Undefeated Birmingham featherweight Raza Hamza takes an overdue step up in opposition this month. After five years as a pro, the talented 27-year-old will face Mexico’s Alexander Cazares at the Hermitage Leisure Centre in Leicestershire on 29th March
The move up is long overdue. Hamza, a concussive puncher, is unbeaten in 15 but has yet to meet an opponent who poses a real threat. Cazares, aged 28, represents a sensible step to another level. He’s lost 11 of 27 but has never been stopped. And the super-bantam has mixed in good class. In December, he took Spain’s heavy-hitting former IBF super-bantam champ Kiko Martinez the distance.
According to Hamza: “This will be a big year. Everyone will know who I am. Those who haven’t seen me box, I have a few game plans up my sleeve. I can fight, I can box, I can move, all comes down to what mood I’m in on the day. But you can always expect fireworks.”
Raza Hamza might not be a name you recognise…yet. The young featherweight is set for a hell of a year on the boxing scene, with the fight against Cazares set to be just the first of many in 2020. If ambition and dedication count for anything he’s on a path to potential global success. With five British titles, three English titles and two Asia titles as an amateur, you wouldn’t bet against him.
Raza was not particularly inspired by academic subjects at junior school – where his photograph now hangs in the hall – but from an early age he excelled at two things: drama and PE. He first caught the boxing bug at secondary school, where his other passions for cricket and football – he is a keen fan of Aston Villa – gave way to a life in the boxing ring. Unlike many of his friends, who hung around on street corners smoking and causing mischief, Raza was urged by his mother to channel his energy in a positive way and so put on the gloves just like his hero Muhammad Ali. Each evening you would find him in the boxing gym, training and practising to become a real fighter.
When Raza was eleven, his mother was heading home from a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and called him to say she would be coming to see his first fight that evening, but tragedy struck. Raza was waiting in the lunch queue at school as he saw his uncle’s car draw up and learnt the devastating news that she had passed away. He knew that his mother would want him to fight that night, so he did it for her. It was his first victory and the applause in that social club still resonates to this day.
Training carried on in earnest, by now he was spending more time in the boxing clubs than at school, so he left at the age of fifteen and was selected by the renowned Hopwood Hall College in Middleton to complete his formal education (he received a distinction in Sports Science) and more importantly, continue boxing. Between 2009 and 2013 Raza won the tournament by defeating five opponents in a row and was by then 5-time national junior ABA and British champion in his weight group. A sixth win meant that he was now one of the most decorated boxers for his age and his house was filling up with trophies and other awards.
In 2014 Raza turned professional and spent six or seven months adjusting to the full-length bouts, selecting the right trainer and choosing the correct nutrition. His professional debut fight took place in 2015 and in 2017 he moved from Birmingham to Manchester, where he worked with trainer Haroon Headley for a year, before joining Max McCracken, whose brother Rob trains Anthony Joshua. In 2018 disaster struck again when Raza’s brother Amir Chaand died in a motorbike accident at the age of only 21.
Raza is now 15-0 and looking forward to fighting throughout 2020. His sights are firmly set on the world rankings; he hopes to be in the top fifteen by the end of the year. Away from the ring, he wants to set up a charitable foundation in his late brother’s name with several objectives in mind focusing on the well-being of young people. Despite his boyish good looks and slight frame, Raza is already 26 and even though he plans to continue honouring his mother by fighting for her, he also wants to leave a lasting legacy and is presently making exciting plans for the future
For tickets, send a message to @raza.hamza.boxer on Facebook