THE RESULT: Fit-again Hamzah Sheeraz drops Liam Williams twice en route to a first-round stoppage at the Copper Box Arena in this rearranged middleweight clash. The pair were supposed to meet back in December but it was pushed back two months when Sheeraz suffered an ear injury in sparring. But he made up for lost time with this 156-second blitz.
KEY MOMENTS: In a fight so short there are not many to choose from but the contest was not even a minute old when Sheeraz dropped Williams for the first time with just his jab. He floored his last opponent, Dmytro Mytrofanov, with the same shot and Williams just could not handle the length, speed or power of it. The right uppercut which floored him for the second time was not bad either.
RECORDS: Sheeraz is now 19-0 (15) as a result of this, his fifth straight inside-distance win since he stepped up to middleweight in March of 2022. Williams, meanwhile, is now 25-5-1 (20).
TALKING POINT: Is Sheeraz now ready for the world level in a division without a clear No.1? Williams was supposed to be something of an acid test for the 24-year-old but Sheeraz made a mockery of that idea by putting this to bed inside a round. So does this mean he is ready for the likes of Janibek Alimkhanuly? Or, given his age, does he still need a couple more bridging fights?
QUOTABLE: Sheeraz said: “I’ve had a lot of doubters who thought I wasn’t able to keep up with the calibre of fighter that Liam is. I just do my talking in the ring. People don’t really like that but when i get in here, I entertain.”
Frank Warren added: “He reminds me of Tommy Hearns in a big way, with that superb jab. He doesn’t feel you out with it… it takes your head off. He’s a thorough professional with a great team. I genuinely believe tonight that a star is born. I believe he will go on and win a world title and hold it for as long as he likes.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The chances of a fight with one of the current belt-holders in his next outing looks unlikely but given he only needed a round tonight, Queensberry will look to keep Sheeraz busy in 2024. Warren, as always, had a suggestion: “What would be a good domestic dust-up – and that would be Eubank. If he’s got the balls to do it.”
For Williams, who knows. At 31 and with his best days behind him, maybe this is the last we see of him, or maybe he just ran into a fit and firing train at the Copper Box.