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In a dominant performance on Friday, Hamzah Sheerah stopped Paul Kean in the 6th round after the Dundee fighter retired on his stool.
It was a smart decision from Kean and his corner, one that comes with no shame at all, as he was thoroughly outmatched and outboxed on the night. Kean fought well and had his own moments, especially in the 4th when he caught Sheeraz with a heavy right hook and a few decent two-punch combos, but he had been fighting on the back foot right from the start.
Sheeraz utilized his reach advantage perfectly and punished Kean with his jab and straight throughout, forcing the Dundee man to take big shots in order to get inside. It was a very patient and well-paced performance, showing Sheeraz’s excellent tactical awareness even at just 21 years of age.
At 6’3″ he’s a huge Super-welterweight and obviously has a decent reach advantage over most opponents. Despite his height and his sleight frame though, Sheeraz manages to make every one of his 154lbs felt in his punches.
Once you see him in the ring moving so well, maintaining speed and stamina through his fights, you begin to understand that he’s at a very comfortable and natural weight for himself. He threw thudding uppercuts that rocked Kean’s head back on more than one occasion and had equal amounts of success with his lead hook. Similarly against Ryan Kelly, he was able to land with enough power to force a stoppage in the 6th.
Sheeraz’s real talents though are his technique and ring craft. He has an understanding of rhythm and movement that allows him to dictate fights, another aspect of his boxing that he expertly displayed on Friday. In the opening seconds of round 1, he walked Kean down with a tight guard throwing a few short jabs while he watched Kean’s footwork and movement. As soon as Kean shifted his weight to throw a right hook, Hamzah fired off his own short right hook and beat Kean to it, knocking him down in the process. The punch was hard, but it was the combination of Kean shifting right and being mid-swing that caused him to go down.
Sheeraz’s ability to see these small tells in his opponents allows him not only to counter-punch well but to strike first and critical moments of poor balance. His own footwork is so good, that makes him all the more dangerous to fight as he punishes your mistakes while making comparatively few of his own.
Where to next?
Sheeraz already holds WBO European Super-welter title and sits just behind Anthony Fowler in the WBO rankings. If we look just at domestic matchups, Sheeraz has Ted Cheeseman, Kieran Smith, and James Metcalf to look forward to.
A fight with Fowler seems ill-advised as we don’t feel Sheeraz simply is ready for the WBA International champ just yet, besides, Fowler is fighting in August already and is looking to become British Champion within the next two years, so his sights will be firmly fixed on a rematch with Scott Fitzgerald until then.
The winner of Ted Cheeseman and Sam Eggington on August 1st will be a good target for Sheeraz going into 2021, as they’ll hold the IBF International Super-welter belt. To get him on his way to that fight Sheeraz could face James Metcalf which I think would be an easier fight for him than Kieran Smith, who at 6’2″ negates much of Sheeraz’s reach advantage.
It’s difficult to predict who will be available to fight in the next few months, with COVID-19 still locking down a lot of international travel, but Sheeraz has a lot of Super-welterweight talent to choose from in Europe.
Over the year or two Sheeraz should look to contend for more belts at the European level and from what we’ve seen so far, he has all the right tools to do so.