – Featherweight world champion "Prince" Naseem Hamed seemingly attempts once again to cheat himself out of a mandatory defence.

In an article on the website Hamed told through his spokesman George Azar that he is unwilling to fight against his mandatory challenger, European champion and #1 of the World Boxing Organization Istvan "Ko-Ko" Kovacs.

The undefeated Kovacs, 18-0 (8 KOs), is leading the WBO rankings since his impressive victory over Welshman Steve Robinson in June, the man Hamed won his world title from several years ago.

Hamed's refusal is very surprising because the "The Prince" and his management as well as the American TV station HBO had already agreed to the fight on condition that Hamed is facing either Marco Antonio Barrera or Erik Morales after that mandatory defence against "Ko-Ko", in case the Brit is victorious.

"I'm very surprised and also disappointed because I never thought that Hamed is really ducking me", the undefeated Kovacs said who in his outstanding amateur career (282 victories in 292 contests) had became twice European champion, twice world champion and Olympic gold medallist of Atlanta.

"I'm already in training for the scheduled fight against The Prince on November 4th. I'm also a boxing historian and I have the same idol like Hamed: Muhammad Ali, The Greatest. But Hamed, in contrast to Ali, does not live up to his big mouth. In contrast to Ali he does not face the best possible opposition, because if he would do that, then he would accept my challenge. Ali never ducked anyone."

"And HBO should not be concerned", Kovacs said directing his words to the American TV station. "After my victory over Hamed I'm ready and willing to fight against Barrera and Morales myself!".

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Hamburg, Universum-Gym
Sunday Morning Boxing
Fights with Sinan Samil Sam, Alexander Petkovic, Jürgen Brähmer, Stipe Drews and Balu Sauer
And an exhibition with Wladimir Klitschko

7th October
Berlin, ESTREL Convention Center
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Armand Krajnc (Sweden) vs. Bert Schenk (Berlin)
European Super Lightweight Championship:
Oktay Urkal (Berlin) vs. Gabriel Mapouka (France)
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Regina Halmich (Hamburg) vs. Michele Sutcliffe (USA)
Also: Michel Trabant, Ibrahim Vural

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Cologne Arena
WBO World Heavyweight Championship:
Chris Byrd (USA) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (Germany/Ukraine)
WIBF World Jr. Bantamweight Championship:
Daisy Lang (Düsseldorf) vs. TBA
Also: Thomas Ulrich, Jürgen Brähmer, Stipe Drews, Ahmet Öner, Hans Janssen, Eddy Smulders

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