Undefeated middleweight Hamzah Sheeraz 19-0 (15) cemented his credentials as a genuine contender with an opening round knockout of Liam ‘The Machine’ Williams 25-5-1 (20) at the Copper Box Arena in Hackney Wick, London, England on Saturday night.
Welshman Williams, 31, was expected to provide a test for the 24-year-old Brit from Ilford in Essex, but he was barely afforded the chance to get started. Williams was down twice in the opening round before his trainer jumped onto the ring apron to call off the fight. Referee Mark Lyson halted the action at the 2:36 mark of the opening frame.
“I had a lot of doubters going into this fight, it’s part of the sport. That’s how it is. I do my talking in the ring. When I get in here I entertain,” the six-foot-three Sheeraz said after the fight.
“Let’s have it, any 160-pounder. Put them in front of me and I’ll beat them.”
Promoter Frank Warren was quick to draw parallels between Sheeraz and the legendary Tommy Hearns, another lanky puncher.
“He reminds me of Tommy Hearns, he’s probably got the best jab [around]. He doesn’t feel you out with it, he takes your head off,” the Queensberry Promotions boss said.
“He’s a thorough professional. I genuinely believe tonight a star is born. I believe he will win a world title and he will hold that title as long as he likes.
“There couldn’t be a better advertisement for boxing. He’s an absolute star. He represents modern Britain and he does it in a fantastic way.”
Former world title challenger Williams had been stopped just once previously on cuts. Next up, Warren wants to match him with Chris Eubank Jr 33-3 (24) – if the 34-year-old from Brighton, Sussex will take the fight.
“Eubank – if he’s got the balls to do it, because he’d need big balls to get in the ring with him,” Warren said.
“No one does that to Liam Williams. The way he handled it from the first jab, it was a magnificent performance.”
Sheeraz predicted the knockout before the fight and got it in devestating fashion.
“The ideal night is a Hamzah Sheeraz win, it all depends on that. For me to achieve my dreams and make people proud, I have to put on a performance,” he said.
“A stoppage is the plan and I don’t see why I can’t do it. The way I work and my mentality is elite level. I am rubbing shoulders with great champions in LA and only learning off them.”
Williams, a 7/2 underdog, laughed off the odds before the fight.
“I don’t think he has been in with someone yet who has really tested him and stuck it on him. On Saturday night we are going to see how he holds up to that,” he said.
“Personally, I think it’s a bad mistake. They’ve bought me in to get beaten by this guy. He’s very good, he’s talented. He’s obviously big for the weight. The list goes on really but I don’t think I’m the right guy for the job. I think you’ve bought in the wrong guy.”