August 17, 2001 – By Paul Upham: IBF No.5 Nader Hamdan, 25-0 (13), retained his unbeaten record and IBF Pan Pacific title with a unanimous points decision in an entertaining 12 round bout with Australian middleweight champion Wayne Parr, who suffered his first career defeat in the main support to Holland-Taylor at the Octagon, Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
After taking the fight on one day’s notice after Hamdan’s original opponent Haris Pujono was ruled unfit with Hepatitis B, Parr took the fight to Hamdan early and was very impressive stepping up to another level.
The former Muay-Thai kickboxing world champion was very aggressive in the first round as he tried to land his power rights on Hamdan who used his jab, which would serve him so well throughout the night.
Early in his career, Hamdan would have stood toe to toe with a fighter like Parr, 8-1 (8), but he has learnt his craft so well from trainer Jeff Fenech that he is able to control the action with a minimum of fuss and was able to diffuse some of Parr’s best punches with his defence, which has improved immensely.
Parr landed some good right hands in the second round while Hamdan was busy and established a body attack that he would utilise in many close in-fighting periods during the fight. Parr would explode in bursts as he tried to land the one big shot that would really hurt Hamdan, but would then lull back into periods where Hamdan would dominate the action.
Both fighters showed excellent chins and took turns in landing some of their better punches. Hamdan was backed up by a handful of Parr’s good right hands, but would always find a way to ride out the storm, using good body movement and angles to frustrate Parr who would smile at his opponent.
The action really picked up in the final three rounds with Parr looking for a knockout, not confident that he would be able to win on the scorecards. The final round was a fitting finale to an entertaining fight, which confirmed Nader Hamdan as a world class junior middleweight and Wayne Parr as a genuine future prospect who is certain to achieve greater honours in the future.
The judge’s scorecards saw a unanimous verdict to Hamdan 117-111, 117-111 and 117-114. SecondsOut.com’s card had the verdict for Hamdan a little closer at 115-113. The difference in the fight being the better boxing skills of Hamdan, who was able to land more regularly whilst controlling the action.
With no amateur boxing career and only in his ninth fight, the performance was a credit to Parr who showed that he is a rising star on the Australian scene and, with more experience and training, can rebound from his first loss and really stamp his authority on the division in Australia over the next two years. An entertaining fighter inside the ring, Parr is a genuine humble man outside of it and the crowd appreciated his efforts giving him a standing ovation as he left the ring.
“It was a good win. I needed a good twelve rounds like that against an up and coming Aussie star who had eight wins and eight knockouts,” said Hamdan.
“He was the man everybody was saying would be a good fight for me and it was an entertaining fight. I won all of the early rounds and we both came on strong at the end of the fight.”
Hamdan will now look towards a fight for the OPBF title in Japan and a fight in the USA as he prepares himself for what he hopes will be a world title shot in 2002.
“I will go back to the gym and train harder, improve my skills and maybe get a rematch with Nader. I know I can get better,” said Parr.
On the undercard, former Australian heavyweight champion Nathan Briggs, 5-1 (4), won a majority six round points decision over Simon Patterson, 2-1 (1), in a slow fight with neither fighter in danger of hitting the canvas throughout. Judges’ scorecards were 58-58, 58-56 and 59-56 for Briggs.
After a long absence, 29 year-old two-time Australian champion Justin “The Cowboy” Rowsell, 31-1-2 (24), won a majority points decision against Sammy Setu, 5-4-2 (4), in a welterweight clash over six rounds. Judges scorecards were 57-57, 58-56 and 59-56 in a very entertaining bout. Rowsell now plans to stay busy and wants to be back in the ring in September.
Guyana’s Gairy St. Clair, 19-3-1 (7), was as slick and smooth as ever in stopping Australian lightweight champion Danny McGrail, 12-5-1 (8), at 2:42 minutes of the sixth round. St. Clair, who is now trained by world champion trainer Johnny Lewis, started off slowly but picked up the pace to gradually wear down McGrail who showed tremendous heart to continually come forward despite the blinding combinations from St. Clair who had taken former IBF junior lightweight champion Diego Corrales the distance in losing over 12 rounds.
In the opening bout, Team Fenech’s Matt Heyes, 1-0 (1), won his professional debut with a TKO3 win over Mario Terre, 0-5, at lightweight.
In front of a good crowd, Kieran O’Connor’s second promotion was a resounding success and was televised live around Australia by Fox Sports with ringside commentary from John Casey, Troy Waters and former IBF world champion Barry Michael. Andy Raymond was the ring announcer.