White hot British and Commonwealth light-middleweight king Liam Williams claims challenger Gary Corcoran scored a huge own goal by attempting to rile him at the recent press conference to publicise their sizzling showdown set for Cardiff Ice Arena on July 16th, writes Glynn Evans.
Verbals almost disintegrated into violence when the pair went nose-to-nose for the obligatory stare-off for BoxNation TV cameras.
As skulls touched, Wembley puncher Corcoran attempted to drive the Welshman backwards and copped a clip on the cheek for his insolence.
‘First Corcoran tried to get clever and kiss the sides of my cheeks. Then he put his nut on me! I just shoved his face, he reacted and it kicked off a bit. He’ll regret that fight night,’ warns Williams who, like Corcoran, is unbeaten in 15.
‘He doesn’t get under my skin – I won’t allow that - but I do dislike him. He thinks far too much of himself and is very rude. There’s no respect.
‘I train hard for every fight but the ‘needle’ that’s developing for this one – which started on Twitter - is definitely giving me extra motivation. Winning this fight means even more. I definitely don’t intend losing to him.’
Nevertheless, the 24 year old champion from Clydach Vale in the Rhondda valley is far too savvy to overlook a contender who represents easily the stiffest test of his five year professional career.
‘Corcoran needs to learn some manners but I certainly respect him as a fighter,’ concedes Williams who recently became a father to daughter Myla.
‘He’s a pretty good all-rounder with a high work rate. He’ll come forward and he’s got big balls. He says he’ll meet me in the middle of the ring and scrap it out and I’m inclined to believe him. He’s plenty game.
‘But all this talk about his strength certainly doesn’t concern me and I can assure you he’ll not be bullying me in the clinches. I turned pro up at middleweight, Corcoran started out at light-welter a few years ago. I’m a naturally bigger, stronger man.
‘I’ll not allow the ‘niggle’ to deflect me from my game plan. Gary’s a professional too so I doubt it’ll affect him either. I’ll do whatever is needed to win the fight, box, fight, whatever.’
While the mammoth promotion is garnished by two world title fights – Cuban legend Guillermo Rigondeaux meets Jazza Dickens for the WBA super-bantam title while Terry Flanagan gambles his WBO lightweight gong against South Africa’s Mzonke Fana – it’s smooth boxing, hammer punching Williams who carries the burden of restoring big-time boxing to the Principality on his firmly chiselled shoulders.
‘Knowing it’s me the Welsh fans will be turning out to support, and the prospect of putting on a show for them, really excites me,’ he insists.
‘Even when I fight in Liverpool or Manchester – five or six hours away – I’ll take 250 fans with me and this time ‘fans’ have no reason not to turn up.
‘To be far, my door hasn’t stopped banging and already, two and a half weeks out, I’ve shifted over 850. I expect to have passed the thousand mark by the time the show comes and that means a hell of a lot to me.
‘There’s not been a really successful fighter from the Rhondda since (world heavyweight challenger) Tommy Farr back in the 1930s. Everybody seems really excited and is relying on me to bring the big shows back and push all of Welsh boxing forward. My promoters are delivering the right fights and paying me decent money so ‘Happy Days!’
Of course, a box-office bonanza will serve little purpose if the 5ft 10in Gary Lockett managed champ fails to retain his belts – and deliver a large dollop of stardust – against nemesis Corcoran. He knows there is no margin for error if he is to continue to drive the Welsh renaissance forward.
‘If I keep my mind straight, I just can’t see myself losing to him, I’m better in every department. Gary’s only hope is to apply constant pressure and hope I wilt. I won’t,’ he insists.
‘He attacks with mindless aggression and takes far too many risks. I’ll be picking him up off the floor. He’s getting knocked out!’