Liam Williams primed for another Saturday night scrap in South Wales

Liam Williams is primed for another Saturday night scrap in South Wales as hometown hero bids to crush Chris Eubank Jr’s hopes of fighting Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez in grudge match in Cardiff

  • Liam Williams is well accustomed to Saturday night scraps in South Wales 
  • Now, the Welshman is set to take on Chris Eubank Jr in Cardiff this weekend 
  • Williams and Eubank Jr have trodden very different paths to meet in the ring
  • The 29-year-old was never far from trouble growing up in the Welsh valleys
  • Now, The Machine is bidding to join Welsh boxing’s greatest names  

Familiar territory beckons for Liam Williams. Another spiky Saturday night in South Wales. And another scrap.

‘Two litres of White Lightning aged 13, knocking someone out every weekend,’ Williams remembers.

‘Not big, not clever. It’s a stupid thing to do, really. But it’s just the way I was… badly behaved, (not) very good in school, didn’t take telling. Just a little p**** really.’

Liam Williams is well used to Saturday night scraps in South Wales ahead of his huge bout

This week, those street corners in Clydach Vale wind 20 miles out of the Valleys towards Cardiff. To a sold-out Motorpoint Arena. To a date with one of boxing’s most iconic names.

‘We come from very different worlds,’ Williams says of Chris Eubank Jnr.

But the Welshman is not the boy he was then. ‘And I definitely wouldn’t like myself either looking back. I’d probably think: “This little p**** here, he’s no good”’ the 29-year-old says. ‘Slap him right round the back of the head.’

Times have changed and so has his tipple.

Back in 2017, following the first of two defeats by Liam Smith, Williams turned back to booze. This time, though, the cheap cider remained on ice.

Williams (R) takes on Chris Eubank Jr (L) and the pair have trodden vastly different paths

The 29-year-old started out on small boxing shows in the valleys and got into trouble 

‘Rose wine. Five bottles a night!’ he laughs. ‘I was on the p*** quite regular, I wasn’t really bothered if I lost the next fight and I had to retire.’

From that trough, Williams resurrected his career by moving up to middleweight and blasting his way to a world title challenge against Demetrius Andrade last April.

That ended in a third career defeat but from the frying pan, fire looms once more.

Back at 160lbs, Eubank is eyeing the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. He did not need this trip into a bearpit across the border, where hostility awaits and defeat would leave world title ambitions hanging by a thread.

‘I thought, because of his name, that he would end up landing one of those fights. It’s not worked that way,’ Williams says. ‘I’m over the moon and I’m almost there now – putting my name back in the mix.’

He has had to overcome several hurdles in his pursuit of joining Wales’ greatest ever boxers

This rivalry has been bubbling for years – Williams has routinely badmouthed Eubank online; now he’s working with Adam Booth, his opponent’s former coach who also happens to train Eubank’s cousin, Harlem.

‘You can see he’s educated,’ Williams says of Junior. ‘But educated don’t mean shit in boxing. You need to be able to fight. And he can fight.’

For much of the past decade, they trod parallel paths.

Eubank Jnr has never been able to escape either long shadows or the spotlight. Williams, on the other hand?

‘When I was starting out I was fighting on small hall shows, the likes of Tylorstown, Aberdare – places back in Wales you wouldn’t have even heard of probably. In leisure centres with 1,500 people there, earning a grand for a fight,’ he says.

Williams is unafraid to take a risk as he pursues a better life for his family and community

‘I don’t really care what he’s got, I don’t really care where he’s come from… as long as I’m bettering my life, I’m bettering my kids’ lives and hopefully one day I’ll maybe even be able to better my parents’ lives.’

And yet, for the past six years, Eubank and Williams have been entwined by tragedy.

The Welshman was in Nick Blackwell’s corner the night he fought Eubank in 2016. The night which left Blackwell in a coma.

‘Nick is my friend, it was a sad time. But at the end of the day, it’s the fight game, it could happen to me tomorrow,’ Williams admits.

‘I’m willing to take that risk. If anything was to happen to me while boxing, while in the ring, then I’m doing what I love doing. So be it.’

Eubank Jr travels to Cardiff with huge ambitions to take on the best names this calendar year

Gennady Golovkin is top of his list but Williams is out to crush his rival’s ambitions on Saturday

These days, Williams has more pressing concerns than injury – or even revenge.

‘Trying to pave the way for younger kids in my area, from Wales, people who have nothing, who might be bad in school,’ he says.

‘I was a little d******* as a kid, if I can do it, why can’t these other kids?’

And who knows, maybe teenagers on those street corners will one day occupy themselves with tales of another fighter who rose from scraps in South Wales right to the very top.

‘Just imagining in 50, 100 years’ time, people are standing here, talking about me the same way I’m talking about (Welsh legends) Tommy Farr or Jimmy Wilde, for example. It’s an amazing thought, hopefully that will happen.’

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