This weekend’s British and Commonwealth light-middleweight title clash between Liam Williams from the Rhondda and Gary Corcoran from Wembley at Cardiff Ice Arena is being touted by many as the most exciting domestic match-up of the year.
Glynn Evans canvassed a dozen ‘ace faces’ from within the trade for clues as to where he’d best lay his pound.
I go with the champion. Williams is just too strong. He’s also got lots of skill, great composure and very good power.
Gary Corcoran is strong himself and will arrive full of confidence, full of fight. He’s always up for it. That alone is sufficient to be competitive at a good level but I expect Williams to move on well beyond the British and Commonwealth titles. When pressing forward, there’s plenty of subtlety in his work. He does the right things at the right times. He’s a class operator.
(London trainer, on right)
I think Gary is going to upset Williams in a mauling sort of a fight. Mind, if he opts to box, it’ll be one way traffic. Williams will slaughter him!
The first six rounds will be crucial but if Gary gets through those unscathed I believe he’ll prove too battle hardened.
Liam hasn’t done the hard rounds and if Gary can drag him into the trenches and make things uncomfortable, I sense Williams will start to become ragged and untidy. Corcoran has a great engine and I just think he’ll prove too much in the later part of the fight. Williams won’t be able to contain him.
(London trainer, on left. Image credit: NowBoxing)
Fifty-fifty fight. It largely depends upon which team get their tactics right on the night. Williams is a big talent but hasn’t really beaten anyone of note. Provided Corcoran doesn’t rush in early, he’s got a decent chance. This is definitely no ‘gimme’ for Liam.
Gary Corcoran uses my gym quite a bit and I like him immensely, both as a fighter and as a person. He’s had some good wins against quality domestic opposition over the last year or so and he’s a tough, tough boy with an incredible work rate and self belief. But that self-belief could be his undoing.
It’ll go to points and, if you were a betting man, I guess you’d sway to the defending champion, fighting at home. But I honestly can’t split ‘em. Sorry!
(WBO Light-Middleweight Champion)
Williams wins easy. I don’t rate Corcoran at all. He’s only got work rate. He’s not the biggest puncher and there’s no method to what he does. He doesn’t throw his punches correctly, there’s little variety and he’s clumsy. He charges in gung-ho and is wide open to counters.
Williams is far better all round. He’s good technique wise, has a good, hard jab and is learning well under Gary Lockett. The smudge against him is that he’s not really had any tough fights yet. But he’ll pick Corcoran apart and probably stop him down the stretch.
(British welterweight champion)
I’m going with the Londoner. I’ve been sparring Gary for this bill and he’s always in your face, very fit and very game. He doesn’t give opponent’s a moments rest and I believe that’ll be the key for him in this fight.
Gary’s had some really good wins over top contenders of late and he’s gone the 10 round distance in all of them which gives him a crucial edge over Liam Williams. Liam’s not had many rounds so we don’t know about his engine. This fight should tell us. I’m backing Corcoran to push him late and upset him on points.
I’ve not seen a great deal of Gary Corcoran if I’m honest. They tell me he’s (WBO) number five to ‘Beefy’ (Liam Smith) so it’s an interesting fight for us.
Corcoran is very confident, very bullish, talking a good fight here. He’s the one with the proven rounds and conditioning on his record so it could become very interesting if he can withstand Williams’ power and take him down the stretch, especially if Williams suspect right hand gets damaged.
Williams has had a stop-start career due to injuries but he’s now beginning to gain momentum. He’s still a work in progress but he’s coming along nicely. He’s very composed, a good shot picker and Gary Lockett will have him well prepared. You have to go with the form fighter here, and that’s Williams.
(Unbeaten Light-Middleweight contender)
Liam Williams is a worthy British champion but I’m tipping Corcoran I work a lot with Gary so I know exactly how strong he is and I see him outworking Williams and winning a hard distance fight.
We’ve not really seen Liam work at short range yet and that’s Gary’s strength. He’ll smother him in close and kill Liam’s power. Corcoran on points in a thriller.
(ex WBC light-middle challenger)
It’s a really cracking match-up. Neither has put a foot wrong and both have great attacking styles. It’ll be great to watch. I’m really looking forward to it.
There’s really not much between them. They’ve had a similar number of fights and bring similar records but I slightly favour Williams. He’s got good skills, can punch and he’s faced the slightly better opposition. I edge to Williams but not with much confidence.
Billy Joe Saunders
(WBO middleweight champion)
This is a real tight one. Genuine 50-50. It really depends who turns up on the night and executes their plan, and who don’t. If both turn up, everybody needs to tune in because it’s going to be carnage!
Liam Williams is a class act, a good boxer and a good puncher but, cos I’m world champion and can’t sit on the fence, I edge ever, ever so slightly to Gary on points. I hear he’s done really well in recent spars with Kell Brook and when I used to spar him a few years back, believe me, he was a real handful!
(ex WBC light-middle challenger)
Corcoran is a very tough, game lad and I expect it’ll be a very exciting fight to watch early on.
But I can see Liam Williams really starting to shine in the second half of the fight. He’s massive at the weight and I believe has the better technical ability. He’s got good movement, good defence, decent hand speed, can punch....He’s got it all really, a different animal to Corcoran. If they step him up gradually, Liam could go far, possibly all the way to world level.
Williams wins comfortably but probably on points.
(Commonwealth middleweight champion)
I’ve actually sparred both. Corcoran is a good lad, very tough, extremely fit, always in your face. He’s all over you, if you allow it.
But Williams is much better technically. He can punch but he’s also a very underrated back foot boxer. There’s a bit of friction building and Liam needs to be careful not to lose his cool because that’ll just play into Corcoran’s hands. Corcoran’s only chance is to out hustle and out work the champion who hasn’t been taken rounds yet. Hopefully, Corcoran can take him late and ask a few questions.
But regardless of what Corcoran does, Williams will win. If Gary goes in blazing, Liam picks him off and breaks him down. If he stands off and boxes, it’s no contest. Williams by mid to late round stoppage.
(ex Commonwealth light-middleweight champion)
This is a proper fight. It’s going to be very exciting. I know Gary well and I boxed his brother Eddie. He’s a very tough kid who always brings it so I wish him well but I’m not sure that he’s got the skill to compete with Liam Williams.
The champion is very skilful, patient and punches extremely hard. He picks his shots well rather than just slings ‘em out and that makes the difference. The one’s that connect clean are the ones that slow you down. It’s a cracker but I think Williams prevails.