Liam Williams unfazed by Liam Smith’s verbal attacks ahead of grudge rematch

Liam Williams unfazed by Liam Smith’s verbal attacks ahead of grudge rematch

It’s four weekends until Clydach’s Liam Williams (16-1-1, 11KO) will attempt to avenge his only loss and he’s not got any patience left for Liverpool’s Liam Smith (25-1-1, 14KO).

Feelings between the super-welterweights barely receded after their war in April, which Smith won with a controversial stoppage [WTKO9] but the flames have undoubtedly intensified over recent weeks.

Much of the promotion by BoxNation and BT Sport has featured Smith’s repeated claims that Williams reaction to the severe double laceration of his right eyelid qualifies as a ‘quit’. The Welshman rejects the notion, still believing the injury to have been caused by a deliberate head butt and he refuses to take the bait.

25-year-old Williams said: “I’m trying to keep out of it, leave him crack on and do the talking, wind himself up. That’s all there is to it.

“Last time, he said he didn’t need to do it [trash talk] but this time, he’s trying to wind me up. So, it just goes to show he actually does need to pull something out of the bag this time, upset me and get me in to that sort of fight.

“I’m leaving him to do his thing and I’ll do my thing. I’ll be fully prepared and it’s going to be a different outcome.”

The show, hosted by Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, will take place at Newcastle’s Metro Arena on 11 November. The winner will become mandatory for the World Boxing Organisation title, which was once held by Smith and is now owned by Puerto Rican hero Miguel Cotto.

Smith, the third youngest of four brothers to win British titles, is undoubtedly taking a more forthright approach outside of the ring. However, Williams doesn’t believe his bitter rival or trainer Joe Gallagher can change his tactics when they meet inside the ring in a month’s time.

Williams, who holds the Lonsdale belt himself, said: “I don’t think he will [make adjustments]. He’s one dimensional, you know. There’s only so much anyone can change but I don’t think he can do it at all. He’s one dimensional… have you ever seen him do anything differently to what he does in the fight before? No. He’ll come with the same approach – hands up high, walk you down, break you down.”

At the time of the stoppage, Williams was ahead on all three of the judges’ scorecards, albeit by dubiously narrow margins. The eventful final round naturally led the post-fight narrative and ‘The Machine’ believes it disguises what unfolded in the eight previous sessions.

He said: “Everybody is shying away from what happened in the fight because of the weight issues and how the fight ended. It’s all concentrated on that and people aren’t taking any notice of what actually happened before all of that. Watch the fight back – I took him to school for the majority of the fight. People are not realising that.”

Many observers criticised referee Terry O’Connor’s handling of the action in the Manchester Arena, especially as he hadn’t noticed the head clash. Given the bad blood between Smith and Williams, there’s the obvious danger that the pair may bend the rules in the return.

Williams, who is wary of the potential, said: “It could be a rougher and more physical fight this time around. I’m prepared for that and that’s what I’m expecting but y’know there are obviously limits, boundaries and rules.

“None of us can break those limits because we’d get thrown out or disqualified. I think there will be a certain amount of roughness but only to a certain extent.”

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