Experienced Booth ready to enjoy Williams-Eubank and Wood-Conlan
Trainer Adam Booth insists his new charge Liam Williams won’t get caught up in the emotion of his grudge match with Chris Eubank this weekend.
Williams has been dubbed British boxing’s ‘angry man’ because of his short fuse and Eubank Jr has also labelled him ‘a dirty fighter.’
They meet on Saturday night at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena in a highly-anticipated middleweight fight that was rescheduled from December after Williams withdrew with an injury.
But Booth says Williams’s temperament could be a strength on fight night.
“He is experienced if you look at his record,” explained the coach, who Williams is working with for the first time. “He had a good amateur career as well and we know that Liam has this energy inside him, anger or hatred for the other fella, whatever you want to call it and we don’t want to lose that. That’s worth its weight in gold to have that energy inside you. Sometimes you’ve got to let it go, just as long as you know when you’ve got to stop it and if you need to change tact you can. We’ve discussed it and talked about the words I’ll use to encourage a different mindset because if he’s losing his rag and it’s working for him, I’m not cooling him off. If I think it’s not the time to release that but to be smart and cunning then we’ve had these conversations over and over again and I’m confident we’ll work the same way on fight night as we have in the gym.”
Williams has joined Booth having worked most recently with Sheffield coach Dominic Ingle and Adam, who has had Williams in to spar with his boxers, like George Groves and Josh Kelly, in the past, has been impressed with what he’s seen.
He’s also not sure that Williams has found adapting to his new training methods particularly difficult.
“I don’t know really, because all I’ve said is ‘Do this, do this and do this,’ and he does it,” Booth explained. “It doesn’t look like I’m really showing him anything new because everything we’ve worked on in this fight, he seems to pick up very quickly. Maybe there’s a couple of things we’ve added, in terms of executing things as part of a fight strategy, but obviously I’m not going to talk about those things.”
Booth is also busy preparing Michael Conlan for his WBA featherweight title fight with Leigh Wood in March and said the atmosphere in the gym has been electric.
“The energy in the gym is good,” he continued. “Mick and Liam have been bouncing off each other, constantly taking the piss out of each other. Liam did his last hard session in the gym last Friday so I paired him and Mick up together because they just bounce off each other.”
Conlan did a two-city press tour with Wood last week, and Booth thought that went well, too.
“He had fun with it,” the 53-year-old trainer continued. “I said before to go and have fun because it all means nothing at the end of the day. When the bell rings, it’s different. Just have fun. And what came out was his character. The Mick I know is what I saw in those press conferences; funny, spiteful, cheeky, quick-thinking, I thought he represented his character well.”
Conlan could become Booth’s fourth world champion, following in the footsteps of David Haye, Andy Lee and Ryan Burnett, but he rates Wood and knows his man has a tough champion who has paid his dues to overcome.
“Solid pro,” is how Booth described Wood. “Really solid, accomplished pro. Mentally and emotionally he’s been through the mill. He’s taken his licks. You know these fighters that get bashed up in the gym by good fighters over the years and all of a sudden they get stronger and start bashing up the fighters that used to bash them up, I think he’s got a genuine resolve and resilience. I think he’s technically capable, I don’t think he’s necessarily outstanding in one area but as a package, I think he’s well put together and he’s a test for any world class featherweight.”
And although Conlan is going to Wood’s hometown of Nottingham for the fight, Booth predicts the crowd could be evenly divided on fight night.
“I think the fight will be split,” Adam said. “It’s about a 9,000-seater and I think he [Michael] and [brother] Jamie [Conlan] have got about 3,500 tickets, so 3,500 dudes from Belfast and Dublin can make some noise!”
With Williams-Eubank and Conlan-Wood coming up close together, the mood in the gym is not only elevated but the coach is buzzing, too.
“I genuinely have a reignited enthusiasm every day getting to the gym because I’ve got a gym full of fighters who are capable and two of them in very big, competitive fights,” concluded Booth. “It’s why we do it. And, as I’m older, I’m a little bit slower and more experienced, I allow myself to enjoy it a bit more.”