UK Boxing: Liam Williams; Akeem Ennis Brown; Marc Leach
Former British and Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Liam Williams is delighted at the prospect of increased exposure for Welsh boxing.
MTK Global puts on its first show in Wales on Friday night; streamed live on iFL TV and featuring Williams (17-2-1-KO12) alongside Welsh team-mates Sean McGoldrick and Jacob Robinson.
With McGoldrick having breezed to 7-0 as a professional and Robinson – son of former world champion Steve – hunting a third straight win since joining the paid ranks, Williams is forecasting a bright future for Welsh boxing.
Williams said: “There have always been a lot of good fighters in Wales. It’s just that they haven’t had the right opportunities up until now.
“It’s great that MTK Global has decided to come here and give these young guys opportunities to shine. I’m sure they’ll perform and deliver the goods to ensure the supporters keep wanting to come back.
“I heard Sean McGoldrick say that some of them look up to me and it’s nice to be appreciated. It’s so good to be fighting back home.
“I’m used to fighting on shows away from home and every time that happens, my fans have to travel. That means a lot of money on transport, accommodation and baby-sitters et cetera so this is a great chance to see me locally.”
Further down the line, Williams is targeting a clash with unbeaten MTK Global rival JJ Metcalf (18-0-KO10).
Williams added: “It’s nothing personal but we both pretty much know we’re going to be fighting each other so there’s a bit of tension there.
“People say I’m chasing him because I’m pushing for the fight but I don’t need him – I’m a bigger name and I’ve achieved more.
“I just think it’s a cracking fight to be made and I want to be in cracking fights.”
Grab your tickets for a stacked Cardiff card by emailing email@example.com.
Unbeaten youngster Akeem Ennis Brown is confident Saturday’s slot on Amir Khan’s undercard is just another step towards stardom.
At the tender age of 22, ‘Riiddy’ has already claimed English and WBC world youth titles at super-lightweight and is hell-bent on seizing any and every opportunity to showcase his skills on his way to the pinnacle of the sport.
Brown said: “I’m happy to be on his kind of show but part of me thinks: why has it taken so long? I’m one of the best kids out there and yet am the only fighter ranked in the top 10 who hasn’t been on TV yet.
“Once they get me on that camera, they’ll see what I’m about. They’ve heard some hype about my name but I bring the magic when I get in that ring.
“I’m still an underdog. I started with only 31 amateur fights because I started late. I jumped in the professional game early and learned everything with no sponsors and no promotion early on.
“To get to the point I’ve already got to, not many people do it this way. I might be underdog now but you can’t avoid me forever. When all’s said and done, the way I’ve done it means I’ll value it more because I’ve really earned it.
“I’m ready for titles here and now. I feel I should be fighting for the British and Commonwealth titles already. Once I have one of those titles, people can’t avoid me because I bring something other than danger to the table.”
Joining Brown on Amir Khan v Samuel Vargas are fellow MTK Global stars Sean McComb, Steven Donnelly and Kieron Conway.
Bantamweight Marc Leach, 10-1-1 (2), tops VIP Promotions upcoming show at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on September 15, after the result of his last fight was changed from a loss to a draw.
Leach travelled to Zimbabwe in July for his first overseas contest, taking on local fighter Tapiwa Tembo in a UK versus Africa tournament. Convinced he’d done enough to win, the Salford fighter was left devastated when Tembo’s glove was raised at the end of the eight-round contest. Luckily for the 24-year-old, the judges’ score cards were inspected afterwards, and the verdict was changed to a majority draw.
“A draw is obviously better than a loss, but I don’t reckon I lost the fight anyway,” said Leach. “I actually thought I was coasting the rounds easily and wanted to save some in the tank for my next fight, which would hopefully be a big one. But if I’d known it was that close I’d have stepped it up. As I say though, a draw is better, but I definitely know I didn’t lose it.”
Thankfully, Leach will be on familiar territory at the Victoria Warehouse, having boxed there twice previously in his pro career. Now trained by Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis – who also work with boxing superstar Carl Frampton – at the VIP Astley gym, Marc gets his sternest test to date when he takes on Louis Norman in an eliminator for the English Title, streamed live on vipboxing.tv.
Leicestershire’s Norman, 13-5-1 (2), has only been beaten in good company – with former world title challenger Charlie Edwards, and previous Commonwealth champion Don Broadhurst, being two of five men to have posted losses on his record. Leach though is confident of shining on the night before, hopefully, earning a crack at the British Title, or English champ Kyle Williams.
“I’m expecting Norman to be a tough fight. He’s going to be the hardest I’ve fought, but I believe I’m up there with the world champions if I put my mind to it. So hopefully I’ll get this one out of the way and start getting some belts.
“I’d be happy to go for whatever title fell into place. I’ll speak to my team, Jamie and Nigel, and see what they want me to do. I want to win this fight, and then if the British can be made straight away that’d be fine. If not, I’d have another couple of fights until it can be made.
“I believe I’m at British and English level right now. I’ve been around the clock as an amateur. I had over 80 amateur fights, and have had quite a few pro bouts, so know what this game is about. I just want an opportunity and when I get it, I’ll grab it with both hands.
“I need to beat Norman first, and it should be an entertaining fight. I’ve seen some of his fights and he comes forward and tries to wear you down. I’m more of a power puncher but can come forward too. So, our styles should gel and it will be a top fight for the fans.”
Promoter Steve Wood said: “Marc was a good amateur, and has done well so far in the pros. He’s training with Jamie and Nigel at the VIP gym, and is working alongside people like Carl Frampton and Tommy Coyle.
“Jamie has high hopes for him, and I know Carl rates Marc as a fighter and thinks he can go far. He has a tough test though in Louis Norman, who isn’t a walkover for anybody. He only gets beaten by quality fighters, and we’re looking for Marc to put on a performance and show what he can do in this fight. I’ve got a feeling this will be a great watch and could be an early fight of the year contender.”
VIP Promotions presents Salford’s Marc Leach against Leicestershire’s Louis Norman in an English Bantamweight Title eliminator on September 15 at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse.
Appearing on the undercard will be Stretford’s Bradley Rea; Failsworth’s Danny Wright; Beswick’s Kane Gardner; Wigan’s James Moorcroft, Andrew Fleming and Casey Connelly; Leigh’s Adam Ridge; Blackpool’s Jamie Mitchell; Moston’s Lyndon Arthur; Bolton’s Muhammad Ali, and Ashton under Lyne’s Charlie Schofield.
Ticket info are priced at £35 (General), £60 (Ringside), and £60 (VIP Booth) – please call 01942 874 241 or visit vipboxing.tv.