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Hamzah Sheeraz exclusive: I’m gonna bring something new



Hamzah Sheeraz exclusive: I’m gonna bring something new

Hamzah Sheeraz exclusive: I’m gonna bring something new

Hamzah Sheeraz has left behind the winter sunshine of California and arrived back in London for his showdown with Liam Williams. On Saturday night, the two middleweights will meet at the Copperbox Arena and there are serious rewards and consequences at stake for both. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

It is three years since Slough’s Sheeraz took himself to to Los Angeles to improve himself as a fighter but once there, his reputation as a potential champion stood for little and he had to earn his respect all over again on the hot, violent Californian boxing scene.

Life can’t have been easy for an unknown 21-year-old but Sheeraz stuck at it and has thrived. The improvements he has made during his time on the west coast are clear to see and Sheeraz has developed into a serious prospect under his trainer at the Ten Goose Boxing Gym, Ricky Funez. Outsiders being able to see the benefits is one thing but Sheeraz can feel them.

“I’ve felt the changes myself”

Frank Warren

“Massively. Massively. More so and more importantly, I’ve felt the changes myself,” he told 32Red. “There’s a difference between your coaches seeing it or other people seeing it. When you begin to feel it yourself, that’s when your body has accepted what you’ve been taught. It’s been great for me so far. It’s been working in my fights and also in sparring. Of course you have your good days and your bad days but that’s just all part of the sport.”

That hard sparring and training should come in useful this weekend because, style-wise, the fight looks certain to be a thriller.

Both fighters like to get involved and have the ability to finish a fight in the blink of an eye.

Physically, they couldn’t be much different. Sheeraz is tall for the weight and slim whereas Williams is a solid, thick middleweight.

Usually, this would favour Sheeraz. After all, there aren’t many 6ft 3in tall middleweights around whereas he spends almost every day of his life working out ways to deal with shorter opponents.

“It was the perfect fight for Liam”

Williams has seen it all before, however. In 2019 he cleverly steamrolled – if such a term exits – the 6ft 4in tall Alantez Fox, destroying the American inside five rounds. Three years ago he faced the rangy, talented Demetrius Andrade for the WBO middleweight world title. He fought bravely but struggled to stay close to Andrade and was outboxed. Sheeraz has seen those fights but isn’t allowing himself to fall into the trap of obsessing over what other fighters did right and wrong. He has his own plans for the Welshman.

“That Alantez Fox fight – not to disrespect him – but I don’t rate him as a fighter,” Sheeraz said. “He’s tall but he doesn’t really use his jab. He’s not really strong and he’s easily bullied about. It was the perfect fight for Liam to be fair. Ultimately what they’ve done either worked for them – or didn’t work for them as the case may be – and I’m gonna bring something new and something he hasn’t seen before.”

Given their statures and styles, most people understandably seem to be billing this as a battle between a boxer and a fighter. They wonder if the cool, calm and composed Sheeraz can tame the ferocious and fiery Williams. That may be oversimplifying matters.

Whilst both fighters would obviously benefit from the fight being fought at their preferred range, Williams’ boxing ability is underrated and Sheeraz has spent three years learning to fight at close quarters. He feels like this could be a deciding factor.

“The fact I’m training at that gym speaks for itself”

“For sure. I do think so. Everybody looks for me and thinks that I have to keep it long, box long,” Sheeraz said. “At the end of the day, the Ten Goose Gym is one of the best gyms for inside fighting and developing punching power in inside fighters. That there – the fact that I’m training at that gym – speaks for itself.”

Williams has enjoyed a successful career but although he has been within touching distance of winning a world title, he hasn’t quite been able to reach out and grab one. If he is to get another chance, he knows that he needs to shock Sheeraz on Saturday night. That desperation seems likely to make him an even more dangerous prospect. Sheeraz isn’t fazed, he has ambitions of his own and knows that he is only a step or two away from a world title himself and is determined to announce himself as a genuine threat to the best 160lb fighters on the planet.

“We’ve covered every aspect of this,” he said. “Come forward, inside work, you name it. We do have a plan but really it all depends on what I want to do that day. If I want to make it hard for myself then I’ll make it hard for myself but we’ve been training and we’ve been preparing to make it as simple as possible.”

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