Liam Williams confident he could open Liam Smith up

Welsh super-welterweight wonder Liam Williams returns from a year in the wilderness next month anxious to renew his rivalry with current WBO World Champion Liam Smith.

The 23 year old from Clydach Vale in the Rhondda Valley loomed as mandatory challenger when Scouser Smith reigned on the domestic throne earlier this year but hand injuries have prevented a salivating British and Commonwealth unifier from coming to fruition.

Suitably mended, the Gary Lockett trained box-fighter intends reminding Smith that he’s chasing his tail when the pair go head-to-head on Frank Warren’s mammoth ‘X-Mas Cracker’ bill at Manchester Arena on December 19th.

‘If a world title shot with Liam Smith was offered to me, I’d take it tomorrow,’ says Williams who hopes to add the vacant British title to his Commonwealth strap when he confronts Paisley’s Kris Carslaw.

‘Liam’s a very classy fighter, I’ve a lot of respect for him and his team but I believe I’m just as good, if not better.

‘I was pretty impressed with the way he finished his world title fight with John Thompson in October, but there are things I saw earlier in the fight that give me confidence that I can open him up.’

‘Beefy’ is a fight I look forward to and believe I will win but I’m in boxing for one reason and that’s to make as much money as I can. As long as I don’t have to wait too long, I’m happy to let it stew while interest builds …..but not for too long!’

Unbeaten in 13 (one technical draw) since entering the pros, aged just 18 back in November 2011, the former six times British junior champion’s Commonwealth coronation came courtesy of a sizzling 168 second demolition of ex ABA champion Michael Lomax in November 2014.

Liam says: ‘To be honest, I expected a far more competitive fight. I let Lomax lead off but he had nothing on his punches so I just went for it.

‘I was on a really good run in 2014, so it’s been very frustrating to have been out since. I’ve had two operations on my right hand – one in December, one in August – and now I’m ready to get back into action again, I can’t wait.”

Besides, the 5ft10 ex-roofer hasn’t been profligating.

‘In the year away, I’ve matured in strength and confidence,’ he insists.

‘There was a stage when I thought I may never fight again so the time out has made me appreciate the sport more and now I’m really enjoying my training.’

The mobile, well schooled ex Team GB squad member dives straight back into the line of fire against Scottish hard case Carslaw who, despite sharing canvas with the likes of Matty Hall, Brian Rose and current continental middleweight king Michel Soro, has never been stopped in an eight year, 27 fight pro career.

‘I think a lot of people underestimate Kris but I certainly aren’t. I’ve been working my ass off every day for three or four months now. I’ve my first baby due on February 10th so that gives me real motivation. It will be great to relax and enjoy myself over Christmas with the British title as a present,” says Williams.

‘Carslaw’s very tough and durable and I’d be surprised if he’s not around for the full 12 rounds. He’s very awkward, very dangerous with his head I hear so I’ll be looking at controlled aggression, keeping my work clean, rather than chasing a knockout.

‘But I expect to win convincingly. I’ve youth on my side plus I’m faster, punch harder and move better. I’m superior in every department. I expect to be challenging Liam Smith inside the next 12 months.’

Tickets are priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £200 and £300 are available from www.frankwarren.com. TicketMaster 0844 844 0444 www.ticketmaster.co.uk. Eventim 0844 249 1000 www.eventim.co.uk Manchester Arena 0161 950 5000 – 0161 950 5229 (disabled access bookings) www.manchester-arena.co.uk *Tickets are subject to a booking fee.

The Channel Of Champions, BoxNation, will televise Cotto v Alvarez and Lee v Saunders live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 415. Subscribe at www.boxnation.com Or watch online at Livesport.tv and via iPhone, iPad or Android.