Wales needs Saturday's world-title bill to be successful, says Gary Lockett

Guillermo Rigondeaux (L) and Liam Williams (R) are both fighting in Cardiff on Saturday
Guillermo Rigondeaux (left) and Liam Williams are both fighting in Cardiff on Saturday
World Championship boxing
Date: Saturday, 16 July Venue: Ice Arena Wales, Cardiff Start: 19:00 BST

Trainer Gary Lockett has warned Saturday's world-title bill in Cardiff must be a success if major boxing bouts are to return regularly to Wales.

Top pound-for-pound star Guillermo Rigondeaux's WBA super-bantamweight title defence against Jamie Dickens tops the card at the Ice Arena Wales.

Lockett's fighter Liam Williams defends his British and Commonwealth titles against Gary Corcoran.

"It's vitally important for these bills to be back in Wales," said Lockett.

Rigondeaux is fifth in the legendary Ring Magazine top pound-for-pound list and is seen by many as the most exciting fighter on the planet.

The unbeaten 35-year-old co-headlines a bill featuring WBO world lightweight champion Terry Flanagan's defence against former IBF world champion Mzonke Fana.

Ryan Rhodes and Gary Lockett
Gary Lockett (right) is a former WBU middleweight champion and once fought Ryan Rhodes at the Millennium Stadium

A total of six titles will be contested on a 14-fight bill, the first staged in Wales by world-renowned promoter Frank Warren in eight years, with a capacity crowd expected.

Former world-title contender Lockett believes the return of title bouts to Wales will help the country's fighters develop and build a greater following.

"There's a lot of talent in Wales missing out," he explained, adding: "They're having to go down different routes and take fights as opponents when they should be being looked after.

"That's sad but if they now come back here regularly I think we can make a go of it like in the Calzaghe days."

Welsh boxing great Joe Calzaghe unified the super middleweight division in front of 50,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium in 2007.

Saturday's show will be Warren's first in Wales since Gavin Rees lost his WBA light-welterweight title in front of a sparse crowd in 2008.

"They did a couple of bills down here where they didn't really sell very well at all," explained Lockett.

"As a promoter, when you put money up you expect to see something back. You can't blame them for that.

"They were a little bit nervous about coming back here but I reassured them that it would sell. I think we're close to a sell-out."

Lockett will be in super welterweight Williams' corner for his first bout since the 24-year-old Rhondda fighter beat Gustavo Alberto Sanchez in April.

Williams has fought just twice in 18 months after overcoming a career-threatening hand injury which had stalled his progress.