Hamzah Sheeraz made a devastating start to his career as a middleweight as he knocked out Jez Smith in the second round at Wembley Arena, knocking him down twice in the brief time it lasted.
The 22-year-old seems to improve fight by fight. The move up in weight doesn’t seem to have blunted Sheeraz’s talents. He is still tall for the weight and has huge reach, which he exploits with a ramrod jab. He has fast hands too, all of which added up for big problems for Smith early on.
After being kept at distance for much of the first round, he lunged in and was met by a powerful left hook that sent him to the floor and he got a longer break as the searched for Smith’s gumshield.
Smith saw out the round but there was more trouble coming swiftly after. Once again it was a left hook that started Smith’s downfall, as it staggered him before a right and another left sent him heavily to the floor, where referee John Latham counted him out as he tried to scramble back to his feet. The second round had only lasted 38 seconds.
It was Sheeraz’s first fight since stepping up in weight in the wake of his controversial win over Bradley Skeete, a fight he won by stoppage soon after clearly hitting Skeete on the floor.
Sheeraz said he was willing to stay at super-welterweight for a rematch, but said the offer was turned down. The fight was for the WBC international silver belt, but something a bit more worthwhile could be along soon for Sheeraz.
Sheeraz said: "I felt great in there. I felt stronger at 160, it's been calling for a long time and I felt great in there, the first of many at middleweight.
"We've been working on the basics and I wanted to show it tonight. After my last performance we had to sit down and strip everything back. I knew I hurt him and you could see I didn't rush my work and it was brilliant."
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.