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Teenage boxer wins first fight in style after going pro

James Hockaday

A teenage boxer from Langley celebrated his first ever professional fight on Saturday having defeated a seasoned fighter almost twice his age.

Hamzah Sheeraz, from Chadwick Road, knocked out 35-year-old Duane Green in the second round at the Copper Box Arena in Stratford, East London, on Saturday.

The 18-year-old’s opponent had never been knocked out before in a professional fight.

“I had about 250 other people coming down to watch me, to support me along the way,” said Hamzah.

He said although he was not expecting to end the fight so soon, he was always optimistic about a victory.

“I was expecting to win,” he added. “In every fight I always expect to win. You’ve got to go in with a winner’s mentality.”

Hamzah signed a professional contract with Frank Warren Promotions close to his birthday in May.

“I was out of the ring for nearly a year before that,” said Hamzah, who began boxing at eight.

“I was looking forward to getting back in there.”

The welterweight hit a slump in his amateur career after he failed to make it into the Commonwealth Youth Championships aged 17.

“To be honest it demotivated me a little bit,” he added.

But after a talk with trainer Lennie Butcher, Hamzah got the new-found confidence to go pro.

Hamzah, who trains in Illford, West London, is one of the youngest professional fighters in his weight class in the UK.

“It feels different,” he said. “When you’re an amateur you’re always fighting people the same age as you.

“In my first [professional] fight I was fighting a 35-year-old man, you can imagine how that feels at the time.”

Hamzah, whose uncle and grandfather were also boxers, says his family have been wholly supportive of the big step he has taken.

“Everyone backed me all the way. With the support I’ve got from the family, it can’t go wrong.”

He says he has ‘no regrets’ about dropping his electrician’s apprenticeship.

“I think it was the best decision I’ve made so far,” he added. “I’m loving it. I just want to take each step as it comes.”

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