For years, the cold war between British boxing’s most eminent promoters, Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn, raged without any indication of a truce being agreed.

Money has a habit of easing tensions but, still, plenty of eyebrows were raised when the two quickly – and happily – agreed to Saudi Arabian powerbroker, Turki Alalshikh’s, suggestion that they work together and pit their fighters against each other in a one night ‘5 vs.5’ tournament. 

The fast thawing of relations didn’t come as such a surprise to Hamzah Sheeraz.

Queensberry’s middleweight hope will fight Matchroom’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, 16-0 (11 KOs), in Saudi Arabia on June 1 in an outstanding clash of 160lbs contenders but Sheeraz, 19-0 (15 KOs), revealed to Queensberry that he has been working towards this type of event since last summer.

The 24-year-old can certainly keep a secret. Only a very select few will have been aware that Sheeraz was working on his own personal mission as he was taking apart Dmytro Mytrofanov on the undercard of the heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois in Poland last August and stopping Liam Williams inside a round in February. 

“I kind of knew anyway because two fights prior to all of this happening I got a hint for it that they were going to do these weights and whatnot,” he said. “I thought, ‘If I put on two devastating performances – one in Poland and one against Liam Williams – that puts me in the number one spot in the Queensberry middleweight division and it kind of gives them no choice but to choose me, so I kind of knew what I was doing and it all played its part and here we are today.”

The 6ft 4in tall Sheeraz has been matched perfectly so far, accumulating experience against accomplished veterans like Williams and Bradley Skeete and ruthlessly dispatching ambitious fighters like Mytrofanov and River Wilson-Bent. 

‘Ammo’ will provide him with an entirely new set of problems, however. The 27-year-old American has been through a similar apprenticeship and is at the peak of his own powers. Maybe most importantly, he is also equally as hungry as Sheeraz, who is relishing the chance to prove himself against such a dangerous opponent.

“Great fight, great fighter. He’s powerful, young, hungry and vicious,” he said. “It’s got all the ingredients to make a great fight and a very explosive fight. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a different challenge and when I get a challenge in front of me I kind of rise up to the occasion. I always have done and always will do.”

Frank Warren has been an ardent supporter of Sheeraz’s since he made his debut on a Billy Joe Saunders undercard back in 2017. On Monday, Warren illustrated his confidence in the Ilford man by nominating him as Queensberry’s team captain for the unique event which also provides him with the opportunity to prove a personal point to Matchroom boss, Eddie Hearn.

“He [Hearn] did an interview about a year ago and he goes, ‘I don’t know who Hamzah Sheeraz is,’” Sheeraz said. “I think I’ve got to make it my dual responsibility to put on a devastating performance, walk over to Eddie and shake his hand and go, ‘You won’t be forgetting me now.’” 

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