MIAMI – Under normal circumstances, Eddie Hearn would hope to draw a sizable crowd for Demetrius Andrade’s next hometown fight.
The unbeaten WBO middleweight champion’s promoter would settle for whichever reasonable number of fans government officials in Rhode Island will allow for his upcoming title defense. Hearn informed BoxingScene.com that he intends to bring Andrade’s mandated title defense against Liam Williams to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Andrade’s hometown of Providence on April 17.
That date is firm for Andrade-Williams to headline a DAZN stream, but the site could change. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the home of Providence College’s men’s basketball team and the AHL’s Providence Bruins, is not currently hosting sporting events.
“I’d like to see it in Providence,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com. “But again, it depends what opens up. We’ll announce that fight next week. If we can’t do it in Providence, then we’ll come somewhere we can have fans. I don’t wanna go somewhere behind closed doors as we move out of the pandemic. We’ll do it where we can bring fans in, but hopefully we can do it in Providence.”
Hearn announced February 10 that his company, Matchroom Boxing, had reached an agreement with Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) and Wales’ Williams (23-2-1, 18 KOs). That enabled them to avoid a WBO purse bid scheduled for that day.
If Andrade-Williams lands in Providence, it’d mark the second time in his past three fights that Andrade would defend his WBO 160-pound crown at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The 33-year-old southpaw soundly defeated Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (29-2, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight in June 2019 at that venue.
Wherever they fight, Andrade will end a long layoff when he faces Williams. The 2008 U.S. Olympian hasn’t fought since he stopped Ireland’s Luke Keeler (17-3-1, 5 KOs) in January 2020 at Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami.
Williams knocked out England’s Andrew Robinson (24-5-1, 7 KOs) with a left hook to the body in the first round of his most recent bout, October 10 in Stratford, England. The 28-year-old Williams, the WBO’s second-ranked challenger for Andrade’s championship, has won seven straight fights by knockout or technical knockout since he dropped a 12-round majority decision to England’s Liam Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) in November 2017 in Newcastle, England.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.