Date: 8th February 1997
Venue: London Arena, Millwall, London, United Kingdom
Title: WBC World Super-middleweight Title
Promoted by: Queensberry Promotions, Don King Productions
Tv: Sky Sports Box Office
( 44 - 2 - 2 )
Weight: 125 1/2 lbs
( 24 - 00 - )
Weight: 126 lbs
Regarded as the first real acid test of Naseem Hamed's career, Tom 'Boom Boom' Johnson, the IBF's World Featherweight Champion put his title on the line in a unification bout after having defended his crown eleven times previously.
Hamed had won his WBO title from Welshman Steve Robinson and made four defences but, he hadn't faced a truly tried and tested opponent like Johnson so there were more questions to be asked in this fight.
Hamed had predicted a 3rd round stoppage and it looked at one stage that he might be able to fulfil that prediction but, seconds before the bell rang to end the round, Johnson rocked the Sheffield fighter to his boots and showed that he wouldn't fold as easily as Hamed's previous opponents.
Midway through the 4th round, Johnson started to feel the weight of Hamed's shots and although he was still competitive, the writing was on the wall. Hamed hurt the American every time he landed cleanly.
Johnson showed real bravery and self-belief to last a further four rounds but in the 8th Hamed didn't let Johnson off the hook when he caught a shook him, finally knocking him out with a brutal uppercut. Referee Rudy Battle counted out Johnson at 2:27 of the round.