British middleweight contender Hamzah Sheeraz has been handed the captain’s armband by promoter Frank Warren for the upcoming Queensberry-Matchroom “5 vs. 5” tournament playing as the undercard for Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on June 1.

“I didn’t even know, he just chose me,” Sheeraz told BoxingScene regarding his captaincy. “Literally, just before we got on the stage before the conference, he said, ‘You are the captain.’ I didn’t understand what the captain is, and what the role was. I only found out afterwards. But it’s all good. It was chucked on me, but I’m not complaining. Here we are, making things happen. I suppose it is not a bad thing. I can only take it in my stride and do the best I can, truly and honestly.

“There is a proudness to represent Queensberry as the captain and get the win, but I wouldn’t say I have to lead the way. Look, Nick has fought for world titles and achieved more than me in the sport. So I don’t want to sit here and come across as disrespectful to them. June 1 will be about me taking care of business, being serious, and we will get that ‘W.’ ‘The Big Drama Show,’ as GGG would put it.”

Sheeraz (19-0, 15 KOs) will face off with 16-0 American Austin “Ammo” Williams in Riyadh.

“He’s a fast, strong, young, hungry, explosive fighter,” Sheeraz said. “He’s never had a loss; neither have I. He’s young, hungry and fresh. This has all the ingredients for an exciting fight, to say the least. There are definitely going to be some ups and downs in there, but it is nothing I won’t be prepared for.”

Sheeraz, a towering 24-year-old, has been in red-hot form of late with a second-round stoppage against Dmytro Mytrofanov in Wroclaw, Poland, followed by a destructive first-round win over Liam Williams in February.

“It’s just through sheer hard work and determination,” Sheeraz said. “There is no secret or recipe. There are no certain foods I’ve taken to give me extra power or whatnot. It’s literally just putting my head down and doing what Ricky [Funez] and the team says. Doing everything right and just cracking on with things, being able to do what I do from a gym and take it to an actual fight situation. I’ve been able to make that switch and make that adjustment. That’s what makes good fighters great fighters.”

Sheeraz has had to watch from the stands as his teammates Nick Ball, Daniel Dubois and Zhilei Zhang have all enjoyed the lucrative purses from Turki Alalshikh, Saudi Arabia’s chairman of the General Entertainment Authority. But Sheeraz will now join the action in a month's time.

“Times are amazing, to say the least,” he said. “I’m absolutely blessed to be chosen to fight out there on such a historical event. A massive thank you to [Alalshikh] for making it happen and for making boxing great again – bringing big-time boxing back to what it should be. If you interview any fighter back in the day, they would say they want to fight at Madison Square Garden, and it used to be Las Vegas. Now it is Saudi Arabia with Riyadh.

“They know they can get us out there because it is where it is happening. The foreseeable future is out there – it is in Saudi Arabia. Everyone has this perception that it is not what it is, but when you go there it is actually amazing. I went out there for the [Anthony] Joshua-Francis Ngannou fight. I was ringside for that. It was an amazing experience. Listen, I was in the VIP booth just casually sitting next to Jose Mourinho like he’s my best mate. It was surreal, to say the least.” 

Sheeraz sits in first place for Janibek Alimkhanuly’s WBO title and is also in second place for Jermall Charlo’s WBC belt. If he can get through Williams, Sheeraz has world titles on the horizon.

“It will definitely happen,” he said “As long as I keep getting these wins and keep doing it in devastating fashion. This fight coming up is a WBC title eliminator, so the winner of this goes on to fight for that title. I understand I got bills to pay, let's not get it twisted, and I got mouths to feed. But at the same time, I wasn’t in this game as a young lad to make money. It was more to win world titles and achieve my dreams.”

The middleweight division has seen a generational divide with Gennadiy Golovkin’s retirement.

“Thank God,” Sheeraz said with a laugh. “A great fighter. He was someone I got a lot of inspiration from. The way he went about his business, he was very, very professional. He was never a trash talker. He would just go in there and knock people out. I took a lot of motivation and inspiration from him. Hopefully, one day I could meet him and get some tips.

“As a fighter, it’s the best division to be in because it is open and it is there for the taking. But in terms of public interest, it takes fighters like myself and Ammo Williams putting it on the line to bring the excitement back. I’m looking forward to June 1. We can hopefully bring that excitement back to the 160 division.”