Legendary British boxing trainer Brendan Ingle, at his famous Wincobank Gym in the city of Sheffield, trained a number of young fighters, taking plenty of them to major titles in the 1980s and ‘90s. Arguably the most famous of these Ingle fighters is former featherweight champ and KO king Naseem Hamed. The cocky, sometimes controversial puncher polarised fans in the 1990s and early 2000s, and was loved and disliked in seemingly equal measure.
But was “Naz” the best fighter to have come out of the famed Sheffield gym? One man who is more qualified than most on the subject, says no. Dominic Ingle, the son of Brendan, says his fighter, reigning and unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, is better than Hamed and deserves to be called the best to have come out of their gym.
“Kell is a better all-round boxer than Naz,” Ingle told The Star. “The Prince was great but his reliance on his knockout power was found out when he ran into [Marco Antonio] Barrera. Given the chance, Kell can prove himself the successor to Floyd Mayweather as the best in the world pound-for-pound.”
Talk about putting pressure on your fighter! Or, to take Ingle’s comments another way, perhaps they just go to show the absolute belief and confidence the trainer has in his fighter. Brook, though, is still a long way from achieving as much – either fame, money or success – as Hamed did. Brook’s solitary standout win is his ultra-close, could-have-gone-either-way, points victory over Shawn Porter. In his day, Hamed beat good men, Tom Johnson (by KO), Kevin Kelley (by KO after a war), Wilfredo Vazquez (by TKO) and Wayne McCullough (by UD). Hamed did fall a long way short against Barrera, but until Brook manages to go one better and defeat a stellar fighter the calibre of the great Mexican star, he cannot be classed above Hamed.
Brook, as we know, is calling for the biggest and best names – such as Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Miguel Cotto and even Gennady Golovkin – but until he defeats two of these calibre of fighters, or just one if it‘s GGG, “The Prince” will continue to reign supreme as the finest world champion boxer the Ingles ever produced. Now, as to finest, purest and most incredibly gifted boxer Ingle ever worked with, well, a certain Herol Graham’s name comes to mind.