Naseem Hamed (born 12 February 1974), commonly known as “Prince” Naseem or “Naz”, is a British former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2002. He held multiple featherweight world championships, including the WBO title from 1995 to 2000; the IBF title in 1997; and the WBC title from 1999 to 2000. He also reigned as lineal champion from 1998 to 2001; IBO champion from 2002 to 2003; and held the European bantamweight title from 1994 to 1995. Hamed is ranked the best British featherweight of all time by BoxRec. In 2015, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Hamed was known for his unconventional boxing antics and spectacular ring entrances which included entering the ring on a flying carpet, a lift, and a palanquin, as well as re-enacting the video of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and wearing a Halloween mask. He was also known for his front somersault over the top rope into the ring, his highly athletic and hard-hitting southpaw boxing style, and formidable one-punch knockout power; having finished his career with a knockout-to-win ratio of 84%. With his cocky persona and high profile bouts he was a prominent figure in 1990s British pop culture, while Sean Ingle in The Guardian writes, “in his prime, Hamed was a global superstar“. A headliner on both sides of the Atlantic, Dan Rafael of ESPN writes, “one of the biggest stars in the sport, the guy sold out arenas before his opponent was even named.”
In 2016, ESPN ranked Hamed at number 22 on its list of the top 25 fighters, pound for pound, of the last 25 years. World Boxing, a sister publication of The Ring magazine, ranked Hamed the 11th greatest British boxer of all-time, and Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph ranked him 10th. The Ring also ranked Hamed the 46th greatest puncher of all-time.