LIAM WILLIAMS BELIEVES his March 8 British title challenger Joe Mullender is overplaying his hand ahead of their highly-anticipated showdown with continual claims that he will simply drag the champion into a punch-up.
The pair clash at the Royal Albert Hall, with Williams making a first defence of the middleweight title he won in considerable style against Mark Heffron in December.
Mullender, a self-confessed slugger who likes to get up close, is confident he will be able to draw the more refined Williams into a scrap and insists it is the only way he knows.
Williams, for his part, says he is tiring of the back-to-basics rhetoric and is now even more determined to outclass what he considers a more limited opponent.
“Yeah, ‘I’m gonna punch him in the face – he’s gonna punch me’, it is getting boring now to be honest with you,” stated the 26-year-old former British super welterweight champion from Clydach Vale.
“At first maybe I was, not overlooking him, but I’ve always thought from day one that I am going to beat him fairly handily. Now, with him playing whatever card he is playing, it has motivated me even more because I just want to punch his head in.
“He has done my head in a bit so I just want to get him out of the way and make him realise the level he is at. That is what I’m going to do come March 8, so I haven’t got long to wait now.”
The 19-2-1 Williams contends that Mullender cannot have it both ways when, on the one hand, he claims it is just a fight while, on the other, it is the biggest occasion of his career with the treasured Lonsdale belt at stake.
The punch traffic, he adds, will be in one direction only.
“Yeah, exactly, he is just a bit boring and what I have seen is him keep saying we are going to punch each other’s heads in. Not at all, he is not going to punch my head in, I’m just going to beat the f**k out of him and go home still as British champion – and move on unmarked.
“That is exactly where we are at. He can keep thinking what he wants to think, or telling people what they want to hear, it makes no difference to me. I am still going to turn up on form and do my thing.”
JOE MULLENDER WAS given prior notice that his name was firmly in the frame for a shot at the British title, but being tipped the wink did not prompt a scouting mission to assess the strengths of a potential opponent.
Mullender challenges Liam Williams for the British middleweight title at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday March 8 and the basher from Brentwood, known as Smokin Joe, had knowledge of the prospect before the Welshman claimed the title with an emphatic stoppage of the previously unbeaten Mark Heffron at the Manchester Arena in December.
“I was at one of the award do’s with my manager Andy (Ayling) and Francis (Warren) and they just said to me ‘do you want to fight the winner?’. I said ‘how much?’ Done!” stated the 32-year-old with a record of 11-2.
A pre-Christmas jaunt to Manchester was never on the cards though, according to the former English champion.
“No, I’m not bothered, it really doesn’t bother me,” insisted Mullender. “I could have gone there and sat ringside peeping through the ropes. What difference is that going to make?
“I can’t judge a fight and sit there wondering if I could exploit this or that. Listen, he’s gonna punch my head in and I’m gonna punch his head in. Game plans go out of the window so it is irrelevant to me who won because at this level everyone is a good fighter.
“I know what I am good at and I know what I have to do. What he’s good at, he’ll do, so there is nothing special to it in my opinion.
“I don’t feel like I had to sit there and watch it and I haven’t looked at it since either. I don’t need to, Liam is a good fighter and I am not one to sit and study and opponent.
“Who is he? Lovely, see you then.”
Williams is a world level operator who has previously challenged for an Interim title at super welterweight, as well as a final eliminator for a world title. Mullender, by contrast, admits his style is of a more basic nature and could be described as up close and personal.
“Yeah and it is made for fighters like Liam, but my tactics are not going to change. I’m not going ‘I’m going to shock the world’ and then go on the back foot. I’m telling him in the press conference that I am coming to ‘ave it with him.
“So he either irons me out or we are having a fight. It is as simple as that.
“I don’t pretend to be something I’m not, but everyone can come and watch me or fighters of my style and think they will pick them apart.
“Well, who has?
“I don’t know what he will do, but he can make it a very simple fight for himself by running, staying on the back foot and jabbing my head off. That is probably what Dom Ingle is saying to him, that I am basic and if I take too many he will stop me.
“Come on then, stop me!
“It is one thing looking at it from the outside and saying I am going to do this or that. When I am on your chest, try and stop me then. If you ain’t, I am gonna tickle your ribs and I am gonna beat you up.
“Otherwise, you’ve got to beat me up. It isn’t hard to work out.”
LIAM WILLIAMS has blasted back at Joe Mullender, claiming his big rival wishes he had his talent.
The British Middleweight champion believes the Essex man lied when he claimed he hadn’t bothered watching Williams (19-2-1) title winning performance against Mark Heffron in December.
Williams makes the first defence of his crown against Mullender (11-2) at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Friday March 8 on Frank Warren’s stacked bill that is live on BT Sport.
Clydach Vale’s Williams raged: “Listen. He did watch my fight.
“He’s been at home thinking about it for weeks and wishing he could fight like me.
“He’s playing it down trying to win over the people, but don’t fall for it.”
Promising to repeat his impressive performance against Heffron who was rescued in the tenth round, the Welshman warned Mullender: “You know what time it is, sleepy time.”
Mullender last boxed in October when he floored Ben Capps four times, and won in seven rounds.
Williams insists he’s another level, and that his all-action challenger is already suffering mental torture ahead of the big fight.
“He can say what he wants,” Williams added.
“When he puts his head on that pillow at night he’s already watched himself get filled in over and over and the closer it gets the worse it will get.”
Elsewhere on the show, Nicola Adams OBE will look to make history and be the first female crowned World Champion at the venue as she challenges for the WBO World Flyweight Title against Arely Mucino on International Women’s Day. Daniel Dubois follows in the footsteps of British heavyweight greats to fight at the historic venue and takes on Razvan Cojanu in his tenth fight. Johnny Garton makes the first defence of his British Welterweight title against Chris Jenkins. Lucien Reid will fight Indi Sangha in what will be his toughest test to date, while GB Flyweight Harvey Horn, Cruiserweight talent James Branch and middleweight banger Denzel Bentley all feature.
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