Explosive Sheeraz stops Williams in one

Hamzah Sheeraz made the biggest statement of his promising career by stopping Liam Williams inside a round.

The 24 year old had dropped his fellow middleweight twice at the Copper Box Arena in London, when after two minutes and 36 seconds Williams’ trainer Gary Lockett intervened.

Concerns had existed, pre-fight, about the 31-year-old Williams’ punch resistance. He had previously lost his biggest fights against Chris Eubank Jr, Demetrius Andrade and twice Liam Smith, but Sheeraz ultimately made him look old.

He dropped him first with a jab and then with an accurate right uppercut. When the Welshman returned to his feet the second time the compassionate Lockett shook his head to discourage him from fighting on. That he then withdrew his fighter when he was again under pressure and being hurt ultimately came as little surprise as well as appearing the correct call.

“He reminds me of Tommy Hearns, he’s probably got the best jab [around],” Sheeraz's promoter Frank Warren said, post-fight. “He doesn’t feel you out with it, he takes your head off.

“He's a thorough professional. I genuinely believe tonight a star is born. I believe he will win a world title and he will hold that title as long as he likes.

“There couldn’t be a better advertisement for boxing. He’s an absolute star. He represents modern Britain and he does it in a fantastic way.

“No one does that to Liam Williams. The way he handled it from the first jab, it was a magnificent performance.”

“Let’s have it – any 160 pounder put them in front of me and I’ll beat them,” the Commonwealth champion responded when asked about the unlikely fight with Eubank Jr that Warren had just mentioned.

"I'm honoured to share the ring with Liam Williams, someone I watched growing up.

"The game plan with Ricky [Funez, my trainer] is round by round. To base everything off my jab, my jab is my power shot as you saw.

"I had a lot of doubters going into this fight, it's part of the sport – that's how it is. I do my talking in the ring. When I get in here I entertain.”

Anthony Yarde had by then stopped Serbia’s Marko Nikolic inside three rounds. Sam Noakes had won the vacant British lightweight title by stopping Lewis Sylvester in four.