On February 10th, Hamzah Sheeraz will take on the dangerous Liam Williams in a fight which will answer a lot of questions about where both fighters currently stand in the middleweight title picture.
Is Sheeraz the future world champion many believe him to be or will ‘The Machine’ once again crank into gear and roll over the undefeated 24 year old?
The eagerly anticipated fight was initially scheduled to take place last month but was postponed after Sheeraz suffered a perforated ear drum. After a short break, Sheeraz returned to training with Ricky Funez at the Ten Goose Gym in Los Angeles and is fully fit and prepared for the best possible version of Williams.
“You can tell he's obviously up for it because you’ve got to look at it from his perspective, this is his last big chance and if he gets a win then he's back in the mix again but at the same time it's my biggest chance as well. It's my biggest fight to date,” Sheeraz told Seconds Out.
“People are calling it an acid test and it's one of those fights where if I go out there and put in a good performance then I should be the name in the middleweight division - not even one of the names - the name in the UK to say the least so hopefully that happens.”
Since Sheeraz suffered his ear injury the British middleweight division has continued to move. Nathan Heaney shocked Sheeraz’s long time rival, Denzel Bentley, to take the British title and the long, drawn out saga between Chris Eubank Jnr and Conor Benn finally petered out.
Sheeraz was able to watch that particular scenario unfold from a few different standpoints. As a fan, he wanted to see it made and as a fighter he can’t understand why it wasn’t. As a middleweight himself, he had to view the as fight as a clash of potential rivals.
“I personally thought they should have done it,” he said. “It made sense, it made money, the public was interested. Then, it ultimately it comes down to promoter’s demands and the fighter’s demands as well and we don't see what they request or how stupid or how crazy it is what they asked for.
“If it was me I would have cracked on it and got the fight done but, obviously, for whatever reason it didn't happen and they both continue on with their careers. I think Conor Benn's in a much better position because he goes back down to 147lbs and he climbs the ranks for a title.”
Eubank sits at number one in the WBO rankings, just behind unified WBO and IBF champion, Janibek Alimkhanuly, while Sheeraz is ranked at number five, a position which may well change if he beats Williams in impressive fashion.
It doesn’t pay to look too far ahead in boxing but a future fight between the two would make sense on lots of levels. Maybe it is debatable whether Eubank would currently be interested in taking on a young, hungry fighter like Sheeraz, but money talks and there is always a number that can make such a proposal more interesting. If a fight with Eubank presented itself, Sheeraz would be more than interested in taking it.
“A million percent. I'd be silly to say no,” he said. “Listen, he's a big name - he’s a massive name - and he’s been he's been around the sport for a long time. The main thing is getting the job done [against Williams] and God willing I do it, inshallah.
“It's all about taking the right next step and I think he'd be perfect, why not? Maybe one more fight then him but let's see how it all plays out.”