Liam Williams brings take-no-prisoners mentality to Hamzah Sheeraz showdown
Former middleweight title challenger Liam Williams is ready to breathe new life into his career when he faces rising star Hamzah Sheeraz at the Copper Box Arena, London, on Saturday.
Williams, who has won British titles at junior middleweight and middleweight, had been due to face Sheeraz last December before his rival pulled out with perforated eardrum, forcing the fight to be postponed by two months.
Instead, Williams marked time by stopping Florin Cardos in a round in late November, while waiting for Sheeraz. Prior to that, Williams hadn’t fought in a year but was ticking over in the gym.
“I was training non-stop for about a year before the last one, I wasn’t out of the gym too much,” Williams (25-4-1, 20 knockouts) told The Ring. “I had my little breaks here and there, but I was always fit. If I went on holiday, I was running and doing my bit. I’ve not been out of shape in a year. Even since the last fight I’ve only had four days out the gym because I knew this was coming.
“I was thinking about this, after the last fight, I said at ringside. I’ve been in the gym a long time, I could probably do with a couple of weeks off, stuff my face, have a couple of beers, just relax a little bit and reset. This fight was supposed to be originally in March. Ideally, that probably would have been better. I think they’ve seen that interview and gone, ‘Bang, we need to get him, so he can’t have that break that he feels he needs.’ And that’s what they’ve done [it] but it’s all good, I’m firing on all cylinders and I’m ready.”
The opportunity to face the well-regarded Sheeraz, The Ring’s No. 10-rated middleweight, has lit a spark under the Welshman, who has had two stay busy fights in the two years since his last meaningful fight when he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision against Chris Eubank Jr.
“It’s an exciting fight, I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, being back in one of these big fights which everyone is excited and really interested to see. I believe I should have been back here sooner but these things happen. It’s not always straight forward, I’m just really happy and glad to be back on the big stage.”
The 31-year-old wasn’t able to take much from the Cardos win but still looks upon the round of action as worthwhile.
“It was good to complete the camp, make weight, although it wasn’t championship weight, just going through the process and the ring walk, getting your hands wrapped,” he said.
Williams and Sheeraz exchanged barbs on Twitter/X a few years ago but there hasn’t any needle between the two in the buildup, just healthy respect.
“I’ve got nothing against him, he seems a nice bloke to be fair,” he said. “This is one of them fights I don’t need any nastiness. Don’t forget, I’m a bit older, I’ve grown up, I keep my cool a bit better. This is not one of them fights where I need to have any animosity or dislike for anybody because this is important for me, I need to win this fight and move on. I need to win this fight to keep my dream alive.”
Williams, who is back training with Gary Lockett in South Wales having trained in Sheffield with Dominic Ingle and London with Adam Booth, knows he’s not the A side but fully intends to make the most of this opportunity to put himself back in the big time.
“I rate him highly, I think he’s a good fighter, I would never look past someone of his level,” he said. “Also, on the other hand I fully believe I have the beating of him. I think I might have a little too much for him. Nevertheless, it’s going to be an exciting fight. It’s not going to be easy for either of us, whichever way the fight goes.
“Obviously, [my experience] will have a part to play but I’m not banking on experience to get me through the fight. I’m just banking on my skills being better than his, my heart, determination, grit. I just think I’m going to have more than him anyway, experience aside.
“The pressure is on him, I’ve been there before, I’ve been in big fights before. People can say what they want, I know what I’ve got left in the tank. I’ve had a couple of ups and downs but it’s all part of the process. I think I’m going to stop the guy, 100 percent. I fully plan to make a statement and take him out. I’m not taking any prisoners.”
Sheeraz (18-0, 14 KOs) turned professional in 2017. He won his first 13 contests and began to get some attention before initially struggling with Bradley Skeete before rallying to stop the wily veteran in nine rounds.
Since then, the 24-year-old puncher has steadily improved under the guidance of Ricky Funez in Los Angeles scoring four consecutive stoppage wins.
This is a step up for Sheeraz, one his team will be expecting him to make but it should be very interesting. Williams will come gunning for the favored Sheeraz and should tell us a little more about him and if he’s as good as he’s being touted to be.
Sheeraz-Williams, plus undercard bouts, will be broadcast on TNT Sports at 7:00 p.m. GMT
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].