Hamzah Sheeraz takes a big step up this Saturday as he faces former world title challenger Liam Williams. Sheeraz’s Commonwealth middleweight title will be on the line as he faces a man who has only lost to the best. This Copper Box Arena clash will be a fine yardstick to measure where the 24-year-old is at in his development.
Physically, Sheeraz is a nightmare for any middleweight. His 6’3” dimensions and 75” reach make for a tricky puzzle for 160-pounders not used to dealing with heavyweight dimensions. Couple his physical gifts with a fierce streak of knockout power and you have a middleweight who is a handful for anyone.
Sheeraz was certainly that for the 18 men he’s faced so far. After feeling his way in during his early bouts, the Berkshire-born boxer has now knocked out 12 opponents in succession. He hasn’t even been taken past the fifth round since 2021, when classy British veteran Bradley Skeete was stopped in nine.
Sheeraz’s feared power and his youthful exuberance are what makes this such a fascinating fight in terms of balance. While the Commonwealth champion is just starting out in terms of his top-level career, Williams has been there and done that. He also doesn’t get stopped, having lost just one fight inside the distance. That came on cuts to former world champion Liam Smith in 2017.
This is a crossroads fight in terms of age and a battle of a knockout artist against a durable veteran who is hard to shift. This is matchmaking at its finest.
Williams has come close to the very top of the tree during his career. There were the aforementioned fights with Smith. The first ended with a Williams cut in the ninth round. He ran Smith incredibly close in the second, losing a majority decision.
The Welshman has also been the distance with Demetrius Andrade in a WBO middleweight title fight. His last defeat was a loss to Chris Eubank Jr in which he was knocked down four times. But the ever durable Williams heard the final bell in that one, too.
While his visits to world class have brought defeat, Williams is accomplished at domestic level and beyond. He’s a two-time British champion at both light middleweight and middleweight and a former Commonwealth champion to boot. Like Sheeraz, the five decision victories in his 25 wins came early in his career. Liam’s last 17 wins came inside the distance.
Which might make what I’m about to say next seem odd. Despite the power-punching credentials of those involved, I believe we are in for a decision in this high-quality Commonwealth clash. Sheeraz has never been in with an opponent as good as Williams. Meanwhile, the challenger has only ever been stopped due to a cut. Even when Eubank sent him repeatedly to the canvas, he could not land a finishing blow.
Sheeraz will likely have too much in most rounds for the aging Williams. His long, rangy style will keep the big-hitting Welshman at a safe distance while he racks up the points. Sheeraz may even send Williams to the canvas, perhaps more than once. But I can see the brave challenger still standing at the end. My pick is a Sheeraz decision victory, which you can back at 10/3.
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