IT’S OFFICIAL! HAMZAH IS THE REAL DEAL
By Frank Warren
HAMZAH SHEERAZ TRULY established himself as the genuine article on Saturday night with his ruthless demolition of Liam Williams at the Copper Box Arena.
It was a belter of a show, fast moving, competitive, entertaining with plenty of stoppage victories. In fact, nine out of the 11 fights in total went early.
But it was Hamzah who really showed himself to be a class apart, ending the show with 24 seconds remaining in just the first round. His jab is simply sensational and central to everything he does. For his opponents it must be like copping a right-hander! It is such a potent weapon that will serve him so well now he is closing in on world title contention.
Let’s get this right. Liam is, and has always been, a fearsome competitor. He has encountered serious problems early in recent big fights but has always come through and the only stoppage on his record previously was due to a particularly savage cut.
Naturally, I believed Hamzah would emerge triumphant. But not like that. I thought Liam would provide significant jeopardy and probably take him into the trenches at some point.
It was not to be and it was almost a replica of Hamzah’s exploits in Poland, where his jab just destroyed the senses of the man in front of him.
So where do we go from here? Well, Hamzah will now get ready for Ramadan, which gives us a window to plot his next move and, as I commented on Saturday, he is off the leash now.
There are some good options out there, but some of those might not be so keen now. Personally, I wouldn’t have any hesitation over matching Hamzah with Janibek Alimkhanuly, the Kazakh southpaw, who holds two world title belts. He says nobody wants to fight him, so we have now got someone for him, if he is up for it.
We will see what transpires and take it from there.
Elsewhere on the card there were some cracking performances as a number of our young fighters really stepped up to the plate. The newcomers – Billy Adams, Sam King and Charlie Hickford – all impressed and our cruiserweight stars in the making, Tommy Fletcher and Aloys Jr, both demonstrated why they will soon become forces to be reckoned with.
I was delighted for little Umar Khan in getting his first stoppage win, plus I was hugely impressed with Masood Abdulah for the way he set about the Olympian Qais Ashfaq to retain his Commonwealth belt. The entrance of Masood makes our featherweight options particularly interesting now.
Anthony Yarde has now fully dusted himself down and, in my opinion, the fight with Joshua Buatsi is the one to make. Joshua was in attendance on Saturday and the way he and Anthony conducted themselves was how it should be. No nonsense at all.
Yes this would be a cross-promotional, cross-platform fight, but everyone just needs to make accommodations and get it done.
I reserve a special mention for young Sam Noakes, our lightweight typhoon, who added the British title to his belt collection on Saturday with his fourth round stoppage of the previously undefeated Lewis Sylvester.
I feel Sam is a little bit underrated and that some people view him as just a crash, bang, wallop merchant. There is much more to him than that and he can box when he has to, but he will go for it if a finish is there.
I do get a real kick out of delivering big title opportunities for the likes of Sam when you can see just how much it means to them. You don’t get into this game for gratitude, but it is a special feeling when fighters do appreciate the work of the whole team behind them and can’t keep a big smile off their face.
Our next home show is the big one in Birmingham on March 16 and Liam Davies rightly pointed out that the graphic put up by TNT Sports, I am sure unintentionally, did not include his IBO world title fight which, of course, is right up there amongst the biggest fights of the night, if not the biggest.