Liam Williams’ deal to fight Demetrius Andrade doesn’t include rematch clause

Liam Williams’ deal to fight Demetrius Andrade doesn’t include rematch clause

By Dewi Powell: If Liam Williams (23-2-1, 18KO) beats America’s Demetrius Andrade (29-0, 18KO) and dethrones the WBO world champion, the middleweight from Clydach Vale will be free to pursue other opponents.

The 28-year-old has exclusively revealed that the deal he agreed to didn’t include a rematch clause. An announcement is imminent from Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, who plans to stage fight at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on Saturday 17 April, live on the DAZN streaming service.

Williams’ handlers, Queensberry Promotions and MTK Global, agreed a deal with Hearn the night before purse bids were due to be called at the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) offices in Cardiff on 10 February. WBO rules forbid rematch clauses for mandatory challenges that go to purse bids but Hearn would’ve been able to negotiate a rematch clause as both parties reached a deal prior to the deadline.

Whether it is a mark of Andrade’s confidence or an oversight remains to be answered. The challenger is pleased either way. Williams said: “Of course, it [the lack of a rematch clause] is a positive because when I beat him, I’m just going to roll off into the sunset with my belt and I can fight who I want. It doesn’t really matter either way because if I can beat him once, I can beat him twice, can’t I?

“It gives me a bit more freedom to do what I want and shop around a little bit. [I can] get some fights of my choice, bigger money fights and fights that interest people more, giving people what they want, rather than a rematch with Andrade.”

Williams endured months of delays and frustrating negotiations as 33-year-old Andrade petitioned and tried to position himself for a fight with boxing’s biggest names instead of his mandatory obligations. In the end, the Welshman was just happy to eventually get the deal over the line.

He said: “I just assumed it was going to go to bids as planned and then they come to me with a good offer… well, a reasonable offer [and] one that I was obviously willing to take. It was better to take it and get it done without any more hold ups.

“He’s three-time world champion for a reason. Obviously, he’s very good but this fight is the wrong time for him. It’s come at my time. I’m the wrong type of fight for him. He didn’t want to take the fight.

“I’m his mandatory, so it’s either take the fight or give up his belt and he doesn’t want to do that. He has been forced into the fight. If he had the option, he would’ve taken A, B or C before me. He doesn’t want it and that could be the deciding factor.”

Andrade persisted with a campaign of misinformation during the period of negotiation and it has even continued since the deal was agreed. Nicknamed ‘Boo Boo,’ Andrade has claimed that he’s 40lbs over the middleweight 160lbs limit, his next performance will be in predetermined wrestling entertainment against Baron Corbin and that he’s not been near a gym for months.

“He’s just trying to throw me off the scent and make me believe he’s taken his eye off the ball,” said Williams, who has found the act and mixed messages pretty unconvincing. “He really is full of shit. I think he’s a bit of a joker, to be honest. I don’t know if he’s trying to play mind games with me. If he is, they ain’t working and he’s in serious trouble. He’s a deluded idiot and I’m going to punch his face in.

“He was supposed to fight more recently than I was. I think he was only a week or two away from that fight [vs Dusty Hernandez-Harrison on 27 November at super-middleweight] when it was called off because his opponent had COVID. Him being a week or two away from a fight, he must’ve been in pretty good shape.”

Williams, monikered as ‘The Machine,’ isn’t known for being softly spoken. The former British and Commonwealth champion has frequently fuelled himself through forthright verbals with opponents. Williams has been priced as a 13/8 underdog in the UK and most observers in the USA expect him to be easily beaten by Andrade. The underdog label has provided further fuel to Williams’ fire as he prepares to face an unorthodox maverick southpaw.

“It gives me the fire and I want to prove people wrong,” he said. “I’ve probably enjoyed it a little bit more because I’m convinced I’m going to beat him. I’m very confident. It’s going to be even more rewarding in the end.

“I have enjoyed every bit of back and forth. Not that it’s been a great deal but every time there’s been a bit of talking involved, that keeps me motivated. It fires me up, especially when people write me off.

“I wouldn’t say I really dislike him. It’s just a case that I don’t understand him. He’s a strange bloke and he frustrates me a bit. He talks so much shit. I’m going to do everyone a favour by beating him and taking him off the map. They won’t have to watch his bullshit again.”

At the moment, Williams goes to Sheffield every Sunday evening to train at the Ingle Boxing Gym and he stays there until he comes home on Friday afternoons. On weekends, he fits in runs around the hilly Rhondda valleys and spends time with his pregnant partner, Carys, and daughter, Myla. The family will grow again in the summer as Carys is due to give birth to their son in May.

There are plans for Williams and his training team, which is headed by Dominic Ingle, to fly to America 14-17 days before the fight with Andrade. All travel plans are subject to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions but they’re eager to land stateside soon.

“[The fight is] five weeks tomorrow and I’m bang on,” said Williams. “You can never be in front of where you need to be but I’m in a good position weight wise and fitness wise.

“Dom’s always on it. He doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. Even if it means being away from the gym or his family for an extra week or two weeks, whatever it takes. He just does what he has to do to give yourself the best chance. Nothing else really matters to him, which is brilliant for me.

“Dom has a massive amount of experience. I’ve heard so many stories. I’ve just said, ‘Listen, you’re the boss when it comes to this stuff and if you want me there a month before, I’ll do whatever it takes’ and that’s it.”

Ingle has prepared a boxer to fight Andrade before. In 2018, he was training Billy Joe Saunders as he prepared to defend the WBO title in a mandatory defence. However, Saunders tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine in a random Voluntary Anti-Doping Association [VADA] urine test and he vacated the title when the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission refused to license him.

In reference to Ingle and the controversial events, Andrade said: “The drug king, right? The guy that gives people drugs, right?” in a recent interview with iFL TV’s Umar Ahmed. Williams, who has been enrolled with VADA for a number of years, believes it was just an attempt to annoy the duo.

“He’s trying to get a mental edge. He’s trying to piss me off and trying to piss Dom off. It’s just one of them things, it’s probably the right thing to do from his point of view to try and get a mental edge.

“Billy Joe is his own man and I’m my own man. I don’t really see how you can link us and try to put dirt on my name through him. It is what it is and it doesn’t really matter. If he feels he needs to get that edge over me, good luck to him.”

Image by Huw Fairclough.

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