Williams: I could beat Liam Smith but if you’re world champion, there’s no going back

Williams: I could beat Liam Smith but if you’re world champion, there’s no going back

Commonwealth champion Liam Williams (12-0-1, 7KO) believes he could beat WBO belt holder Liam Smith (21-0-1, 11KO) now but the Welshman doesn’t feel ready to be a world champion yet.

Earlier today, ‘The Machine’ weighed in [both boxers 10st 13lbs] to face Scotland’s super-welterweight Kris Carslaw (22-5, 5KO) for the vacant British title, while Smith defends his strap against the unbeaten but unknown Jimmy Kelly (16-0, 7KO) further up tomorrow’s bill at the Manchester Arena.

23-year-old Williams said: “I feel I could beat Liam Smith and become world champion but if you’re world champion, there’s no going back. You’ve got to move on and fight the big names who, to be totally honest with you, I don’t feel I’m ready for, not at this point.

“I definitely feel like I will be ready [to be world champion] at some point in the next year or two but it’s too soon for me now. I need experience, I’ve never been past eight rounds, there’s a lot more learning to do.”

“Beat Liam Smith and become world champion but you’ve got to move on then. Think who else is in the division like [Erislandy] Lara, [Saul Alvarez] Canelo and [Jermall] Charlo. There are obviously a lot of good fighters and you can’t underestimate them.”

After briefly sparring together at Amir Khan’s Gloves Gym in Bolton three years ago, a fight between the pair was first spoken about when Williams stopped the once beaten Ronnie Heffron in an eliminator for Smith’s British title in July 2014.

The British Boxing Board of Control [BBBoC] soon made the Clydach Vale native mandatory challenger for the Lord Lonsdale strap but injuries derailed his momentum. 27-year-old Smith moved on to win the vacant WBO title with a seventh round knockout of American John Thompson in September and has remained dismissive of a challenge from Williams.

Williams said: “He don’t like the fact that everyone’s saying that I’m coming for him or I’d beat him or whatever. Obviously, he’s a bit defensive and doesn’t like people mentioning my name to him because he feels I pose a threat to him.”

Smith, who is the first world champion from the city of Liverpool since former Steve Robinson opponent Paul Hodkinson in 1993, will co-headline Frank Warren’s ‘Xmas Cracker’ show on BoxNation (Sky Ch 456) and Williams will watch on with interest, especially as he beat Kelly 11-4 as amateurs in 2007.

He said: “I’m keeping an eye on both of them, they’re both possible fights for me down the line. I don’t think Jimmy Kelly’s going to beat Liam Smith, I think he’ll give him a pretty good fight. I just think, y’know, it’s one for down the line and a couple more wins, I could possibly fight Liam Smith then.

“I think I was a teenager [when he beat Kelly], maybe 15 or something like that. It was obviously a long time ago but it’s good to know I’ve still got the win over him, you know?”

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