Hamzah Sheeraz is expecting to secure his crack at British middleweight champion Denzel Bentley in December - if he comes through his September 2 comeback unscathed.
Sheeraz has not boxed since he blew River Wilson-Bent away inside two rounds to win the vacant Commonwealth title in November.
Shortly after the win, the 24-year-old had surgery on his injured hand which required a recovery period of ‘around 3-4 months’.
Sheeraz had been expected to return in July as part of the undercard for the initial date suggested for Oleksandr Usyk against another Frank Warren fighter, Daniel Dubois.
Then he thought he would be out in August but when Warren lost the Usyk-Dubois purse bid, Sheeraz was nudged onto the undercard of Joe Joyce’s rematch with Zhilei Zhang, which will take place on September 2.
The date changes meant that Sheeraz had already started his LA camp with Ricky Funez but had to fly back to London to avoid getting into hot water with US authorities.
He told BoxingScene.com: “Once my hand recovered, I got back into the swing of things so headed out to camp in America because I was told I would fight in July but then it got moved to August and now it has been moved to September 2.
“So I had to come back to England otherwise I would have overstayed my Esta. I would’ve stayed out there otherwise.
“They were banking on winning the purse bid for Usyk-Dubois so when that didn’t go their way there was a bit of a reshuffle. It’s boxing, it happens.”
Sheeraz will land back in LA this week and, as is customary for his training camps with Funez, the middleweight will set up shop in a north Hollywood Air BnB.
“I’m not making enough money to buy a house there yet,” he adds. “But the Air BnBs are alright, not too bad, each camp we are slightly levelling up. Maybe in a few fights we will be in a massive mansion in Beverly Hills.
“I’m still learning, still enjoying things. I’m quite at home there - it’s definitely my second home. In my first few camps, I didn’t know how to settle in properly but now I’m definitely in the full swing of things.”
Sheeraz knows that he could be a few months away from pocketing the biggest purse of his career, should the long-awaited encounter with Bentley take place.
He said: “I don’t think that fight will be in September but it could well be the December date if all goes well. As long as I can get September out of the way then I want that to be the December one.
“We’ve both said we want the fight now so it’s about what our managers do and what Frank Warren says.”
Sheeraz was ringside at the Copper Box in April when Bentley crushed Kieran Smith in just 45 seconds and the pair both verbally agreed to the clash.
Since then, the British Boxing Board of Control have ordered Bentley to defend his British title against Sheeraz and have given both sides until July 12 to agree a deal before a purse bid is called. However, as both men are promoted by Warren, a deal is expected to be agreed in time.
Sheeraz added: “We are probably the biggest names in Britain at middleweight so it would be the chance to find out who is really No.1. When the public are demanding something it puts you in a whole different mindframe. It’s not about ‘why would I want to fight him?’ it’s more that you have no choice but to take the fight.
“We crossed paths back in the day, when I first turned pro at 18 years old. You can’t take too much from it, we are both better fighters than we were then. Sparring and fighting are two completely different things but we have already shared the ring together.
“There was no animosity or anything like that but that will slowly start to be created the more people talk about this fight. We are both competitive guys at the end of the day. You can’t really respect a man who is trying to take food off your plate.”