“When I’m in camp I’m spending £300 a week, minimum.” A depleted Raza Hamza tells me after another set back in his young career, a reminder that outgoings should be taken into account too, making the task of earning in this cruel business even harder.
He continued; “I had a fight in April [last year] on a Frank Warren show and since then it’s been difficult. I moved up to Manchester to help with my career and I’ve had one fight since then and this recent postponement has just broke me.”
The postponement news will be that little bit harder to absorb due to the issue of it being neither Raza’s or his opponent, Lewis Pettitt’s at fault. The injury to Billy Joe Saunders’ hand caused the World Champion Middleweight and every other fighter on the undercard of his World Title fight against Martin Murray to be pushed back until June 23rd; the news coming to Hamza just 2 weeks away from fight night.
“The same thing happened in my last camp, so close to the fight for it to fade away, but this one has really hit me hard because I live away from home and sacrificed so much. I haven’t made a lot of money from fighting in the last 12 months and with my lifestyle, it’s really tough.”
Hearing the disappointment in Hamza’s voice, it makes you wonder how many boxers in this business have ever been at a stage in their career where they ask their self Is it worth it?. If I was to guess I’d say the majority. The only way to carry on, boxers need that fuel to keep the fire in their belly burning, that motivation to carry on;
“My mother gives me that motivation to carry on and try to be the champion I know I can become.”
The most important women in any bodies life, Raza’s taken away from him far too soon after a long battle with cancer when he was 12 years old. It was his mother who gave Raza the encouragement to first lace up the gloves and now after life, she still gives the now-25 year old the fuel he needs to carry on and succeed at the sweet science.
To make things tougher for Raza, a devoted Muslim, Ramadan approaches. The religious event which will see Hamza observe a month of fasting from May 15th up until the evening of June 14th; a lack of nutrition not ideal in preparation for the biggest fight of your career so far.
“I’m going to have to train through it [Ramadan] because I still need to provide for myself.” Says an assuring Raza Hamza, confident with succeeding the gruelling task ahead of him.
“At the end of the day I have been given a chance to get my name out there with the Lewis Pettit fight, can I afford to let this chance slip out of my hands? No I cant. It’s going to be a very tough camp but if there’s a will there’s a way and I will do everything I can to get through it.”
And being in the presence of an elite, pound for pound star boxer isn’t the worse way to kick off training camp.
“Jason [McClory] contacted me not long after I found out about my fight postponement and told me about the opportunity which I happily said yes to. They call Inoue the monster and its going to be an amazing experience.”
Naoya Inoue; the undefeated two-weight world champion from Japan. The task of finding Inoue outside a top ten pound-for-pound list would be a difficult one, will have Raza Hamza as a sparring partner for 2 weeks in preparation of his world title fight at Bantamweight against Jamie Mcdonnell.
“After being in the ring with Inoue for two weeks, hard sparring sessions, learning off of him, I’m going to be untouchable. I’ll be sparring one of the pound for pound best in the world, it’s an achievement in itself.
I’m going to go to Japan and make sure I leave a mark, I’m going to makes sure the last thing they say before I leave is ‘we need you to come back’. I’m not going out there to make up numbers, I’m going out there to show him I’m a great fighter.”
Follow Raza’s journey in Japan through his instagram- raza_hamza.
Raza Hamza vs Lewis Pettit is now scheduled for June 23rd at the o2 arena on the undercard of Billy Joe Saunders vs Martin Murray. For tickets, please contact Raza Hamza through his social media accounts or go to www.frankwarren.com.