After suffering back-to-back defeats at the hands of domestic rival Liam Smith in 2017, Liam Williams has bounced back in an enviable manner. The 27-year-old is currently enduring a white-hot run of form under the tutelage of Dominic Ingle, having upped sticks and headed Sheffield-bound just over a year ago.
Ahead of his WBC Silver middleweight title charge against Karim Achour as part of the Dubois-Gorman bill on Saturday evening, any talk of retirement sits a world away from ‘The Machine’. As the two-weight British champion tells Boxing Social, however, things could have panned out all so differently had he not re-evaluated his situation.
“I was in a position [after the Smith rematch] where I wasn’t enjoying boxing anymore,” Williams said. “I didn’t like boxing, and I didn’t really want to do it anymore. That’s all I know though – I don’t do anything else.
“Dom Ingle has turned my career around. He is a special individual. He knows everything about everything. He’s a breath of fresh air, and he’s good to be around. He always talks 100% sense. I can’t fault one thing about him. Moving away from Wales was a good move for me.
“If I hadn’t, I’d probably still be in smaller fights, because I wouldn’t be as motivated. It wouldn’t surprise me that if I hadn’t gone with Dom I may have even ended up boxing off. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. There’s more to life than boxing. It’s hard enough when you’re enjoying it. Going through that graft and getting punched in the face regularly isn’t a nice thing.”
Rejuvenated and back to winning ways after picking up a brace of stoppage victories in Cardiff, Williams returned to the big stage as the betting underdog back in December on the Warrington-Frampton bill. The Welshman took on the then-unbeaten Mark Heffron for the British middleweight title – having made the decision to move up from 154lbs.
Following a well-rounded showing against the much-favoured Heffron, Williams closed the show in the 10th round – thus crowning himself a two-weight winner of the Lonsdale belt.
After then successfully defending his new title against Joe Mullender in March with his fourth straight stoppage win, bigger prizes were on the mind for ‘The Machine’, who has firmly set his sights on mixing it with the world’s elite – whether at 154 or 160lbs. He said:
“I want to win a world title first and foremost. I know I’m stronger and I punch harder up at middleweight. I can still make light middle if I want to though. For now, I’ll stay at this weight – more opportunities seem to be coming.
“If the right fight comes though, you could see me drop back down. It’s not even down to what’s the easiest route to a world title. It’s about getting the best fights, at the best times in the best places.
“At middleweight, I’d love to fight Golovkin. That’s the honest truth. I’d love to take him on. Why not? He just fought Steve Rolls. I believe I’m a better fighter than Rolls, and I’ve got a better world ranking. I’d love to have a crack at him. Any big fight with rankings or belts on the line – I’ll take them on.”
All talk of blockbuster world title showdowns will be put on ice, however, if Williams fails to overcome the teak-tough Karim Achour (27-5-3, 4 KO’s) in London this weekend. The France-based Achour has gone the full distance with the likes of Martin Murray and the hard-hitting David Lemieux during a lengthy career, and arrives in the UK hopeful of stealing the show at the O2 Arena. With a WBC Silver title on the line, a #3 world ranking provides added incentive ahead of their scheduled twelve-round clash.
“Achour is very tough and durable. He’ll definitely come to fight and win,” Williams said. “If I get drawn into his fight, it could become difficult. You can expect a nice, clean-cut performance from me.
“I’m not going in there looking to knock him out, but I believe I will eventually become the first person to take him out. It is [important] to win this and get a world ranking. If I do, I believe I’ll be ranked at #3 by the WBC at Middleweight.”
Liam Williams vs Karim Achour comes as part of a big night action at London’s O2 Arena on July 13. Elsewhere on the bill, ‘The Juggernaut’ Joe Joyce (9-0) takes on the experienced Bryant Jennings (24-3), while Super Flyweight up-and-comer Sunny Edwards (11-0) takes on Hiram Gallardo (12-2-2) for the IBF International title. The main event sees unbeaten British heavyweights Daniel Dubois (11-0) and Nathan Gorman (16-0) meet for the vacant British title.