Everyone, it appears, has a take on the forthcoming shootout between feuding super-welters Liam Smith and Liam Williams who clash for the WBO ‘interim’ title on the mega Manchester Arena fight festival on April 8th, but ex world title challenger Jimmy Kilrain Kelly’s opinion is more informed than most, writes Glynn Evans.
The 24 year old former WBC Youth champ from Wythenshawe squared off with Welsh warlord Williams in a schoolboy amateur international and, 16 months back, made a valiant tilt for ‘Beefy’ Smith’s WBO title (lrsc7).
The stylish six footer features on the undercard in a crossroads local derby with Penrith’s Rick Godding and intends to warm up the crowd before nestling into a ringside seat and savouring the spicy Anglo-Welsh showdown that has split the trade.
Last week, Kilrain gave this assessment:
‘It’s definitely going to be a belter. I’ve followed Liam Williams pretty closely since he beat me in the Schoolboy Four Nations when we were just 11 or 12. I was English champion he was Welsh champion but I’d only had six or seven contests whereas he’d had 20 odd and had won the British (Four Nations) the year before. He beat me on points. Even back then, he was a very strong kid.
‘Today, he’s a different fighter and he’s carrying all the momentum into the fight. When the two Liams stood together at the initial press conference, Liam Williams appeared massive, dead wide, far bigger.
‘Liam (Williams) and me both sparred Kell Brook before he challenged (Gennady) Golovkin and we chatted. He’s a really likeable guy, which I can’t say about the other Liam. I’m hoping Liam Williams wins.
‘But Liam Smith is a very good fighter with a world class team behind him, something I didn’t have at the time. It was a big jump up for me and Liam had more dimensions at the time. No excuses, it just wasn’t my night.
‘A lot will depend on what the knockout loss to ‘Canelo’ (Alvarez) has taken out of Smith. We’ll not know until the fight starts. Liam Smith usually begins slowly but so I expect it’ll be cagey for the first three or four rounds, then it’ll erupt. Carnage will break out!
‘It’s proper 50-50 and I really can’t split ‘em. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the mayhem like all the other fans.’
Smith vs. Williams is part of an unmissable evening of action on April 8th; local hero Terry Flanagan makes the fifth defence of his WBO World Lightweight crown against dangerous Russian Petr Petrov; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight standout Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut.
Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.