Exclusive: Sheeraz eyes Gurria scalp and world title fight in Dubai

Last updated on July 15, 2021 at 07.51 pm

The most talented British Asian boxer to have emerged since Amir Khan, Hamzah Sheeraz hopes his training in Dubai will help him in London when he enters the ring for his next fight.

The 22-year-old boxer will lock horns with Spain’s Ezequiel Gurria at Wembley on July 24, hoping for his 13th straight win in his career.

Victory will see Sheeraz defend his European WBO Super Welterweight title and it will also take him one step closer to the world title bout.

The Slough-born boxer spent a few weeks in Dubai early this year, training in the gyms here before flying to Los Angeles for final preparations.

“Of course, Dubai helped me prepare for the fight. Food-wise, facility-wise, training-wise, the gym I used there in Dubai, everything was good and gave me ideal preparations,” Sheeraz told Khaleej Times.

Born to a Pakistani father and an Indian mother, Sheeraz also hopes to draw strength from the strong South Asian community in Dubai as he aims to bring his world title fight to this country.

“Yes, I would like to have my world title fight in Dubai,” he said.

“Realistically speaking, I am giving myself one and a half years for the world title fight. And my dream is to make it happen in Dubai. I have got a good support base going out there and my sponsors have also been supporting me in Dubai. I am very grateful to all of them.”

Sayyed Hussain, a British Pakistani expat in Dubai who works in the DIFC, in the financial market, is one of Sheeraz’s sponsors whose dream is to see his compatriot become a world champion in Dubai.

“My interest is mainly in boxing and I want to bring boxing to Dubai to help young people like Hamzah Sheeraz come here, promote Dubai and their exceptional sports facilities,” Hussain told Khaleej Times.

“A lot of people see Dubai as a luxury place, which it is, but we also wanted to highlight that it has world-class facilities here as well that can match Europe and the UK (for sports).”

Hussain then revealed what made him invest in Sheeraz, who stopped Argentinian rival Guido Nicolas Pitto in the 10th round of his last fight in November.

“He is a very young, ambitious and hungry man. And what better place to showcase his skills than Dubai,” he said.

“Dubai is such a cosmopolitan place. He has Pakistani and Indian heritage. I do believe that Hamzah can be a future face of boxing and we want Dubai to be a part of that and together grow the sport and open doors and support others coming through to Dubai.

“It's exciting times and I’m glad to be one of his key backers and help him grow into the star that he is destined to be. Dubai will play a crucial part in this ambition.”

Rituraj Borkakoty A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.