Hamdan steps in to challenge Stieglitz for WBO title
By Anthony Cocks, Doghouse Boxing (April 30, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Nader "Lionheart" Hamdan
Veteran Australian boxer Nader “Lionheart” Hamdan 43-9-1 (18) has grabbed one last shot at the big time with a late offer to face reigning WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz 41-2 (23) next Saturday, May 5th, in Erfurt, Germany.

Hamdan, who won the WBO Asia Pacific title from former WBO #8 Daniel Pawsey by twelve round unanimous decision in his last bout, first heard about the opportunity on Twitter after George Groves, who was replacing former champion Mikkel Kessler, withdrew from the fight citing an undisclosed injury.

“I’m excited, it came from nowhere,” said Hamdan, 38, who was watching his sons play soccer when DoghouseBoxing spoke to him before stepping on a flight to Germany on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m on Twitter and then I read that his opponent Groves pulled out, Kessler pulled out earlier and moved up in weight, so I rang up Angelo Hyder. I fought there [in Germany] twice, I fought two credible fights against Abraham and Larsen. Mr Sauerland said he’d have me back and here we are man, we’re going over to Germany for a world title shot again.”

A seasoned pro who first stepped into the prize ring back in 1997, Hamdan has fought twice in Germany in the past, losing an eight round decision to Mads Larsen in 2007 and a twelfth round TKO then-emerging middleweight Arthur Abraham in 2004. With further international assignments taking place in Croatia, Canada and Japan, the hostile German crowd is unlikely to faze the experienced gloveman.

The timing couldn’t be better for Hamdan, who was already in serious training to face undefeated light heavyweight Blake Caparello 11-0-1 (5) on May 18.

“We’ve sparred twelve rounds this week, and we did another hard fast eight rounds before I left yesterday with Anthony Mundine, so we’re ready,” said Hamdan. “I know I’m 38 going on 39, I won’t get another shot again. We did beat Daniel Pawsey in my last fight, he was number eight in the WBO, and that put me in a position to be where I am at right now. And I guess I’ve got a bit of luck on my side because anything can happen; with Mr Groves getting injured it put me in the right place. I’ve given them two good fights over there against those other opponents and I’m glad that they remembered me.

“I’m so glad that I’m fit already. The weight is pretty good, it’s a huge opportunity and a dream come true for me. Once I’m over there I’m sure I’ll settle in. Everyone knows I come to fight, I’m a twelve round fighter, we’re going to dig in and go for it.”

At 38, Hamdan is well aware that this is likely to be his last opportunity to win a world title. And despite 53 pro bouts under his belt, many of them fought over the twelve round distance, he insists that his body is holding up well.

“The body is good,” said Hamdan. “I beat the right fighter to put myself in this position right now and I’m fit because I was getting ready for another fight. The gym work has been great, I’m ready. This is it. I ain’t going to get another chance at this again. I’m going to take it with both hands and go for it.”

Write for Doghouse Boxing, e-mail Anthony at: anthonyc1974@gmail.com.

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