HAMZAH SHEERAZ says that a fight between himself and Denzel Bentley is worthy of being for a prize bigger than the British title.
The two middleweights, both promoted by Frank Warren, have been linked to facing one another at the end of this year. In this month’s British Boxing Board of Control circular it was noted that British middleweight champion Bentley would defend his title against Sheeraz, 17-0 (13), “on a date and venue to be advised”.
It’s never as straightforward as that and other avenues often remain open and ready to be explored. Bentley had been linked to a rematch against WBO champion Janibek Alimkhanuly but the Kazakh looks set to face IBF champion Vincenzo Gualtieri in a unification which could take place in October.
As part of the Oleksandr Usyk-Daniel Dubois undercard Sheeraz returns to action on Saturday night in Wroclaw, Poland against Ukrainian Dmytro Mytrofanov 13-0-1 (6). It will be Sheeraz’s first outing of 2023 having signed off from 2022 with a two-round demolition of River Wilson-Bent in November. A win without injury could ramp up the noise for a fight against Bentley who himself is looking to box for a second time this year after blowing away Kieran Smith in one round four months ago.
“It’s one of the easier fights to make in the division especially being under the same promoter,” Sheeraz said during a sit-down interview with One On One Boxing.
“I remember saying, ‘Let’s do it for the British [title]’ but reflecting on it it’s much bigger than the British. Maybe it will happen end of the year, early next year, for an eliminator or if he wins a world title or I do. It’s a rivalry that’s very natural. Nothing’s forced on both ends. It’s a very natural rivalry and one I’m definitely looking forward to making happen.”
With neither man particularly one to shout from the rooftops during the build-up to a fight Sheeraz says that any respect for Bentley or any opponent can only be given after they share a ring together.
“It’s natural competition at the end of the day,” he said, respectfully.
“I know people say, ‘Yeah, there’s respect there’ but personally, for me you can never really respect the man who’s trying to take food off your table until you’ve shared the ring and settled your dispute, and you understand who the better man is. I think not until then there won’t be the respect that there should be but that’s all better for the public and the fight.”
Since making his mark with knockout performances, his last 11 failing to hear the final bell, the 6ft 3ins middleweight has been tipped to go on to great things with Frank Warren one of his loudest supporters. Sheeraz told One On One how he would like to see his career play out over the next 10 years.
“Ideally, I want to win my first title at 160. So, whether that be end of this year, early next year I want it to be soon. In an ideal world unify at 160. Move up to 168 and finish my career at 175 or maybe even touching cruiserweight one day. Ten years takes me to 34. Be done by 34 and then just travel the world.”