Liam Williams Leads The Welsh Fighters Not Hoping For Peace At Christmas

Liam Williams Leads The Welsh Fighters Not Hoping For Peace At Christmas

By Rob Cole

Welsh boxers will have British titles in their sights over the Christmas and New Year periods with Church Village middleweight Liam Williams kicking-off the title chase this weekend in Manchester.

Williams has already been crowned British, Commonwealth and European Super Welterweight champion in the course of his 21 professional fights, but missed out on the interim WBO World crown last year when he was beaten by Liam Smith on a technical knock-out at the same MEN Arena he will return to on Saturday night.

Now he gets his chance to claim another British title when he goes up against the unbeaten Oldham middleweight Mark Heffron on the undercard of the Josh Warrington v Carl Frampton contest for the IBO World Featherweight title.

“Mark has been built up as a middleweight that everyone wants to avoid. I was left without a fight when Jay Metcalfe pulled out and so I said why not take him on,” said Williams, who is stepping up a weight category.

“I didn’t have a middleweight fight in my plans for another year or 18 months, but it was an attractive fight for me and it will be for the fans as well.

“Outside of his power, he is a quality boxer, but nothing I can’t deal with. It’s all about avoiding his big right or left hand shots.”

It will be the Welshman’s second fight out of the Dominic Ingle stable and he will go into the fight in confident mood having sparred with Billy Joe Saunders

“I’m loving training and boxing again. It has given me a new lease of life and it is doing great things for me mentally,” added Williams.

“Sparring with Billy Joe Saunders is harder than any fight I’ve had because of the ability he brings. He is at the next level because you can’t pin him down.

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“The Liam Smith fights made me an all-round more experienced fighter. It showed me how to handle the bigger stage when the lights are on you and the crowd is going mental.

“I was edgy and very nervous when I fought him and that’s what I think Mark is going through now fighting me.

“He didn’t have a lot to say in the press conference which makes me believe he is nervous.

“He hasn’t ever fought anyone at my level before so he’s got to be nervous. He has knock-out power, he is in great shape and he looks more like a model than a fighter, but we will see what he’s got in the tank come the night.

“I always had to lose a lot of weight to get down to light middleweight, so moving up will only benefit me because I think I will have a lot more in the tank. I will be just as heavy as him on fight night and I don’t think he will be any bigger than me.

“He’s had one or two decent wins and he’s obviously got some power. I think it is going to come down to who’s got more in the tank and who wants it more.”

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Saturday night’s dust up between Williams and Heffron has all the hallmarks of being a great fight between two highly talented and respected professionals.

For the 26-year-old Williams, it will be a chance to get over the two controversial defeats to Smith last year.

Smith failed to make the weight for their proposed world title fight and was therefore unable to claim the interim WBO World Super Welterweight title and the WBO mandatory status after Williams was forced to retire in the ninth.

Ahead on the scorecards until a head butt from Smith in the ninth round caused a nasty cut on his eyelid, Williams was pulled out of the fight by then trainer Gary Lockett.

Many people were unhappy with the decision of the fight and a rematch was set-up in Newcastle seven months later.

While Williams is hoping to bring the British Middleweight title back home to Wales, the British Lightweight crown could well be in the hands of a Welsh fighter in the New Year after the British Boxing Board of Control ordered Cardiff’s undefeated Joe Cordina and Blackwood’s Craig Evans to battle it out for a shot at the title.

Former Olympic and Commonwealth Games athlete, Cordina has already ripped through his first eight professional fights without any mishaps and currently holds the Commonwealth Lightweight and WBA International Lightweight titles. Evans, meanwhile, is the reigning WBO European champion.

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The two Welshmen have to meet by the end of April and whoever wins is likely to get the chance to challenge either the current champion, Lewis Ritson, or Andy Townend, who meets him in another bout that has to take place before the end of April.

Also in the mix at this weight is Treharris-based Gavin Gwynne, who is currently unbeaten after 10 fights.

Andrew Selby is the only current Welshman with a British title having captured the Flyweight belt.

He is looking to upgrade to become European champion in the New Year after Chris Sanigar’s bid to promote the fight against France’s unbeaten Vincent Legrand was accepted by the European Boxing Union, subject to a 6,500 Euro bond being put up.

The two unbeaten fighters were due to meet in April, but Selby was forced to withdraw with an injury. Legrand has 29 wins behind him.


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