By David Parsons
Liam Williams is at a career crossroads after a devastating first round loss to rising unbeaten middleweight star Hamzah Sheeraz on Saturday night.
Wales’ former world title challenger Williams was taken apart by Sheeraz who twice knocked the Clydach Vale fighter down in the opening round, before Williams’ trainer Gary Lockett wisely threw in the towel.
It was a fifth career defeat for Williams and leaves the 31-year-old with a lot to consider over his future after such a brutal setback at London’s Copper Box Arena.
Williams has now lost three of his last five fights and his inability to last a round must raise doubts over his remaining time at the top level.
His claim before the fight that Sheeraz’s handlers had picked the wrong guy was never remotely backed up during his few seconds in the ring.
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He was, though, beaten by a boxer who looks destined for a world title and was labelled as the “British Tommy Hearns” by promoter Frank Warren.
Sheeraz, 24, delivered on a promise to make a statement fight and said: “I had a lot of doubters going into this fight [who] thought I wasn’t able to keep up with this calibre of fighter.
“I do my talking in the ring. When I get in here, I entertain.”
Warren – who is guiding 24-year-old Sheeraz towards a likely world title shot next year, is keen for the Slough-based fighter to next meet Chris Eubank Junior.
Warren said: “Where did you read anywhere that that would happen?”
“Liam was prepared and he was strong. I spoke to Gary Lockett afterwards who said that the jab Sheeraz has got is phenomenal and that’s the key to it, he’s got a great jab.
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“It’s not just that he’s long and rangy, it’s the power behind it.
“He reminds me, he’s Britain’s Tommy Hearns, and I believe he can do things like Tommy Hearns did.
“I know he’ll win a world title. I don’t think he’s far off at all, I’d fancy him, I’d absolutely fancy him.
“I genuinely believe a star is born and I genuinely believe he will win a world title and hold that title for as long as he likes.”