Liam Williams (23-2-1, KO18) has long been courting a showdown with Demetrius Andrade (29-0, KO18), and the Welshman finally gets his wish this Saturday night with Andrade’s WBO middleweight title the prize on offer.
Clydach Vale’s Willliams has come on in leaps and bounds since a move to middleweight, after a pair of spirited losses to Liam Smith in 2017 at super welterweight, a weight where he reigned as British and Commonwealth champion.
Since those defeats to the Liverpudlian, ‘The Machine’ has had seven wins on the spin, and has paired winning and defending the British title, with ranking building wins with the governing bodies against decent opposition.
The second half of 2019 saw Williams win vacant WBC and WBO trinkets with impressive stoppages of Karim Achour (TKO2) and Alantez Fox (TKO5) respectively.
Last out in October 2020, taking less than a minute and a half to dispose of Andrew Robinson in a second defence of the Lonsdale Belt.
Andrade has been in some danger of going stale for some time, and although undefeated, his style hasn’t won him many admirers, or opponents banging his door down to fight.
A former WBO and WBA champion at 154lbs, Andrade moved up in weight in October 2017, and was dropped by the aforementioned Alantez Fox on his middleweight debut, before taking a wide points win.
Next up should have been Billy Joe Saunders, but the Hatfield man was involved in a banned substance controversy, and their fight was canned at late notice.
In stepped Walter Kautondokwa to contest the WBO title that Saunders had to vacate, and Andrade thrashed the Namibian on the scorecards.
Three uninspiring defences have followed for the 33-year-old, with a last round stoppage of Artur Akavov and shutout points win against Macej Sulecki preceding his most recent appearance, a January 2020 ninth round stoppage of overwhelmed Irishman, Luke Keeler.
Prediction: Williams has thrived under new trainer, Dominic Ingle, and he is in the shape and form of his life ahead of his clash with Andrade.
Demetrius is tall and awkward, and he has made many a fighter look bad with his rangy way of operating.
My gut feeling is that Williams may have early success, but will ultimately be frustrated as Andrade gets into a rhythm, and I think the champion will retain by pulling away down the stretch for a points win.
At super middleweight, Ecuadorian banger, Carlos Gongora (19-0, KO14), makes the first defence of the IBO title that he dramatically won last time out, as he takes on Ohio’s Christopher Pearson (17-2, KO12), who steps up from middleweight.
Gongora took a thrilling last round knockout win against the much fancied Ali Akhmedov to claim the vacant belt back in December 2020, and the 31-year-old now gets what should a straightforward assignment against Pearson.
Pearson has been absent from the ring since May 2019, when he won the vacant WBC Latino belt at middleweight in a close run points win against Yamaguchi Falcao, and he shouldn’t pose too many problems for Gongora, who should seal victory in the first half of the contest.
Heavyweight prospect, Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0, KO3) continues his fledgling professional career, and the 2012 Olympic Bronze Medallist meets experienced Russian, Andrey Fedosov (31-3, KO25) over a scheduled 12 rounds. Majodov can show his class, and halt Fedosov early here.
Talented lightweight, Otha Jones III (5-0-1, KO2) was surprisingly held to a draw over six against Kevin Mendoza last time out, but can bounce back to outscore Jorge David Castaneda (13-1, KO11) over eight.
At super lightweight, Movladdin Biyarslalov (7-0, KO6) can halt Israel Mercado (9-0, KO7) in a battle of unbeatens set for eight, while also in the ten stone division, Aaron Aponte (2-0, KO1) will likely need the full four rounds to see off the never previously stopped Javier Martinez (4-7, KO3).