Frank Warren: Liam Williams can lead new Welsh boxing boom

Liam Williams
Liam Williams (left) beat Gary Corcoran at the Wales Ice Arena in his first fight in Wales since 2013

Promoter Frank Warren says "the good days for Welsh boxing are here again" following Liam Williams' successful British and Commonwealth title defence.

Williams, 24, retained his super-welterweight titles by stopping Gary Corcoran in Cardiff on Saturday.

"It was an excellent show with the birth of a new Welsh boxing star," Warren told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"Liam Williams is the man. He is the best young prospect Wales has had for a long, long time."

Warren added: "The talent is there. We are going to see some real stars coming through in the future, with Liam Williams being the standard-bearer.

"These things come in cycles and now is going to be the time for some of these Welsh fighters."

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The well-attended show at Wales Ice Arena featured two world title fights.

Britain's Terry Flanagan defended his WBO world lightweight title with a battling points win over South African champion Mzonke Fana.

Fellow Briton Jazza Dickens' WBA world super-bantamweight title hopes were ended as his jaw was broken by top pound-for-pound fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux.

A host of Welsh boxers, including St Joes stablemates Craig Evans and Gary Buckland and Gary Lockett-trained trio Alex Hughes, Dale Evans and Jay Harris, won.

Williams 'can go all the way'

Warren compared Rhondda boxer Williams with some of Wales' world champions of the past.

"I have been been involved with a lot of fighters from Wales over the years, going back to Colin Jones, Steve Robinson, Joe Calzaghe and Enzo Maccarinelli," said Warren.

"He certainly matches Colin Jones in the punching department and Enzo, to a point.

"Liam can box, he can focus and show more discipline and he can go all the way."

Warren added: "It was always going to be a tough and competitive fight against Gary Corcoran, who was undefeated as a professional.

"Liam came through it, his superiority showed towards the end and, as we all know, he has a tremendous punch on him and that was the deciding factor."

Frank Warren and Joe Calzaghe
Frank Warren's biggest show in Wales saw 50,000 people in Cardiff for Joe Calzaghe's victory over Mikkel Kessler

Warren promoted Welshman and two-weight world champion Joe Calzaghe, who retired in 2009 with 46 wins from 46 fights and is regarded as one of the best British boxers in history.

"At the turn of the century I said Joe Calzaghe would be the boxer of the Millennium," said 64-year-old Warren.

"It took Joe about 15 years to become an overnight sensation. With Liam it is going to be much quicker. He has a good following already."

Wales 'a fabulous place to put on fights'

Warren regularly promoted shows in Wales when he promoted the Team Calzaghe stable about a decade ago, with three of those boxers going on to win world titles.

Maccarinelli and Gavin Rees won world title fights in Cardiff, but Nathan Cleverly lost to Sergey Kovalev the last time Warren staged a major event in the Welsh capital.

"This is the start of us promoting regularly down in Wales again," said Warren.

"For me that has always been a joy. It is a fabulous place to put on fights, with very knowledgeable fans.

"I like the Ice Arena as a venue. It lends itself to boxing as there isn't a bad view in the house."

Rigondeaux v the Welsh Mayweather?

Guillermo Rigondeaux tweet
Guillermo Rigondeaux won gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games

Warren said he would like to match Rigondeaux, who is regarded as one of the best boxers in the world, with Wales' world champion Lee Selby, nicknamed 'the Welsh Mayweather' after legendary American Floyd Mayweather.

"We were calling him Guillermo ap Rigondeaux on the night," Warren joked about 35-year-old Cuban Rigondeaux.

"He loved it. He really enjoyed Wales, he loved the welcome from the Valleys and Cardiff and wants to come back again.

"The Welsh appreciate good boxers and good fighters and he is one of the absolute best.

"Rigondeaux v Lee Selby - what a fight that would be. If we could get that on over here, the fans would come out for it.

"If Lee Selby wanted the fight, though - that would be a different matter."