Liam Williams is in for an exciting next two years after rediscovering his love for the sport, according to his trainer, Dominic Ingle.
He switched trainers from Gary Lockett to Ingle on the back of his second defeat to Liam Smith in 2017 and Ingle believes that moving away from his home in South Wales for training has helped the 27-year-old concentrate on his boxing.
The British middleweight has jumped up to No 2 in the WBO rankings on the back of his destruction of Alantez Fox last month, the best win of his career and now is hoping for a world title shot in the next six months.
He has relocated to Sheffield five days a week. He has listened, he has enjoyed training and he sticks to the plan,” Ingle said. “It has been a joy to train him.”
“It was probably the best performance of his career, he has probably made the easiest work out of fights he ever has and that is down to listening.”
He first experienced the famed Wincobank gym as a sparring partner.
“He came up to spar Kell Brook for Gennady Golovkin (in 2016) and I was impressed with him,” Ingle said. “He was only young but he didn’t look young. But he gave Kell a good spar. He came down a few times with Gary Lockett and I thought ‘he is a good kid’.
“He got beaten by Liam Smith and when I spoke to him he said ‘I wasn’t motivated, I didn’t care’. There could be a lot of reasons. The more you come across fighters, you realise it is an emotional see-saw with them, keeping them positive all the time.”
The partnership didn’t get off to the greatest of starts.
“His first fight with us was a small show in Wales, he was on a ticket deal and everything went wrong,” Ingle said. “His opponent came in, pulled out, they found another guy who was divisions above, the ambulance was sent to hospital and he was 1½ hours delayed getting to the ring. I thought he would flip in a minute.
“He got in the ring, clipped the kid and the ropes snapped. They tied them back together against and I told him he had about 30 seconds, ‘get this kid out of here or it will be abandoned’. He ran out, hit him with a body shot, he fell into the ropes, they snapped again and the referee counted him out.
“Afterwards he said ‘I’ve made nothing in this fight, I’m embarrassed, I can’t even pay you’. I went ‘don’t worry about that, in less than 18 months you are going to be on the top of your game, you will look at this night and laugh’.”
He beat Mark Heffron next to claim the British title, followed by two quick wins before he was offered the chance to face Fox, the 6ft 5in American, who was rated No 1 by the WBO.
“When they offered him the fight, he showed me,” Ingle said. “I said ‘it’s not great money, but you have been in camp so long, you are so good on your weight, your sparring and training is so sharp, I said take the fight, it is worth the gamble’.
“Fox is 6ft 5in, the wrong height for a middleweight and he doesn’t fight like Thomas Hearns, he jabs and steps in, he can work on the inside, but he doesn’t really need to. I thought that would be his downfall.
“Liam stuck to the gameplan and what a performance it was. He never gave the guy time to get going. He chopped him down, he was menacing, he was vicious, he was exciting and I am so pleased for him. He is where he should be now. Maybe in the past he hasn’t listened to Gary, but now he is a plan in his mind and he takes what he does in sparring into the ring.”
“Liam is hopefully going to stick to the plan. The next two years are going to be good for him.”