Hamzah Sheeraz is on a well-trodden path, and it is one he believes will lead him to the top.

Promoted by Hall of Famer Frank Warren, Williams, an unbeaten middleweight prospect, can see the methodology behind his career trajectory, the one that is set to take him to the big show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday night.

It is there where Sheeraz will meet fellow unbeaten hope Austin “Ammo” Williams in an intriguing clash of fighters on the verge of a world title.

The stakes are high. Not only is it an eliminator for the WBC belt held by Carlos Adames, but it is worth “double points” in the “5 vs. 5” bill, as Sheeraz has been nominated by Warren to be the Queensberry team skipper.

It is Warren who has meticulously matched Sheeraz to 19-0 (15 KOs) and created the hype that is bubbling around the fighter from Slough, England, but who now lives in Essex.

Sheeraz has seen the steps up that have led him to Williams, whom he rates as the best he has faced in his career to date.

“I would say so. My last four, five fights, I knew progressively that the fights would get harder, and if you look at all the greats through their careers, this is exactly how their careers have pathed out,” Sheeraz said. “Every fight they’ve took, they’ve got harder and harder, and ultimately you get these fights like this where you’re both young, hungry fighters in your prime, to say the least, and it’s one of them where, to be where I want to be in the sport, I have to fight fighters like this and I have to get the victory.”

Sheeraz is typically respectful and well-mannered. Warren often mentions what a good role model Sheeraz is. He is polite and articulate. He can also fight, and he will have to prove that on Saturday.

“He’s a good fighter,” Sheeraz said of Williams. “I wouldn’t say he’s a great fighter, because to be a great fighter you’ve got to do great things – but he’s a good fighter. He does everything well. He can bang. He’s fast. He can box. I understand the task at hand. I understand what I’m in for Saturday night and what I’ve had to do in my preparation to ensure I get the victory on Saturday night. Everything in my capable power has been done. Now it’s about making weight and having fun.”

As Sheeraz has progressed, the light has shone brighter on him. It is now familiar, and despite many expecting big things from him, he says the pressure does not feel as great as it has in the past.

“There used to be, because I used to get so nervous thinking, ‘I need to get the win, I need to get the win,’ ‘I have to do this, I have to do that,’” he explained. “But over the years, I’ve gradually understood to live in the moment, to cherish every opportunity I get, to cherish these fight weeks, cherish the sparring, the weight-making, the diet, and cherish everything. Because, listen, all the former world champions and fighters I’ve been around, they’ve always told me, ‘Your career goes in the blink of an eye. It goes like that, so just learn to enjoy it.’

“I’ve learned to forget about it being pressure. I understand I’ve got a lot on my shoulders. I’ve got a family to provide for, I’ve got people to provide for, I’ve got people to make proud, I’ve got people coming over here, flying over, fans and whatnot. But at the same time, tomorrow’s not guaranteed, so it’s all about cherishing the moment and living in the moment.”

Things are already going the way Sheeraz hoped they would, and he said the opportunity to fight in Saudi Arabia was something he had wanted to tick off his bucket list. The dream wasn’t to box in Vegas, New York or a soccer stadium. As soon as he laid eyes on Saturday’s venue, that is where he wanted to box.

“Mine was actually fighting here in Riyadh,” Sheeraz said when asked about where he’d like to fight. “When I came to the [Anthony] Joshua-[Francis] Ngannou fight, I thought, ‘I’d love to have a bit of this,’ and then two weeks later I got the phone call. It all happened quickly, but I suppose this is where it’s at for the next 10 years, maybe 15 years. This is where it’s at, this is where it’s happening, and long may it continue.”

Back to Williams, the 16-0 contender from Houston who Sheeraz has been preparing for.

Williams feels he is being underestimated by Queensberry for making Sheeraz their “banker” of a win and a four-point player in the team tournament. But Sheeraz is not taking anything for granted.

“He does a bit of everything well,” Sheeraz said, discussing his foe. “He can box, he can bang. He knocks people out. He can fight up close. There’s nothing he really does that is bad or that he can’t do. I’d say that he’s a complete fighter. But this is what makes it a great fight. I can do the same as well.

“I’ve not been given the opportunity to show I can fight up close. Everyone looks at me and thinks because I’m 6-foot-4, I should be fighting long. But it’s not the case in some fights. You have to push the pace and you have to get involved, and I believe this is one of those fights where that is going to happen.”

What kind of contest does the Englishman expect?

“It depends on what I want to do, truly, because I plan to go into that fight and dictate,” Sheeraz said. “So if I want to put him on the back foot, I’ll do that. If I want to go on the back foot, I’ll do that. So it all depends on where I feel most comfortable and I feel he feels most vulnerable.”

The middleweight division is holding out for a star. No one has grabbed one of the sport’s most traditional weight classes by the scruff of the neck since the days of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (at 160 pounds) and Gennady Golovkin.

Sheeraz wants to be the next man.

“I’m hoping so,” he concluded. “And it’s fights like this that give me the opportunity to do that. Fights like this on Saturday night, they give me that platform to be able to do that, and hopefully if I go in there and put on a demolition job, then it’s like, ‘OK, cool. This is the guy at 160.’ Then it’s all about collecting the titles, strategically. Hopefully I get through Saturday night and then I’m lined up to fight for the WBC title, hopefully pick that and then be that guy at 160 that everyone talks about.”

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