By John Evans
The last time Boxingscene caught up with Steve Williams, the 28-year-old was gearing himself up for a crack at the British light welterweight title on the undercard of a David Price fight in Liverpool. Well, here we are four months later and after seeing his proposed challenge to Ashley Theophane aborted due to illness, the 12-1 (5) Williams is, again, gearing himself up for a crack at the British title on the undercard of a David Price fight. To add to the sense of déjà vu for the Scouser, his second crack at the domestic 10 stone title is also slated to take place on home turf.
“I’ve been quite lucky really for it to be back in Liverpool,” said Williams when speaking to BoxingScene. “I always knew I’d be first in line to fight [for the title] but I expected to have to go down to London. Frank [Maloney] won the bid and I’ve been told to get ready for October 13.
“It’s another David Price undercard and I never thought I’d get to box at the Echo Arena because it was always Frank Warren’s. Now Frank [Maloney] is in there with Boxnation, though, I might get the chance to fight in there more often.”
This time around, Williams will be facing the man who benefitted most from his late withdrawal in May. The unheralded Bristolian Darren Hamilton stepped in on 5 days notice and proceeded to wrest away the strangely lethargic Theophane’s crown. While it wasn’t exactly a fight of the year candidate, Hamilton, 12-2 (3), grabbed his opportunity with both hands. Williams is a laid back character, but even he must have been incredibly frustrated by the spectacle he witnessed that night.
“I was gutted watching it,” sighed Williams. “I had loads of people coming up to me saying that I’d have flattened him in there that night. I felt the same way really. It was hard to watch. I was surprised [with how Hamilton won the belt] because it was quite a boring fight to be honest. Not much happened. Theophane was happy to just stand back and give Hamilton space and that’s when he’s good. He had everything his own way.
“Ashley seems to talk a good fight, but he never seems to produce anything. At world level he’s a good survivor and is tough. Danny Garcia was green at the time they fought [Garcia won a split decision over Theophane in 2010] and is a much better fighter now. Ashley thinks it’d be the same now if he got in with him but whereas Garcia is a lot better, if anything Theophane seems to have gone backwards now.”
The fight with Williams will be Hamilton’s third consecutive bout to be staged in Liverpool. His major upset of Theophane at the famous Aintree racecourse was preceded by a minor upset of John Watson at the city’s Echo Arena. Although the Londoner has performed admirably to defy the odds twice, neither Theophane nor Watson fought with the ferocity Williams is promising.
“He looks tricky. I’ve watched him against John Watson and Theophane and both times he hasn’t looked to be doing anything special but he’s obviously awkward when you’re in there with him” says the former English champion.
“With my style of going forward all the time and cutting the ring down, I don’t think he’ll be able to do it. When he’s got the space he’s great but he’s not going to have that with me. It’s all down to seeing what he’s like under pressure really. We’re working on certain things which I won’t say now but it’s about being super fit really and I’ll add in a few different things.”
Williams is hoping to draw from the experience he gained from his most impressive performance to date and finally achieve his dream of wearing the prized Lonsdale belt. “It’s the same as it was going into the Karl Place fight [Williams stopped the previously unbeaten Place in two rounds last December]. I knew that I wasn’t going to fight him like any of his other opponents. He’d looked great until then.”