WBO orders Demetrius Andrade vs. Liam Williams, possible for June in Providence
By Charles Brun: The WBO has ordered middleweight champion, Demetrius Andrade, to defend against #7 WBO Liam Williams. According to promoter Frank Warren, they’re in negotiations for the fight to take place within 90 to 120 days.
Williams isn’t the contender that U.S boxing fans want to see Andrade defend against in the WBO’s top 15 rankings. They were hoping that Andrade would defend against #1 WBO Jaime Munguia, who recently vacated his WBO 154-lb title to move up to 160.
A fight between Andrade and Munguia would attract a lot of interest from fans in the States. With Andrade now ordered to defend against Williams, this is a similar situation as his defense against Brian Rose in 2014. Few Americans took notice of the Andrade-Rose fight, and Andrade easily dispatched Rose in seven rounds. Will Andrade vs. Williams have a similar outcome? It could be.
Andrade’s promoter Eddie Hearn is looking to stage the fight in June in Providence, Rhode Island. That’s where Andrade is from. Andrade vs. Williams will be the main event on one of the DAZN cards, according to @MikeCoppinger.
Andrade has been criticized over the opposition he’s been facing since winning the WBO middleweight title in beating Walter Kautondokwa by a 12 round decision in October 2018. In Andrade’s three defenses of his WBO title, he’s beaten Luke Keeler, Maciej Sulecki, and Artur Akavov.
Unfortunately for Williams, he’ll be viewed in the same light as Keeler and Akavov. Williams’ two defeats to Liam Smith will keep him from being taken seriously as an opponent for Andrade by U.S fans.
Williams is taking a big step up in class
The 27-year-old Williams will be facing the most talented fighter of his 9-year professional career when he faces Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs). Although Williams has won his last six fights since losing to Liam Smith for the second time, he’s largely been feasting on domestic level opposition. The only good opponent that Williams has fought since his loss to Smith was Alantez Fox, a fighter that had already been beaten by Andrade.
Williams’ last six wins:
- Alantexz Fox
- Karim Achour
- Joe Mullender
- Mark Heffron
- Craig Nicholson
- Darryl Sharp
Given the low quality of the opposition that Williams has faced since 2017, it’s to know for sure how well he’ll do against a world-class fighter like Andrade. All we know is when Williams stepped up twice during his career, he was found wanting against Liam Smith.
If this fight turns out badly for Williams, the World Boxing Organization will be criticized for letting him fight Fox in a WBO eliminator instead of a quality fighter like Jaime Munguia.
Andrade’s pedigree might be too much for Williams
The 2008 U.S Olympian Demetrius has a big advantage in experience and he comes from a better background with what he did as an amateur. As a pro, Andrade has wins over the notable fighters Maciej Sulecki, Vanes Martirosyan, and Jack Culcay.
This is a good fight on paper. Despite having captured two-division world titles during his 12-year professional career, Andrade’s resume is thin. Williams is a bigger puncher than anyone Andrade has faced before, and he could give him trouble if he makes it through the first six rounds. Andrade has stamina problems, and Willams has a shot at getting to him in the later rounds.
With that said, Andrade can punch too, and Williams’s chin is going to be tested like never before. Moreover, Andrade’s height, reach and boxing skills are well above anyone that Williams has faced before. It’s telling that Williams was TWICE beaten by Liam Smith.
Williams (22-2-1, 17 KOs) is coming off of a 5th round knockout victory over Alantez Fox last December at the Copper Box Arena in London, UK. Fox was dropped twice by Williams in the fight.
The power the advantage that Williams had over the 27-year-old Fox (26-2-1, 12 KOs) was ultimately too much. Williams knocked Fox down once in round 4 and a final time in round 5 to get the stoppage.
Three years ago, Andrade was forced to go the full 12 round distance to defeat Fox by a lopsided decision. Williams did a better job of defeating Fox than Andrade, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the better fighter of the two.
Warren: Williams can beat Andrade
“The WBO has advised us, and we’re in negotiations at the moment, for him to fight Andrade,” said Warren to BT Sport Boxing on the WBO ordering Andrade to defend against #7 Williams. “It has to happen because we’re in negotiations for the fight to happen in the next 90 to 120 days.
“So we’re good to go. He can win that,” said Warren of Liam Williams. “Let me tell you something. He can beat Andrade, I know he can. That was a phenomenal performance last time out. [against Alantez Fox]. The guy was number one, and he wasn’t fancied Liam, and he absolutely took him apart. It was a fantastic performance from him,” said Warren on Williams’ last victory over Fox.
Williams is now trained by Dominic Ingle, and he supposedly has improved as a fighter. Without Williams having fought anyone good in the last 3 years, it’s impossible to determine whether he’s gotten better or simply taken advantage of the lower level opposition that’s put in front of him. We know Williams can beat guys like Mullender, Heffron. Achour and Sharp, but it’s a much different kettle of fish in going up against a world champion in Andrade.
Williams does have the punching power to defeat the 6’0″ Andrade, but he’s going to be giving a lot of hand speed and overall boxing ability to the American. Just trying to get to Andrade to land anything may prove to be difficult for Williams, who is kind of basic with his fighting style. He’s a straight-ahead slugger, and he generally does well against stationary fighters with limited skills.
Liam Smith was clearly the far superior fighter against Williams in their two fights, and it’s unclear whether that changes.
Liam Williams has improved since the loss to Smith
“Sometimes when you lose, it’s how you learn from it and how you come back, you know?” Warren said of Williams’ defeats to Liam Smith. “He’s with a new trainer. Well, he’s been with a new trainer for awhile. He left Gary and went off to be trained by Dominic Ingles. So they seem to have a good rapport between the two of them, they’ve jelled and he just looks like a different guy altogether to me.
“Maybe the weight suits him more, but whatever it is, it ain’t broke so he’s not going to try and fix it. It’s a great combination. He’s got himself back in the position that he promised he’d get himself into. That’s the fight for the title, and that’ll happen. He’s a good fighter. He’s a young man, and he’s not an old guy. He has plenty in the tank,” said Warren.
Williams has four fights under his belt since moving up to middleweight from the 154-lb division, but we can’t tell whether he’s improved or not due to the guys he’s been facing. We’ll only be able to identify whether Williams has improved is when he gets in there with Andrade.
If Williams has gotten better, he’ll do well against Andrade and beat him. If not, then he’ll get outboxed the same way Sulecki did against Andrade, and end up losing by a lopsided decision.
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