In a well staged, but prickly press conference today near London Bridge on the banks of the River Thames, two British middleweights Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Williams exuded equal contempt for each other before their impending showdown in Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on December 11.
Next month, the BOXXER and Wasserman Promotion being shown live and exclusive on Sky Sports in the UK will pitch the 32 year old Eubank Jr (31-2, 23 KO’s) into the lion’s den of South Wales against 29 year old local hero Williams (23-3,18 KO’s). Billed as ‘Bad Intentions’ it promises to finish 2021 on a high with a meeting of two world ranked contenders (Eubank – Ring magazine #8 and Williams #9).
Both fighters will attempt to seal an impressive victory to progress to another crack at a world sanctioning body title, having lost earlier title shots. Williams, to current WBO champion Demetrius Andrade in April this year and, Eubank Jr back in February 2018 to George Groves for the WBA super-middleweight belt. Both will therefore bring ‘world’ title fight experience to the ring.
The bout marks a major coup for the new BOXXER partnership with Sky Sports, with today’s media event only 40 days on from their first televised promotion together. BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom was pleased to announce his delight at the contest with “Both fighters in the prime of their career”. Handing over to his media supremo Daniel ‘Savage Dan’ Stewart, who re-iterated by saying “I’ll eat my shoe if it doesn’t deliver !”. Co-promoter Kalle Sauerland further emphasized the point by adding it was “Two guys who only have one gear – the forward gear”.
Williams took to the microphone expressing his delight at signing for the fight and confident of the outcome. “It’s an amazing thing for me to bring this fight back to Wales…I just need to deliver…It’s massive for me”. When asked by Adam Smith (Sky Sports Head of Boxing Development) about his opponent, he replied “I have a lot of respect for him as a fighter” but “Don’t have much respect for him personally…he’s not my type of guy”. He explained the challenge posed by Eubank Jr. but that he was confident of victory, being non-committal on the manner of victory “I can’t say for sure I’m gonna stop him”.
With the microphone switching to Eubank Jr. and on being asked if he respected his opponent he replied “Respect is not a word I would use for my feelings towards Liam…it doesn’t sit well with me…this is a grudge match…a genuine domestic rivalry, it’s personal…he’s gonna pay for what he said”. The response referring to the pre-fight barbs and Williams reverting to social media to stoke up his opponent.
Eubank Jr’s. response led to Williams telling him to shut his mouth saying “you’re full of s**t”. The Welshman then questioned his opponent on why the fight was in Cardiff, referring to Eubank’s poor ticket selling closer to home.
Eubank Jr continued “He doesn’t have what it takes to stop what I’m gonna do…with his style I don’t see it going 12 rounds”. Williams by now repeatedly shaking his head, again used his earlier insult, going onto say “I just think this guy’s full of s**t…He knows how to talk (referring to learning it from his father, Chris Snr) but concluded “It’s gonna be a win for Liam Williams, it’s gonna be exciting”.
That, it promises to be, in which Adam Smith concluded would be the “Domestic duel of the year”. Given we also have the Lyndon Arthur-Anthony Yarde rematch a week earlier, it promises to be a dynamite December.
To finish the media event both fighters took to the dais to do the head-to-heads and thankfully the verbal volleys didn’t escalate.
Stylistically, this has all the makings of a great contest, with both being confident come-forward fighters and, for the winner a potential world title shot against either Gennadiy Golovkin (IBF) should he come through versus Ryota Murata (WBA) in December, American Jermall Charlo (WBC), or his compatriot Demetrius Andrade (WBO) should he retain his title against Jason Quigley this weekend.
Look out for more verbal barbs and fireworks over the next few weeks as the big British middleweight showdown looms.