After trouncing Liam Williams who should Hamzah Sheeraz fight next?

HAMZAH SHEERAZ looked every inch a middleweight colossus last night (February 10) at the Copper Box in London.

The 24-year-old needed just one round to sweep aside Liam Williams to take his unbeaten record to 19-0 (15). However, the lack of punch resistance the Welshman displayed against Chris Eubank Jr two years ago was once again evident against Sheeraz. The former two-weight British champion and world middleweight contender was dropped twice and with less than 30 seconds to go in the opening session found himself in a world of trouble before trainer Gary Lockett waved the white towel to save his friend from further punishment.

This was a demonstration of Sheeraz’s power and attributes which makes him a different type of threat to the leading players in the 160lbs division. But who should he face next in his 20th contest? Boxing News presents five options to consider.

Nathan Heaney 18-0 (6)

Up until November last year not many would have entertained the thought of Heaney facing Sheeraz. However, beating Denzel Bentley on November 16 not only earned him the British middleweight title but now puts him in the mix to face Sheeraz. Both fight under the Queensberry banner and in the current WBO rankings Heaney is ranked four while Sheeraz is one place below. Stoke City supporter Heaney is itching for a fight outdoors at the club’s Bet365 Stadium and next month should he come through his first title defence against Brad Pauls then a summer showdown against Sheeraz becomes a possibility.

Denzel Bentley 18-3-1 (15)

Bentley’s reputation went up a level in November 2022 when he fell short against the world’s number one middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly. However, in 2023 Bentley didn’t build on that momentum. A one-round blowout of Kieran Smith in April was followed by a seven-month wait before returning to the ring to fight Nathan Heaney who ruined any plans for Sheeraz vs. Bentley in 2024. But the fight may still be revisited by their promoter Frank Warren. Bentley conceded he lost to the better man against Heaney but believes his wife’s pregnancy and eventual birth of their child did affect his preparation. The 29-year-old could still provide a stiff test for Sheeraz.

Vincent Feigenbutz 36-3 (32)

Once one of Germany’s great hopes the Feigenbutz hype train was derailed by Giovanni De Carolis in their 2016 super-middleweight rematch. The rebuild of his career included 10 wins before facing Caleb Plant for the American’s IBF world strap. Plant was levels above and stopped the German in the 10th round. Now down at middleweight the durable Feigenbutz might represent the type of matchmaking Team Sheeraz are looking at after the win against Williams.

Maciej Sulecki 31-2 (12)

The 34-year-old Pole could be another example of clever matchmaking in building Sheeraz’s name on the world scene. Sulecki’s two defeats came against top-level opposition in Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade, respectively. Three fights in five years for Sulecki since then raises eyebrows but if Sheeraz were to produce another demolition job then his reputation would increase once again.

Liam Smith 33-4-1 (20)

The Liverpudlian has mixed with world-class opposition between 154 and 160lbs for several years and in January 2021 proved he was still a force to be reckoned with stopping Chris Eubank Jr in four rounds. Eubank’s one-sided drubbing in their rematch eight months later levelled things up but Smith’s preparations were not ideal and looked nowhere near the fighter he was in their first encounter. The 35-year-old wouldn’t come cheap for Sheeraz and Frank Warren but at 100 per cent fit and healthy ‘Beefy’ could ask the questions of Sheeraz that will eventually need answering.

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