EXCL! Liam Williams: “I feel hard done by but I have to accept it”
It was supposed to be the breakthrough night of Liam Williams’ (16-1-1, 11KO) career but he left the ring at the Manchester Arena with agonising disappointment.
The super-welterweight’s hopes of winning the WBO world Interim title were dashed when a head clash opened two severe lacerations that left his eyelid badly damaged.
Referee Terry O’Connor didn’t call the incident, ultimately costing Williams a Technical Decision win and cornerman Gary Lockett was the one forced to call an end to an absorbing nine round bruiser with Liverpool’s Liam Smith (25-1-1, 14KO).
In the changing room afterwards, the doctor ordered Williams to go straight to hospital for an immediate operation with a plastic surgery specialist.
Speaking exclusively to BoxingWales.com, Williams said: “I feel hard done by but I have to accept it for what it is, that’s boxing at the end of the day. It’s one of them sports when it can happen at any point. Y’know, I’m grown up enough not to cry over it. I’m obviously very disappointed but it’s boxing, stuff happens.
“I don’t think he [Terry O’Connor] purposely not called it, I think it was a genuine mistake. The cut was too bad to go on, I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I’m just disappointed.
“This is my worst cut. I have to have plastic surgery. I don’t know what that will include but I’ve just been told by the doctor I have to have plastic surgery tonight. We’re going to get to the hospital now and get it seen to.
“Very [painful]. I felt a sharp pain straight away. My right eye just went blank. I thought the ref, because it was such a blatant head butt, I thought the ref was going to call it and while I pulled my head away, I got hit with another two shots. That was disappointing but once again, stuff happens.”
For the first time in Williams’ six-year career, ‘The Machine’ was the subject of intense scrutiny from his opponent. Between Smith and his trainer Joe Gallagher, Williams was labeled a ‘lost little boy’ and a ‘control freak’.
The 24-year-old was intent on letting his performance do the talking as his response. His tactics worked with all three judges favouring Williams and it earned him plenty of plaudits.
Reflecting on the actual contest, Williams said: “I knew it was going to be tough but I knew I had the ability to outbox him. It was exactly how I planned. He was coming on strong but I was easily up. I would have held on and I believe I would’ve nicked a couple of the last rounds, as well.
“I worked well off the jab, quick counters and I was moving pretty well. I proved [to] a lot of people, I can box. It was just disappointing the way it ended.
“I’d love to get it [a rematch]. Whether Smith will want it again, I don’t know. It’s disappointing that he failed weight and stuff, which is disappointing for the fans.
“At the end of the day, we gave everyone what they expected, we gave them a good fight. I’m hoping to do it again when the cut heals. He got a cut himself, so we’ll see where we go from here now.”
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