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Emotional ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed comments for the first time after death of mentor Brendan Ingle

Brendan Ingle and Naseem Hamed
Brendan Ingle and Naseem Hamed
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Sheffield boxing legend ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed has paid a heartfelt tribute to his former trainer Brendan Ingle, who died last week.

The featherweight was one of four world champions to come out of Ingle’s legendary Wincobank gym, and for a time in the 1990s was one of the biggest names in boxing.

Naseem Hamed with Brendan Ingle in 1994

Naseem Hamed with Brendan Ingle in 1994

‘Naz’ split acrimoniously with Ingle in 1998, but the 44-year-old - who now lives in Surrey - spoke movingly on Thursday of his debt to his former mentor.

He said: “The 25th of May was a very sad day for me, the Ingle family and Sheffield as a whole.

“It was especially upsetting for me as I spent a large part of my early life and formative years guided by Brendan, in fact, during many of those years I spent more time with Brendan than my own family.

“I had an unbelievable and amazing time, created by Brendan, and I will never forget how Brendan laid the foundations for my boxing career, making me the fighter I became.

Naseem Hamed (age 12) at the start of his boxing career, training at the St Thomas Boys Club, Wincobank, Sheffield, with Brendan Ingle

Naseem Hamed (age 12) at the start of his boxing career, training at the St Thomas Boys Club, Wincobank, Sheffield, with Brendan Ingle

“Brendan brought something amazing to the sport of boxing and will be sorely missed by all who have had the pleasure of his company over the years.

“During my career there were times we were inseparable and I can honestly say that if it were not for Brendan Ingle I would not have achieved all I did in the sport of boxing. I hope in the years to come Brendan will be honoured, as I have, in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

“Teaching his concept of boxing, hit and don’t get hit, producing five world champions, Brendan was a true innovator putting Sheffield boxing on the map, with Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham he started it, I completely mastered it and the rest will always be mere pretenders.

“I wish to pass on my respects and condolences to the Ingle Family and all Brendan’s friends at this difficult time.”

A young Prince Naseem Hamed in ring with Bomber Graham, Graham's daughter Natasha and trainer Brendan Ingle

A young Prince Naseem Hamed in ring with Bomber Graham, Graham's daughter Natasha and trainer Brendan Ingle

Mr Ingle died last Friday at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital after a short illness.

His funeral will take place at Sheffield Cathedral on June 14 at 1.30pm, before moving on to City Road crematorium.