By Clive Bernath: Former two-time WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide (left) is reportedly looking better than ever in training, ahead of his live BBC-televised bout against Zambian journeyman Joseph Chingangu in Newcastle on September 22, according to promoter/manager Jim Evans.
Evans, a veteran of more than 50 years in the boxing business, recently spent a week at the Hide training camp in Norwich, with two of his heavyweight hopes Jacklord Jacobs and Petr Horachek. He said the ‘Dancing Destroyer’ has lost none of his sparkle, following the loss of his crown against giant Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko two years ago.
“He’s really is looking magnificent, the best I’ve seen him,” said Evans. “He looks a totally different fighter from what he used to be. Don’t get me wrong, he still takes no prisoners, but he’s much more controlled now than he used to be. Everything about him has improved. He’s faster and much more mature than he used to be and definitely a better all-round fighter.”
The 67-year-old also revealed Hide’s solid 16st 2lbs frame will stand him in good stead as he attempts to win a world title for the third time. “The extra poundage suits him well,” added Evans. “He has not lost his hand speed either. I think he’s also matured as a man. I met his wife and child and I really think that that has matured him as a man.”
Though Hide has just turned 30, he has been a professional for 11 years and first won the WBO title with a seventh round knockout of Michael Bentt in 1994. However, he lost it in his first defence to classy American Olympic silver medallist Riddick Bowe. Hide regained the vacant crown from another top American Tony Tucker in front of his hometown fans in Norwich three years later. After two low key defences against Damon Reed and German Willi Fischer, Hide was crushed inside two rounds by Klitschko.
Hide, 32-2-(31) made a successful return to the ring in July, crushing Russian journeyman Alexei Osokin in the third round and recently signed a three fight deal with promoter Jess Harding.