Liam Williams put himself right back in the frame for the big fights with a near punch-perfect performance against the previously unbeaten banger Mark Heffron in Manchester in December. In his latest Fighter Diary, ‘The Machine’ explains why there were no malfunctions on the night after a switch of training regime to Sheffield with Dominic Ingle and looks ahead to a defence of his British middleweight title against Joe Mullender at the Royal Albert Hall on March 8…
FIGHTER DIARY BY LIAM WILLIAMS
I WOULD PROBABLY say my last fight against Mark Heffron brought about a career-best display from myself and I thought I performed really well. Obviously fighting against Mark, who had an unbeaten record and a great KO percentage, makes it my best win on paper.
On top of that I still believe there is much more to come from me.
It was the perfect fight for both of us to make a statement because everybody respected the fight and loved it when the match was announced. There was a buzz about it and it captured the imagination of the fight public.
It obviously turned out to be a better fight for me than it did for him, but these fights should be made more often and people should stop worrying about losing unbeaten records. So credit to Mark for taking the fight.
As it turned out the fight wasn’t the close-run war that everyone thought it would be but I honestly felt, with my new camp and training methods, that everything was falling into place for me and it did.
I was hugely confident going in and obviously the weight wasn’t an issue, having moved up to middle for it, and everything was on point. Leading up to fight week, normally I am very grumpy and look at everyone like I want to kill them, but I was just happy and super-relaxed.
I just knew I wasn’t going to get beat.
He hardly managed to lay a glove on me and that is what we worked on in the gym. I kept saying I was coming for a tear-up and whatever, but that certainly wasn’t the plan.
To be honest, I would have been stupid to stand there and have a trade-off with Mark because he is a big puncher and has got the KO record he has for a reason, because he can whack!
Part of my success on the night was down to my footwork and I believe it has got better since teaming up with Dom, although I have always been decent. Certain things have been added to my game all round – including my footwork – but nothing major, just minor adjustments.
I must admit the old me would have ended up going to war with Mark, one hundred per cent. Even after five, six or seven rounds with finding it an easy fight, I probably would have gone toe-to-toe with him then just because I enjoy it.
I do feel I am getting a bit wiser now, so why take unnecessary punishment when I don’t need to.
I know people are going to ask the natural question about what weight I will move forward with and it has been answered – in the short term at least – with the news of me defending my British middleweight title against Joe Mullender at the Royal Albert Hall on March 8.
After that though, I am genuinely still interested in fights at light middle, it just depends and I could care a jot really because I just want the best fights. It is whatever makes the most sense.
Mullender will be a good fight for the fans and I am excited about it. He is not technically that great, but he is gutsy and game. He likes to fight on the inside to have a trade up, but if he does that against me I am probably going to chin him.
I think it is a good match up and it is ideal for me to get straight back in and keep my name at the forefront.
Going back to the Heffron fight, I have been asked why after being quite comfortable in each other’s company at the beginning of the build-up, things got a bit hostile between us.
It was just a case of it getting a bit closer to the fight and tensions do start to run a bit high. He started giving it a bit so I thought there was no way I was going to be friendly with him when he was trying to make a bit of a scene.
I knew I had the beating of him so I just put it out there and told him what I thought.
It has been said to me before that I probably need a bit of anger and emotion going into a fight and I think it switches me on. I bottled it up too much against Liam Smith and tried keeping it cool, but I got it right against Mark by not getting too angry and not being too calm.
These things are working for me and part of that is the relationship between me and Dom. We have got to know each other pretty well now and it is making a difference.
The sacrifice I am making by training up in Sheffield is paying dividends for me and I am back there now getting ready for the Mullender fight. Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t like being away. I like the training and I like the people, but I don’t like being away from home and don’t want to be here.
I tell everyone that I love it and I do love it for training and I know that it is the right thing for me to be doing, but I really want to be back home with my little girl and missus.
I am investing in my future and if I don’t put the work in nobody is going to do it for me. I have to make sacrifices to get to where I want to be.
You only get one shot at it. I didn’t want to reach retirement with regrets and wonder what might have happened if I’d went to Sheffield with Dom Ingle. I’d rather regret trying it than regret not trying it.
I am doing this to reach my goals and one million per cent I want to win a world title. I wouldn’t be involved if thought any different. The day I lose that ambition is the one I will decide to pack it in because boxing is too hard to settle for being an average man.
The British title showdown between Liam Williams and Joe Mullender is part of a huge night of boxing at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday March 8, where young heavyweight star Daniel Dubois will have his tenth professional fight against former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu and Nicola Adams challenges for the WBO world flyweight title against Mexico’s Arely Mucino. Archie Sharp defends his WBO European super featherweight title against the also unbeaten Lucas Ballingall, with British welterweight champion Johnny Garton also featuring on the card.
Tickets are priced from £40. A pre-sale open to members of the Royal Albert Hall’s Friends and Patrons scheme is open from noon on Thursday 17 January, with tickets on general sale from noon on Friday 18 January via RoyalAlbertHall.com TICKETS START FROM £40 GRAND TIER: £100 LOGGIA: £100 SECOND TIER: £75