Gary Lockett urges rising star Liam Williams to keep cool ahead of heated Gary Corcoran clash
Clydach Vale’s champion Liam Williams (14-0-1, 9KO) needs to keep a cool head against his red-hot rival Gary Corcoran (15-0, 6KO), according to the Welshman’s respected trainer Gary Lockett.
Last week, the super-welterweights traded insults and clashed during a press conference head-to-head at the new Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay, where they will meet to co-headline Frank Warren’s show on 16 July.
The bad feeling is likely to intensify when they meet with the British, Commonwealth and WBO Inter-Continental titles on the line in front of 3,500 fans, including more than 600 who Williams has directly sold tickets to.
Lockett, who challenged for world titles in 2008 and will arguably have the most important voice on the night, said: “What I’ve said to Liam is that Gary’s best chance is if Liam goes in there trying to hurt him. He could turn it scrappy then but if Liam boxes, the fight won’t go the distance.
“I just think, in my opinion, if Gary comes to fight, he’ll get beaten early. If he tries to box, he gets out-boxed and broken up down the stretch but Liam has to stay calm and keep control.”
Having managed the 24-year-old since his debut in November 2011 and trained him since September 2012, Lockett has forged a close-knit relationship with Williams. In that time, their strong bond has grown as ‘The Machine’ has progressed from four round level to an attraction alongside one of the world’s best, Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Williams has amassed a wealth of experiences in his 15 previous outings – including being cut, suffering severe injuries mid-fight and competing in a foreign country. The 16th installment of his professional career brings new challenges, like the need to publicise shows, and Lockett doesn’t think it will distract Williams.
Lockett said: “I don’t think he looked uncomfortable [during the verbal exchanges with Corcoran at the press conference], did he? He’s a fighter at heart, these things happen because they’re both confident in themselves.
“Gary fully believes in himself, thinks he’s going to win the fight and that Liam hasn’t fought anyone. Great, as long as he believes that, then it’s fantastic for us. All of it helps Liam to focus.”
As the end of Enzo Maccarinelli’s career seems close and Nick Blackwell’s has certainly come to an end, Williams has become the leading light of Lockett’s Gym at the modern U-Fit facility on Ocean Way in Cardiff. It’s a result of six impressive consecutive stoppage victories, though Carslaw doubted the quality of opposition during that run.
Lockett, who naturally disagreed, said: “Look at Kris Carslaw [WTKO2]. He has been the distance with Michel Soro and I know Brian Rose isn’t a puncher but he was tough in that fight, too. Liam dropped him in the first round and knocked him out with a jab in the second round. He did something twice to someone who has never been off his feet, surely that tells you something.”
Williams-Corcoran will also mark the second time that Lockett will find one of his boxers against the Peacock Gym’s Peter Stanley. The visiting trainer had half-jokingly suggested that there was an undercurrent of revenge to the fight, which dates back to Maccarinelli’s knock out of Ovill McKenzie in 2013.
Lockett, who dismissed any notion of a personal rivalry with Stanley and distanced himself from the sub-plot, said: “It’s nothing to do with the trainers, nothing at all. How is it a personal rivalry? Enzo knocked Ovill out cold in 11 rounds. What’s the got to do with Liam Williams and Gary Corcoran? It’s nothing to do with them, so there we are.”