Hamzah Sheeraz hopes a fight against Denzel Bentley can be for a world title

HAMZAH SHEERAZ believes that a fight between himself and Denzel Bentley deserves a prize bigger than the British title.

The two middleweights, both promoted by Frank Warren, have been linked to facing each other at the end of this year. In this month’s British Boxing Board of Control circular, it was noted that British middleweight champion Bentley would defend his title against Sheeraz 17-0 (13) ‘on a date and venue to be advised’.

It’s not always that simple, and other opportunities often remain open for exploration. Bentley had been linked to a rematch against WBO champion Janibek Alimkhanuly, but the Kazakh looks set to face IBF champion Vincenzo Gualtieri in a unification bout, which could take place in October.

As part of the Oleksandr Usyk-Daniel Dubois undercard, Sheeraz will return to action on Saturday night in Wroclaw, Poland, against Ukrainian Dmytro Mytrofanov 13-0-1 (6). This will be Sheeraz’s first fight of 2023, having ended 2022 with a two-round victory over River Wilson-Bent in November. A win without injury could generate more interest in a fight against Bentley, who is also looking to box for a second time this year after defeating Kieran Smith in one round four months ago.

“It’s one of the easier fights to make in the division, especially being under the same promoter,” Sheeraz said in a sit-down interview with One On One Boxing.

“I remember saying, ‘Let’s do it for the British Hamzah Sheeraz hopes a fight against Denzel Bentley can be for a world title’ but reflecting on it, it’s much bigger than the British. Maybe it will happen at the end of the year, early next year, as an eliminator or if he wins a world title or I do. It’s a very natural rivalry. Nothing is forced on both ends. It’s a very natural rivalry, and one I’m definitely looking forward to making happen.”

With neither man particularly prone to shouting from the rooftops during the buildup to a fight, Sheeraz states that respect can only be given to Bentley or any opponent after they have shared the ring together.

“It’s natural competition at the end of the day,” he said, respectfully.

“I know people say, ‘Yeah, there’s respect there,’ but personally, for me, you can never really respect the man who’s trying to take food off your table until you’ve shared the ring and settled your dispute, and you understand who the better man is. I think not until then there won’t be the respect that there should be, but that’s all better for the public and the fight.”

Since making his mark with knockout performances, his last 11 fights failing to go the distance, the 6ft 3ins middleweight has been tipped to achieve great things, with Frank Warren being one of his biggest supporters. Sheeraz discussed his career aspirations for the next 10 years with One On One.

“Ideally, I want to win my first title at 160. So, whether that be the end of this year or early next year, I want it to be soon. In an ideal world, I would unify at 160, then move up to 168 and finish my career at 175 or maybe even touch cruiserweight one day. Ten years takes me to 34. I would be done by 34 and then just travel the world.”

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