Liam Williams insists he’s unaffected by Patterson’s pull-out and Gorbics’ replacement; also feels ‘disrespected’ by Smith
Clydach Vale’s Liam Williams (15-0-1, 10KO) insists his focus hasn’t been affected by this week’s last minute switch-around.
The unbeaten 24-year-old will still headline Frank Warren’s show at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena tomorrow night but will now face Gabor Gorbics (22-4, 13KO), who has never been stopped inside-the-distance.
Gorbics, a former Slovak and Hungarian champion, will face Williams for the vacant WBO European super-welterweight title in a hastily arranged bout, live on BoxNation.
Williams, who weighed bang on the 11st limit, said: “I’ve obviously fully prepared and everything, I only knew about the change of opponent a few days ago. I’m fully motivated – if anything, I’m probably a bit more motivated because I get to win myself another belt and add one to the collection.
“I don’t want to go in there thinking he’s not as good as he is, getting caught off guard and I can’t see that happening, not at all. I haven’t watched one video of him. Well, I can’t find anything, so I don’t care. I’m just going to go in on Saturday night, fully ready and I’m experienced enough to deal with whatever he brings.”
It will be Gorbics’ first appearance in Britain but the unknown 29-year-old is well travelled having fought in five different countries. He competed as recently as last week, dropping a wide eight-round points decision to Russia’s Radzhab Butaev (4-0, 3KO), who was a high level amateur and won eight of nine outings in the World Series of Boxing [WSB].
‘The Machine’ was originally supposed to make a second defence of his British title but it was announced on Tuesday that challenger Ahmet Patterson (17-0, 7KO) was injured and forced to withdraw from the eagerly anticipated match-up.
Williams said: “Gary phoned me up and asked if I was sitting down. My honest reaction was, ‘F*** off – I know exactly what you’re gonna say’.
“I’m going in with the same mentality, expecting just as a hard fight. For all I know, it could be even harder. I didn’t believe Patterson was going to be a physically demanding fight, it was going to be technical.
“Just by looking at this guy [Gorbics], he looks like a solid unit, I’d probably expect him to come and have a bit more of a fight than Ahmet would’ve.”
The official line was that a gang randomly attacked Patterson and hit the 29-year-old with a brick as he was on a routine run. While Williams accepts the injury is legitimate, he’s slightly suspicious of the circumstances and unsure if the fight will be rescheduled in 2017.
He said: “I don’t doubt that it’s happened to Ahmet, I think he’s genuinely injured but I think there’s more to the story than he was just going on a night time run and getting hit in the face by a brick. I think there’s more to it than that.
“In my mind, I’ll move on but if the right opportunities don’t come up, it could happen again. It’s all got to make sense for everybody. I’ve got to have good money, good opportunities against the right opponent for it to be right for me.
“It’s not his fault that he’s been injured this way, though and I feel he probably does deserve another chance.”
Earlier this week, a press release was issued with domestic rival Liam Smith giving his thoughts on Williams. The Scouser wasn’t shy in stating his opinion that the Welshman is ‘overrated’, not the ‘massive one punch knockout artist they’re trying to convince people he is’ and has ‘far too much smoke got blown up his arse’.
In response, an unimpressed Williams said: “To be honest, I thought he [Smith] was a little bit disrespectful. You know, I’ve got a lot of time for Liam. When we’ve met face-to-face, he’s always been respectful to me and I’ve been respectful to him. He’s not like that in person.
“I just think he’s getting a little bit above his station. He just talks down about people a little bit and I don’t appreciate that. At the end of the day, I’m British champion, so I’m not to be overlooked.”
There’s been talk of a showdown for over two years but Smith has always insisted he’s above Williams, especially when he claimed the vacant WBO strap. After two low-key routine defences, he was dropped by Mexican star Saul Alvarez three times and eventually stopped in nine rounds.
Williams, who thinks the tides have now turned, said: “I’ve got a higher world ranking than him and I hold belts. What more do I need to say? Of course I’ve got more bargaining power than him.
“Six months ago when he was [WBO] champion, he wouldn’t have anyone mention me in the same breath as him and he’d go off on one, saying what right have I got. Now I’m above him, he’s saying he can fight me… he can get in line.”
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