Goossen's input has Sheeraz ready for test with Williams

Hamzah Sheeraz believes the “old-school ethics” of Los Angeles’ Tengoose Boxing Gym have prepared him to make a statement against Liam Williams.

The 24 year old on Saturday at London’s Copper Box Arena confronts his biggest test as a professional on the occasion of his 19th fight, and he recognises also that the experienced Williams poses a significant threat.

Their previous date of December 2 was postponed when the promising Sheeraz suffered a perforated ear drum, but he responded to that setback by returning to the gym in Van Nuys run by the hall-of-fame trainer Joe Goossen, where under his trainer Ricky Funez he believes he is on course for his biggest win.

Sheeraz impressed in August when stopping Dmytro Mytrofanov of Ukraine on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk-Daniel Dubois in Wroclaw, Poland. Wales’ Williams, 31, has come to be seen as the ideal test for his perceived potential, on account of the fact that he has ultimately lost when he has competed at world level, to Chris Eubank Jr, Demetrius Andrade, and twice to Liam Smith.

“As soon as you walk in that gym – it really has that hard work, old-school ethic to it,” Sheeraz told ProBox TV. “You’re hitting the bags and really using the heavy bag, not just looking good for social media but hitting the heavy bag to actually get fitter and get stronger. If you was to put it on social media it wouldn’t look too great, but in the fight it works. I really like the old-school ethics – [there’s] a lot of respect.

“There’s nothing [Funez] ain’t seen before, which is one of the reasons I chose to go there. The sparring’s great there; the weather’s great there; being able to run high in the mountains, so I’m blessed. 

“Joe Goossen is the guy that taught Ricky everything. He trains his fighters at the same time, so I’m very good friends with Joe and he also gives me advice around the gym. Who better than to get advice from Joe Goossen?

“One of the things [he told me] is to keep everything simple. That’s one of the ethos and ethics in the Tengoose gym – keep everything simple and work hard. That’s what makes everything happen. A lot of gyms nowadays, and especially fighters, overcomplicate things, so I’ve been told to keep everything simple and to work hard.

“It’s not only in the gym it’s around the world he’s got respect. As soon as you mention the name, even in the boxing world, it’s, ‘Oh, wow, the Hall-of-Fame coach Joe Goossen’, so I’m blessed to be able to meet him on a daily basis. The little things in life you really take for granted, but when you sit back and reflect on who he actually is and what he’s actually done, I’m honoured.”

Goossen has previously guided Sheeraz’s fellow Briton Amir Khan. He has also worked with, among others, the great Shane Mosley, Ryan Garcia, Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor.

“If he thinks I wasn’t any good he wouldn’t be letting Ricky waste his time,” Sheeraz continued. “He would have told him. Just from that you can tell a lot about what the man thinks; he wouldn’t be giving me advice as well if he thought he was wasting his time. 

“It’s a very honest gym. There’s no lies. If they believe you’re not going to get to the top they’ll tell you straight. That’s another good thing about that gym.

“I’ve sparred all over. Wild Card gym. Justin Fortune’s gym. Robert Garcia’s gym. I’ve been all over – that was my first few camps with Ricky, really testing my limits. For Ricky to see what I’m capable of and if I’ve really got it.”