BRADFORD boxer Hamed Ghaz admitted that he only wants to take on “live” fighters following the news that his scheduled bout in Oldham this weekend won’t go ahead.

It was confirmed in May that one of the world’s largest boxing companies, Maree Boxing, would be hosting two events at Oldham Sports Centre this summer, and Ghaz was set for his next bout this Saturday.

It was going to be his comeback fight after the Bradford star (18-1-0) suffered his first professional defeat back in February when he narrowly lost on points to Doncaster's Reece Mould in their English lightweight title contest in Rotherham.

However, after months of trying to find a suitable opponent for this Saturday’s Oldham showdown, Ghaz and his team eventually decided against attending the event.

The 27-year-old fighter admitted: “I couldn’t get a decent opponent and instead it would have just been another tick over fight, which is something that I don’t want anymore. I want a live opponent; someone that wants to win and has a winning record.

“Wanting a challenging opponent can sometimes bring difficulties in finding a bout and that is what happened on this occasion. I didn’t want to step in there with another journeyman.”

Ghaz believes the difficulties in finding a fight come from some boxers wanting to protect their careers.

He said: “There are a lot of opponents who don’t want to take any risks and they want to protect their records. Unless it’s on a big show like Sky Sports or BT, fighters won’t throw themselves into the deep end.

“On the other hand, I don’t look to take those easy fights. In my point of view, it’s about taking those fights that will help you learn and become a better boxer. There is only so much you can learn from fighting journeymen in every bout, and I know for sure that it won’t make me improve if I take them fights.”

Despite defeat in his last fight, Ghaz has managed to take great encouragement from the way he lost.

He said: “It’s made me motivated to achieve more to be honest. My opponent in that fight possessed a lot of quality. He was a previous English title holder and he’s also fought a great fight against Lee Wood, someone who is a world champion now.

“I was proud of myself that night. I managed to show the fans, my coaches and my family that I belong at a high level in this sport. It wasn’t a one-sided fight; it was very close. 

“Speaking to a number of people after the fight including Johnny Nelson (former British professional boxer), they said that they thought I’d actually won the fight.

“Despite losing the bout, I’ve reflected on that evening and I’ve realised that fighting at that level is where I’m at. It’s given me so much confidence to push on and continue looking for these big matchups. That’s the main reason why I didn’t settle for a smaller calibre fight this weekend.

“I learnt so much more from that one defeat than what I did in a handful of early fights in my professional career. I’ve done my apprenticeship and now I’m ready to take on anyone at lightweight.”

“Not fighting this weekend is only a small bump in the road for me. I said to my management team before this Oldham bout that I’d only fight if it was a 50/50 fight, and if someone was willing to put their record on the line.”

Looking ahead, Ghaz said: “Currently we don’t have any scheduled fights or anything in the pipeline, but I have been told by my manager that hopefully I’ll be fighting for another English title by the end of this year.

“So, fingers crossed that will happen. I’ll be in the gym working and hoping that any opportunity comes my way.”