Liam Williams learning big stage lessons ahead of Ahmet Patterson defence

Liam Williams learning big stage lessons ahead of Ahmet Patterson defence

Clydach Vale’s Liam Williams (15-0-1, 10KO) is adapting to becoming a star attraction of Welsh boxing and isn’t afraid to admit that lessons are still being learned.

A loyal and large fan base from the Rhondda valleys and wider South Wales area now follows the 24-year-old’s career. In July, it helped the British champion to headline the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay ahead of the two world title fights on the show.

Williams’ 11th round knockout of bitter rival Gary Corcoran in their badly tempered bout has persuaded promoter Frank Warren to return to the capital. The next show will be held at a larger venue, the 5000 capacity Motorpoint Arena, and ‘The Machine’ expects to handle the occasion in a more professional manner.

“The only thing you can’t prepare for is the atmosphere because you’re not going to fit thousands of people in the gym to watch you spar – all drinking and going crazy,” said Williams. “To be honest, I’ve taken the majority of positives from the fight and it was the best experience I’ve had in all my professional fights.

“I didn’t think it was great [the performance against Corcoran] but I obviously take positives and negatives from it. Next time, I need to up my game and become more controlled, keep my head a bit more. Y’know, I went more rounds and gained more experience of fighting under pressure. That was the main thing I learned from it, I need to keep my composure a lot better next time and not rise to the crowd going crazy. It’s not just about entertaining everyone, I’ve got to go in and do my own thing.

“I suppose each fight represents a new test every time. I’m sure I’ll cope with the occasion a lot better. I imagine my fan base will just grow and grow. I done well over a thousands tickets last time, I think it was about 1,200. This time, I’m hoping to top that and do 1,500 tickets. I know we’d all be happy with that.”

The task on Saturday 22 October will be London’s Ahmet Patterson (17-0, 7KO). It’s one of the highest quality matchups that can realistically be made for a domestic title and harder than some of the tasks Britain’s 14 world champions have chosen. Should Williams come through, he’ll be well prepared to progress to higher levels where he’s well ranked by the governing bodies [WBO #5, WBA #11, IBF #13, WBC #17].

Williams said: “I rate him [Patterson] very highly. He’s technically a lot better and has different strengths compared to my last fight with Corcoran. One is more technically sound and the other brings more work rate and seems stronger. It’s definitely a different test, I just need to keep my composure and use my brain, not leave my heart take over it.

“It’s all going to prove to help me in time. A different opponent every time and style is only going to head me in the right direction for the experience I need. It’s good and I’m always learning. Against Patterson, it’s my hardest fight and it’s going to be tricky. I need to up my game and perform very well.”

In camp with trainer Gary Lockett, who fought for two world titles in 2008, Williams will be studying and working hard to unlock Patterson’s complex style. It’s one not often seen on this side of the Atlantic Ocean and the defensive shell has seen the unbeaten visitor dominate a decent level of opposition, including Dale Miles, Chad Gaynor and Ryan Aston.

Observing how to combat his opponent’s skills, Williams said: “I expect him to come with his usual style really, which is effective. He’s obviously not easy to pin down, he’s a very good counterpuncher and he’s technically sound. I’m not going to be able to rush my work, fall in or swing wild. I have to be a lot more calculated in my performance this time. I’m sure when I need to step it up, I definitely will. I’ve got it all in the tank.

“I probably think they don’t realise how skilled I can be when I try. A lot of the time, I go in and feel like I’m overpowering these people, I’m too strong. The majority of them, I feel when I hit them clean, they’re going to go. Perhaps that’s not always the best way to go in to a fight, thinking like that but I know sometimes that I’m going to be too much for someone whether it’s two rounds, four or six. I just know that I’m going to get them.”

Until last year, Patterson has spent the majority of his professional career at the welterweight limit, while Williams turned over at middleweight. The Welshman is one of the largest operators at 154lbs, though isn’t reliant on it being the determining factor between the pair.

Williams said: “I believe I will have a size advantage but I’m not counting on that to play a part in the fight. I’m going to go in and I believe I’m going to beat him on skill, it don’t really matter too much on size. I always go in looking to make it a good fight and if I can stop him, I will but I’m happy to walk away with a points win if that’s what it comes to.

“I’ll be in his face. He won’t need to come looking for me, that’s for sure. This time I need to control myself a lot better and not rise to the occasion, go overboard and get wound up. I’ll stand my ground and be a lot better technically.”