Nader Hamdan – On the way to the top

August 14, 2001 – By Paul Upham: IBF No.5 Nader Hamdan, 24-0 (13), makes the third defence of his IBF Pan Pacific junior middleweight title against Indonesia’s Haris Pujono over 12 rounds in the main support bout to Shannan Taylor-Julian Holland on Friday night at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.

“It’s been a different training camp this time, but it’s been good. Everything has been low-key because all the talk is about Shannan (Taylor) and Holland. It’s the main event and it has been a long time in happening. But all I’m worried about is my fight. I’ve been concentrating on all the things I need to work on since my fight in America,” said Hamdan.

“Pujono’s had 26 wins from 36 fights and he’s a tall southpaw, which won’t worry me. It will be good to face a southpaw because I might have to eventually fight Winky Wright for the IBF title. Even though he’s not in the same calibre as Wright, he’s a southpaw and hopefully I can get some rounds out of the guy to help me in the future.”

Hamdan has been really concentrating hard for this fight with the Indonesian junior middleweight champion even though his wife is expecting their second child in a matter of days.

“I’m hoping for another boy. We’re going to call him Ali,” said Hamdan, who made his American debut last June on the Kostya Tszyu-Oktay Urkal undercard at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

Hamdan recorded a unanimous six round points win over veteran Bruce Corby, but leant many things that he needs to work on from the experience.

“When I fought in America in June, a lot of things came out that I know I need to improve to take it to the next level,” said Hamdan.

“My previous fights I have concentrated more on fitness, but this time I’ve been really working on my skills, technique and ringcraft. My fitness is always good, but I’ve been working more on placing my punches, my footwork and where I should be after I have thrown my punches. Jeff (Fenech), Angelo Hyder and Billy Hussein have really helped me with my boxing skills. It’s been a different training camp for me.”

IBF No.1 Ronald "Winky" Wright and No.2 Robert Frazier are expected to face each other for Felix Trinidad’s vacated IBF belt on September 28. IBF No.4 Fernando Vargas and Jose Flores are scheduled to meet for Trinidad’s vacated WBA belt on September 22. With so many big names active in the division, Hamdan can’t wait to be involved.

“It is a very exciting division. As soon as I am ready, I will be jumping right into the mix. I’m looking forward to it. All I need is a little more experience and I will be there,” said Hamdan.

“I’m really hoping to get another fight over in the USA before the end of the year. I want to get over and get one more fight before I get a shot at the title. I’m being realistic and I’ve worked really hard to get here where I am at 24-0. I want to be fully prepared and be at my absolute best so I can win the world title, not just challenge for it.

“I would like to have another two fights this year after Friday night, with one of those being in America. Then I will be looking forward to 2002. That will be my year to win the world title.”

Trained by former three-time world champion Jeff Fenech, Hamdan is thankful to the sponsors who have allowed him to be a full-time professional. “I’ve got a great training team behind me and the best sponsors in Sky Channel, the O’Connor Group, Paul Hotz, Saucony, Burwood Back Pain Clinic and Chullora Motel Sleeping Express. That’s all the help I need to reach the top.”

Tickets are still available through The Spectacular Group on (02) 9212 6639 for Friday night at the Octagon venue which has been expanded to accommodate more general admission seating.

The fans can expect another impressive performance from “Mr Excitement” this Friday night. He is expecting to win with a knockout.

“The way I’ve been training, I don’t expect it to go 12 rounds. I’ve been training really hard and have been lucky to spar some southpaws leading into this fight. I want to get in there and box well. I want to show what I’ve been working on in the gym. Improve my power by using my whole body by putting my weight on the back foot and not falling off balance,” said Hamdan.

“I’m looking for a successful defence against Haris Pujono. I don’t just want a win. I want a very good win. It’s about getting better and take something away from this fight. It’s a learning game and I’m getting better and better and my time will come.”

Paul Upham
Contributing Editor
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