Liam Williams believes he could have a shot at the WBO middleweight title fight against Demetrius Andrade if he defeats Andrew Robinson on Saturday.
The Welshman built up some impressive momentum before the coronavirus pandemic delayed his career. Williams will fight for the first time since December at the BT Sport Studio in east London, England.
Williams (22-2-1, 17 KOs), 28, makes a second defence of his British middleweight title against Andrew Robinson, hoping it will be the final hurdle to clear before challenging American Andrade for the WBO world crown.
“The Andrade fight was supposed to be my next one because I was the mandatory challenger, but COVID-19 has put a spanner in the works,” Williams told ESPN.
“But it doesn’t matter, I’m just trying to stay positive and active. I’m going to be defending my British title and that will make me happy.
“When the Andrade fight happens, it happens, I’m eager for it to happen but I’m young enough and fresh enough to wait for it because we are all in the same boat and there’s no point crying about it.”
Williams is from Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valley, Wales, but prepares for fights in Sheffield, England, at the famous Wincobank Gym which has produced the likes of Naseem Hamed and most recently Kell Brook.
Williams left Welsh trainer Gary Lockett for Dominic Ingle in 2018 and has produced six stoppage victories on the trot, after two defeats to Liam Smith in 2017.
Such form makes Williams one of the most improved boxers from the U.K. in the last year or so and he puts it down to a few things: “My trainer Dominic Ingle and the set up here in Sheffield was what I needed at the time, a fresh beginning,” Williams said.
“I got too comfortable in my own surroundings and I wasn’t making sacrifices so I needed a change and Dominic is a great trainer. There was also the move up in weight — I can still make light middle, but I’m performing at my best at middleweight.
“Being around the right people in the gym in Sheffield is also a factor, I’ve got added belief. I’m training alongside the likes of Kell Brook, a former world champion, Kid Galahad, Robbie Davies Jr. and Willy Hutchinson.
We’re all operating at a high level and we’re all chasing the same things, trying to reach our goals. It’s a good environment to be in.”
Williams, who worked as a roofer before concentrating fully on his boxing career aged 20, opted to box as soon as the opportunity arose, rather than waiting for when crowds are allowed to return to sports events in the U.K. which would generate larger revenue.
“We are all sound but it’s been a crappy time not getting any dates,” he said.
“You have to take it as it comes and I believe slowly it’s starting to come back, without crowds at the moment. For those boxers who are waiting for the crowds, you just don’t know how long you could be waiting for while there’s rising cases in certain areas.
They could be spiting themselves by choosing to wait rather than fight now without crowds. For me it’s good to keep active because it could go on for a while yet.”
Andrade might be Williams’ target for 2021, as long as he gets past Robinson (24-4-1, 7 KOs), but British rival Chris Eubank Jr. (29-2, 22 KOs) is also on his radar.
“Robinson is a decent all-round fighter but I believe in my ability and if I turn up it definitely doesn’t last the distance,” Williams added.
“But I can’t be looking over him because he’s a potential banana skin and he could ruin all my plans [for] the Andrade fight.
“The Eubank fight really appeals to me, it could be really interesting for the fans and I think it would be popular.
“I believe Frank reached out to his team, whoever they are, but it wasn’t to be right now but in the future I would love that fight. When I win a world title he will come knocking at my door and I will be ready to knock him out then.”