By Declan Taylor
HAMZAH SHEERAZ will down tools for the holy month of Ramadan before chasing summer fights on three fronts.
The 24-year-old puncher took out Liam Williams inside a round at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday night to add to his growing reputation as one of world boxing’s most promising talents.
Immediately attention turned to what might be next but devout Muslim Sheeraz will not train during Ramadan which runs from March 10 to April 9 before getting back into his training camp in Los Angeles.
“I’ll fly back the day after,” he said. “I’ll have Eid and then the day after I’ll be straight on a flight back out to LA. I have no injuries and it wasn’t a long night against Williams.”
Now Sheeraz has opened up on the three names that his next fight could be against as he plots a path towards the top end of the middleweight division.
He is one of the names who could line up for Queensberry Promotions in the 5 vs 5 tournament with Matchroom, which takes place on June 1 in Saudi Arabia on the undercard of Artur Beterbiev against Dmitrii Bivol.
It has been suggested that Sheeraz could take on Matchroom’s 16-0 (11) southpaw Ammo Williams, who has been previously linked with a fight against Sheeraz’s compatriot Felix Cash although that has never materialised
Of Williams, Sheeraz said: “Hopefully I can get out on that Saudi card – straight on that undercard. That lines me up for June. Amo Williams is being linked and it’d be a big fight, I think.
“It’s a dream of mine – a recent dream of mine. Especially everything being set up there and being a muslim as well. It only makes sense, and it’d be great to fight out there – especially in front of the boxing royalty as well.”
Williams would represent a huge opportunity for Sheeraz to breakout, particularly in America but his promoter Frank Warren suggested an even bigger name for his next fight in the form of Chris Eubank Jr.
Eubank Jr had been expected to face Conor Benn early this year but he is without an opponent after those talks broke down and Warren is hoping to tempt the Brighton man into an unlikely all-British clash with Sheeraz.
But the 6ft 3in Ilford man, 10 years Eubank’s junior and with little to offer in terms of risk-reward for the older fighter, knows it would need big money in order for that fight to take place.
“I just need to start hunting these guys down,” said Sheeraz when asked about Eubank Jr.
“Even if he just starts to take notice now, that’s better than nothing. I know he’s chasing money now. There’s bigger money fights out there for him, but if he’s got a figure, I’m sure Frank can sort something out.”
Another more likely domestic clash however, is with the current British middleweight champion Nathan Heaney, if he can successfully defend his title for the first time when he takes on Brad Pauls in Birmingham on March 16.
Stoke favourite Heaney is one of the best supported boxers in the country and Boxing News understands he has already shifted upwards of 1,600 tickets for that show. Given his ability to draw a crowd, Heaney is hoping to one day secure a fight at Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium and Sheeraz would have no problem being in the away corner.
He said: “The Nathan Heaney fight is a very, very realistic fight as well. That’s a fight I’d love to have.
“I’d even go to Stoke on a cold, wet Tuesday night if I had to. I’d love to. It would be an honour. I know it would be a very hostile environment but I think it would add that bit of fuel to my fire.
“I have already done it in Poland, boxing Dymtro Mytrofanov, especially with all the Ukrainians there.
“But for now I’m just looking forward to getting back in there again whoever it is. I always said if I take care of Liam Williams doors and avenues will be open, there are loads of routes I can choose. It’s just a matter of which one I take.”