Liam Williams has won six straight fights since losing a 12-round majority decision to former WBO junior middleweight champ Liam Smith.
Williams won each of those bouts by knockout or technical knockout. His last victim, Alantez Fox, went 12 rounds with Demetrius Andrade in a fight Fox lost by unanimous decision in October 2017.
Wales’ Williams floored Fox twice, once each in the fourth and fifth rounds, before winning by fifth-round TKO on December 21 at Copper Box Arena in London.
Promoter Eddie Hearn pointed out Williams’ recent run to Andrade during an Instagram Live interview Monday with the unbeaten WBO middleweight champ. Andrade, whom Williams likely will face next, didn’t appear particularly concerned.
“Yeah, you know, I think you said this last time against Luke Keeler, and we seen what ended up with that fight,” said Andrade, who stopped Ireland’s Keeler in the ninth round January 30 in Miami. “But listen, Liam Williams, [kudos] to him. I’m happy for whatever fighter, you know, climbing the charts, the ladder, and making they way to be able to fight for a championship title. And that’s what he proved to do, is get in the ring for a WBO shot with Demetrius Andrade, myself. And let’s go. It’s all good. Like, I’m not, you know, knocking anybody’s hustle. But he is not gonna be the one to stop this train.”
The WBO ordered negotiations to begin between representatives for Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs), a southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, and Williams (22-2-1, 17 KOs) on March 10. The sanctioning organization gave them 30 days to come to an agreement, or a purse bid would be ordered.
That mandate is on hold because bouts cannot be scheduled until the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
Williams is the WBO’s number two contender for Andrade’s championship, but it ordered Andrade to face Williams next because the WBO’s number one contender, Mexico’s Jaime Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs), isn’t interested in squaring off against Andrade in his next bout.
The 27-year-old Williams has lost only to Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs), who stopped him on cuts following the ninth round of their first fight in April 2017 in Manchester, England. Smith beat Williams on two scorecards in their immediate rematch seven months later in Newcastle, Wales (117-111, 116-112, 114-114).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.