Liam Williams says Las Vegas mini-camp has him ready for Liam Smith
Unbeaten junior middleweight Liam Williams will face domestic rival Liam Smith at the Manchester Arena, Manchester, with local bragging rights very much up for grabs.
The Frank Warren promotion dubbed “A New Era” begins at 7 P.M. (GMT) on BT Sport and BoxNation.
Usually, the 24-year-old Welshman prepares for his upcoming bouts at his manager/trainer Gary Lockett’s U-Fit gym in Cardiff. However, to help prepare for former WBO titleholder Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs), he decided he needed to take himself out of his comfort zone and decamped along with Lockett and stablemate Alex Hughes to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
“It was a thing I’ve always wanted to do for experience,” Williams (16-0-1, 11 knockouts) told RingTV.com. “I wanted to see how the American fighters trained and how the American fighters go about their business. I wanted to check everything out and get the experience.”
The three of them headed stateside on March 3 and stayed for two weeks. During that time they hooked up with venerable old sage Kenny Adams, trainer of 25 world champions.
“It’s been awesome, we’ve really enjoyed it, we’ve trained really hard,” he explained. “We’ve had a laugh and been with Kenny, he’s looked after us. I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience from it.”
Every morning at 6:30 a.m. Williams has gone for a run in the mountains before returning to relax and hit the gym in the afternoon. They visited four gyms and lapped up the experience.
During their time in Las Vegas, Williams has sparred on five occasions, notably with former Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas twice, up-and-coming Quatavious Cash twice and fringe 168-pounder Lanell Bellows.
According to Lockett those sessions filtered around town.
“We went over to the Top Rank gym the other day and Derrick Harmon (former light heavyweight title challenger) was there – Kenny used to train Harmon – I introduced him to Liam and he said, ‘I’ve heard of you from the Mayweather gym’. So people are talking about him.”
Williams arrived home on March 18 and acclimated himself back to British time.
He is happy with how everything went and is looking forward to showing how he’s enhanced his talent in Sin City, in his biggest fight to date.
“Yeah definitely,” he said. “I’ve not learned anything massive, just little things from Kenny and other fighters here. Overall the experience being away and being in the gyms, where everybody stands around the ring shouting and screaming, some would look at that as intimidating but that kind of stuff doesn’t bother me but was good to experience.”
Lockett is also pleased with how everything panned out.
“I said it’s been brilliant, very worthwhile,” the trainer said enthusiastically. “Liam is very much the kind of person that gets fed up quickly, so training back at home, it gets monotonous for him so that was the idea coming over here and breaking things up and he’s had some good sparring. It’s gone fantastic.”
His other young fighter, Hughes (9-0, 3 KOs) also enjoyed high class sparring with the likes of world ranked J’Leon Love, Bellows as well as a couple of youngsters at the Mayweather gym.
The experience has clearly benefited him ahead of his next bout scheduled for April 22 in Leicester.
“(I) Felt the trip benefited me in every way possible really,” Hughes said. “Going around the different gyms and sparring all those different people was really tough. Especially the Mayweather gym, was more of a fight night scene in there than sparring.”