By Rich Jones
Welsh boxing prospect Liam Williams is gearing up for the biggest fight of his career so far as he faces off with Liam Smith in Manchester on Saturday, April 8.
The unbeaten Clydach Vale fighter will face off with long-time rival Liam Smith in an eagerly-anticipated bout as he looks to step up to world level.
Former WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Smith lost his title to superstar Saul Alvaraz in September but came away with plenty of credit.
24-year-old Williams was named the Boxing Writers’ Young Boxer of the Year for 2016 and is undefeated in 17 professional bouts.
He retained his British and Commonwealth Super Welterweight titles with an 11th round stoppage over Gary Corcoran in Cardiff on July 16.
Yet he was left frustrated when a huge domestic showdown with Ahmet Patterson didn’t materialise in November following an injury to Patterson just days before the fight.
Williams nonetheless stopped late replacement Gabor Gorbics with a fierce body shot in the eighth-round to capture the vacant WBO European Super-Welterweight belt.
He will now aim to cause an upset against Smith in a fight which could yet be for a world title if Alvarez vacates the belt and moves up a weight to fight Julio Cesar Chavez.
They will be part of a historic occasion as Frank Warren begins an exciting new era of boxing on the BT Sport platform.
The card will be headlined by hometown hero Terry Flanagan making the fifth defence of his WBO World Lightweight Championship against Russian Petr Petrov.
But many are already backing Williams v Smith to be the fight of the night as both men aim to take a big step forwards with their career.
Meanwhile, Carl Frampton is setting his sights on a huge unification bout with Welsh ace Lee Selby.
Northern Irish ace Frampton was due to defend his WBA featherweight world title against Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas on Saturday with IBF title holder Selby taking on Jonathan Barros on the undercard.
The pair have already talked up the chances of an all-British dust up in the future with both the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and Windsor Park in Belfast being touted as potential venues.