1997-05-03 Naseem Hamed w rsc 1 Billy Hardy, Nynex Arena, Manchester, England - IBF/WBO
1997-05-03 Naseem Hamed w rsc 1 Billy Hardy, Nynex Arena, Manchester, England - IBF/WBO. Referee: Paul Thomas. Defending two titles, Hamed (125¾) wasted little time in despatching the outgunned Hardy (126), who against all sensible advice took the fight to the champion before paying the price when he was put down by a tremendous straight right. Getting up at ‘seven’ Hardy was immediately set upon, a left-right-left dropping him again, this time for ‘six’, but it was over with just 93 seconds on the clock as the referee refused to allow the bout to continue.
Rather than accept the challenge of Hector Lizarraga, feeling that he was an inferior opponent, Hamed relinquished the IBF version of the title on 28 August. Following that, Lizarraga was matched against Welcome Ncita for the vacant title.