Hamzah Sheeraz is one of the most exciting prospects in British boxing right now.
The 21-year-old Slough-born super-welterweight has carried all before him so far in the paid ranks, scorching to a 12-0 record and drawing rave reviews.
Sheeraz has a bright future ahead of him, with his latest win - a November stoppage of Guido Nicolas Pitto - leading none other than Carl Frampton to claim: “If he doesn’t go on and win a world title, I’ll eat my hat”.
He spoke to Furyjoshua.com about how he got here, and his hopes for 2021 and beyond.
Q: How did you get into the sport and who were your boxing role models growing up?
I started boxing when I was eight years old through my uncle, who was a huge influence on me growing up and a multiple national amateur champion. Also my grandad used to box as well, so it’s always been in the blood I guess.
Q: You turned over age 18 with Frank Warren. Warren of course helped turn fighters like Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan into household names. That must give you confidence that he can help you follow in their footsteps?
Of course, Frank has turned many fighters into World Champions. Amir Khan is a huge role model for myself and many other young Asian fighters, what he achieved in the sport is unbelievable, and I just want to emulate what he has done in the ring
Q: You have a perfect 12-0 record since turning pro in 2017. Who would you regard as your toughest opponent so far?
I would say Ryan Kelly (TKO R6 in November 2019), as there was a lot of pressure going into the fight and it was also my first fight out of London and in his back yard. But on fight night it was packed with my supporters and it turned into a great night for the team.
Q: You are huge for the weight. How easy do you make super-welter and can you clear something up for us regarding one of your vital statistics as we see you listed as 6′1″ on Boxrec but have also seen posts on social media advising you are actually 6′3”?
I’ll just stick to what Boxrec are saying.
Q: With the above in mind, where do you think you will eventually move up to in terms of weight divisions?
Potentially I could go up to Super-Middleweight or even Light-Heavyweight as I’m only 21.
Q: We’ve just endured a year like no other due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19. How hard is it to stay focused with lockdown announcements, gyms opening then closing their doors and shows being cancelled?
I’m always focused and self-motivated, so it honestly hasn’t affected me much with my career and training camps.
Q: The reigning British super-welterweight champion Scott Fitzgerald didn’t box at all in 2020 due to personal issues. If that title becomes vacant, is it on your radar in 2021?
I believe Ted Cheeseman vs JJ Metcalf has been mandated for the British title by the board recently - it should be a great fight and every belt in the sport is on my radar.
Q: Former world champion Carl Frampton said after your last fight that you reminded him of Diego Corrales. What sort of buzz does that give a young fighter on the way up to be compared to a modern great such as Corrales?
It’s nice being compared to greats of the sport, but ultimately, I have to create my own legacy and make my own name in the sport of boxing. But I do appreciate what Carl Frampton and David Haye said after my last win, so thanks to them.
Q: You are well rated by the WBO. What are your thoughts on their current super-welterweight champion Patrick Teixeira?
He’s boxing Brian Carlos Costano on February 13 I believe, so it’s a Brazil vs Argentina South American clash. Any time those two countries meet in any sport, it’s a good watch as they have a huge rivalry.
Q: What are your targets for 2021 and how far away are you realistically from fighting the likes of Teixeira and other top men in the division such as Jermell Charlo?
I’m still only 21 years old but soon you’ll hear my name next to the world champions of the division.
Q: How highly do you rate the aforementioned Charlo, the American widely regarded as the top man at 154lbs these days?
He holds the IBF, WBA & WBC world titles at the weight so deserves to be regarded the top man in the division as the unified Champion.
Q: Amir Khan was the first British-Pakistani fighter to win a major world title (sorry Jawaid Khaliq). Was it inspiring to watch Amir scale the heights when you were growing up?
Of course. I went to most of his fights growing up, and he deserves a lot of credit for opening the doors for people like myself and a lot of other Asian fighters coming through.
Q: There’s been a bit of fiery back and forth with Troy Williamson on social media. Both of you are with Frank Warren. Is that a fight that could happen in 2021?
I’d fight anyone that’s put in front of me by Frank Warren and everyone knows that.
Q: If you were granted one wish to make the sport a better place, what would it be?
At this moment in time I would love to have crowds back in boxing as it’s a fan-friendly sport and boxers thrive fighting in front of a crowd.
Q: Finally, do you have any training tips for young fighters or those looking to get into boxing this year?
Just work harder than you did yesterday, and listen to your coaches and your team.