Liam Williams gave Demetrius Andrade a tougher fight than it initially seemed he would Saturday, but Andrade fended off the determined Welshman.
Andrade defeated Williams by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for Andrade’s WBO middleweight title. Judges Gerardo Martinez (116-111), Benoit Roussel (118-109) and Roark Young (118-109) credited the left-handed Andrade for defeating Williams in DAZN’s main event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The undefeated Andrade dropped Williams in the second round and appeared well on his way to an easy, early victory. A gritty Williams was able to withstand that trouble and made this a rough, physical fight by relentlessly pressuring Andrade, who still won comfortably on all three scorecards.
“I’ve gotta go back there and look at, you know, what I did on the replay,” Andrade told DAZN’s Chris Mannix during his post-fight interview. “But listen, Liam Williams, hell of a fighter. Tough, strong, he comes to fight, and that’s the type of fight that people wanted to see me in. That’s what we did. I showed out. I performed the way I needed to perform to get the ‘W,’ but my hat goes off to Williams all day.”
Andrade, of Providence, Rhode Island, improved to 30-0 (18 KOs). The second-ranked Williams (23-3-1, 18 KOs), of the Clydach Vale, Wales, was the mandatory challenger for Andrade’s title because the WBO’s number one contender, Mexico’s Jaime Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs), turned down a shot at Andrade’s title.
Andrade, 33, successfully defended his WBO 160-pound championship for the fourth time since he won it in October 2018. The former WBA and WBO 154-pound champion fought for the first time since he stopped Ireland’s Luke Keeler (17-3-1, 5 KOs) in the ninth round in January 2020 at Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami.
Andrade also ended Williams’ seven-fight winning streak. Williams, 28, lost for the first time since England’s Liam Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) defeated him by majority decision in their 12-round rematch in November 2017 in Newcastle, England.
“Demetrius is a very good fighter,” Williams said. “He’s better than I thought, to be honest with you. He’s more slippery than he appears, you know, on TV and stuff. So, yeah, I couldn’t really get going in terms of, you know, landing shots and getting my combinations off. I hurt him a couple of times, I feel, but you know, he was gone before I knew it and couldn’t capitalize on it.
Andrade appeared to buckle Williams’ legs with a left hand that landed just before the midway mark of the final round. Williams tackled Andrade to the canvas a few seconds later.
Andrade cracked Williams with a straight left after the halfway point of the 11th round. Andrade then fired a four-punch combination at Williams while they boxed in the center of the ring.
Andrade slipped another right uppercut through Williams’ guard with just under 1:50 to go in the 10th round. The champion continued to box and move off his back foot in that 10th round.
A straight right by Williams made Andrade clinch 35 seconds into the ninth round. Another straight right hand by Williams appeared to hurt Andrade with just over 1:10 to go in that ninth round.
Andrade leaned into the ropes and held Williams again to prevent him from following up on that shot.
Williams didn’t land many clean punches during the eighth round, but he was busier than Andrade in those three minutes. Andrade drilled Williams with a straight left to the body in the eighth round, though.
Williams’ straight right hand made Andrade hold him with just under a minute to go in the seventh round. Toward the end of the seventh round, however, Andrade wobbled Williams with yet another right uppercut.
Andrade turned his opponent and nailed Williams with a left hand to the side of his head with about a minute remaining in the sixth round. Several seconds later, Andrade blasted Williams with another right uppercut that made Williams move away from him.
Andrade nailed Williams with a right uppercut and then connected with a left uppercut about 1:10 into the fifth round. Andrade and Williams went tumbling into the ropes with about 30 seconds to go in that fifth round.
Williams tried to rough up Andrade in the fourth round and backed him into the ropes several times. Williams’ right hand snapped back Andrade’s head with just under a minute to go in the fourth round.
Williams held Andrade numerous times during the first 90 seconds of the third round, but the challenger still was busier in that round. Williams drilled Andrade with a short right hand with just over a minute remaining in the third round.
Andrade buzzed Williams again with a right uppercut that connected about 1:05 into the second round. A straight left hand by Andrade sent Williams to the canvas with 31 seconds to go in the second round.
Williams barely beat referee Roberto Ramirez Jr.’s count when he finally reached his feet.
Andrade rocked Williams with a left-right-left combination that wobbled Williams just 30 seconds into their bout. Andrade attacked Williams, but Williams tied him up and bought enough time to prevent Andrade from landing another hard punch in that sequence.
An overhand left by Andrade landed flush just before the combination that hurt Williams in the opening round.
The rugged Williams continued to take Andrade’s hard shots for 11 more rounds.
“He’s tough,” Andrade said. “He came here to win. I’m not fighting anybody that’s coming to lay down because they get put down or they get hit with hard shots. I got hit with some hard shots, too. But at the end of the day, we both showed that we’re tough fighters, we wanna be here, and that’s what you get. You get a dogfight. You get two people that’s willing to take shots and give shots. So, Liam Williams is that. I am that myself. And so, that’s what the people wanted to see, so we did it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.