HAMZAH SHEERAZ BELIEVES he will benefit from the adversity of his last fight when he makes the step up to middleweight on March 19 at the OVO Arena, Wembley.

The 14-0 Hamzah found himself caught in the eye of a storm back in December at the Copper Box when he was deducted a point for hitting Bradley Skeete when he was down in a passage of the fight that altered the momentum and resulted in the former British welterweight champion ultimately being stopped in the ninth round.

By his own admission, the 22-year-old from Ilford admits he was off his game on the night but has been heartened by a chat with veteran trainer Joe Goosen on his return to the Californian sunshine to begin preparing for his Wembley date at middleweight against Jez Smith.

"Looking back on it now, straight away I know it was not a good performance," conceded Hamzah in conversation with Dev Sahni on the Unibet Lowdown. "I was chatting to Joe Goosen about it when I came back here about two weeks ago and he asked me what I learned from it.

"I told him what I did and he said a fight like that will do me the world of good and it was the equivalent of about 10 easy knockout fights. He said with what I learned I will be a different man in my next fight.

"It wasn't my greatest performance, everyone knows that, but I got the win and I'm moving forward now."

Another learning experience for the still young professional was the storm of criticism that headed his way following his illegal maneuver against Skeete. Hamzah did formally offer a rematch to his vanquished opponent, but acceptance was not forthcoming and he now proceeds with his plan to operate in the next division up.

"At the start it was like everyone was mad angry! I think what helped me - not that I needed help because I am pretty thick skinned - was that I know everyone has got an opinion and everyone is entitled to an opinion.

"That helped me to understand where it was coming from. It is part of boxing and I am glad it has happened early in my career rather than later on because, from this adversity, I can learn and become a better fighter and a better person.

"All I know is that it [a rematch] was declined. I said that I would make 154lbs one more time if he accepted the rematch because it was only fair. It was always my intention to move up and here we are now."