LIAM WILLIAMS IS in full agreement with the thinking that jumping up a weight to take on a knockout artist who nobody else fancied fighting is the sort of challenge that presses his buttons.
Former British, Commonwealth and WBO European super welterweight champion Williams bids to become a two-weight British champion on December 22 at the Manchester Arena when he faces Mark Heffron for the vacant title as chief support to Josh Warrington defending his IBF world featherweight title against two-weight world champion Carl Frampton.
It is match-up that has got fight fans licking their lips in anticipation and the prospect of trading leather with the destructive Heffron – 17KOs from his 21 unbeaten professional fights – is something that stirs the juices of the 26-year-old from the South Wales Valleys.
“Yes! Definitely, it is exciting and as soon as the fight was offered to me, for all of ten seconds, I wondered if he was too big for me,” recalled the 18-2-1 Williams, whose only defeats came against former world champion Liam Smith in an epic double-header.
“He has come down from super middle and then I thought ‘no he isn’t’ because on fight night I am very big for the weight and in all honesty when I stood in front of him I felt I was the bigger man.
“Whether it looked that way to others, I don’t know, but looking at him I thought I was stronger.”
While Williams will insist size doesn’t matter when it comes to jumping up a division, the fact is he is happy to roll the dice and gamble anyway because he is past the point of self-preservation or looking to pad a record
“I couldn’t care less,” he pointed out. “I don’t want to lose and I really don’t think I’m going to lose, but I’m not protecting nothing. I took those Smith fights quite early on compared to what people thought I would.
“It was never a massive thing for me, protecting an unbeaten record. It looks good on paper but, when you get in there with someone who is a real fighter, it is going to show anyway. So you might as well throw yourself in and be in a couple of tough fights before pushing onto the next level.”
Williams, meanwhile, confessed that affording himself some extra poundage is an option that has crossed his mind in the past when he has been striving hard to make super welterweight.
“I had thoughts. I didn’t need to because I can make the weight, but it is a struggle and anyone who looks at me will know it is hard to make light middle. It is do-able as long as I do it the right way and in a healthy way.
“So I wasn’t really thinking about it, but this offer made sense really and why wouldn’t I take it?” he questioned, before admitting that, should he be successful, there will a temptation to stick at 160lbs.
“Yeah it will be difficult to resist but it is about what is offered to me and I feel like I want to push on now. I didn’t really want to fight for the British title, with all respect to the title and I love it, but I planned on moving forward to a European title or fringe world level opponents to get myself into the mix.
“Then this was offered to me and it is a great fight. Mark is a good fighter, take nothing away from him, so it makes perfect sense. It is going to be a quality fight.”
IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington takes on former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton at the Manchester Arena on December 22nd live on BT Sport Box Office. Mark Heffron and Liam Williams contest the vacant British middleweight title and Belfast’s blue chip featherweight prospect Michael Conlan (9-0) takes on former commonwealth champion Jason Cunningham (24-5). In a step up, Nathan Gorman puts his undefeated record and WBC International Silver Heavyweight Title on the line against former World Title challenger Alex Leapai, while Martin Murray defends his WBC Silver middleweight title against Hassan N’Dam. Tyson Fury’s younger brother Tommy Fury also makes his professional debut.
Elsewhere on the bill. World flyweight title challenger Paddy Barnes (5-1) and unbeaten Light Heavyweight contender Steven Ward (9-0) return to action. Manchester’s 12-0 Light Heavyweight Lyndon Arthur and 7-0 Darlington middleweight Troy Williamson also return.
Tickets are priced at £50 Upper Tier, £80 Tier, £100 Tier, £150 Tier, £200 Floor/Tier, £300 Floor, £400 Floor, £600 Inner Ring VIP Hospitality and are available.