Liam ready to "settle the score"

Published 8:00pm 28 March 2024

Liam ready to "settle the score"
Words by Nick Crockford

The training and talking are over. Liam Wilson is now just counting down the hours to his second crack at a world title.

Around 2pm AEST on Saturday (March 30), Wilson – who was born in Redcliffe, lives at Caboolture and trains with All Star Boxing Academy, Lawnton – will step into the ring at Glendale, Arizona.

Facing him will be two-time world champion Oscar Valdez from Mexico, with both men aiming to add the WBO junior lightweight crown their boxing resumes.

It was confirmed this week, the winner will get the interim WBO world title, then wait until mid-May when current champion Emanuel Navarrete may relinquish the belt.

Navarrete, who has beaten Wilson - in controversial circumstances - and Valdez in the last 13 months, has stepped up to lightweight.

If he beats Denys Berinchyk on May 18, Navarrete will hold two titles at two weights and have to give up one. He is expected to stay at the higher weight, which would give the junior title to Wilson or Valdez.

It would be compensation for Wilson who put Navarrete down in round four of their fight in February 2023  only for the champion to drop his mouthguard and get a 27-second count, rather than 10.

“I should have been world champion,” Wilson, 28, said at the pre-fight press conference, “I won the belt that night.

“I didn’t get awarded it. That’s the way life has played out for me.

“But we’re here now. We’re going to fight Friday night and we’re going to settle the score.

“I’ve learned that fight. I’ve had a year to reassess my abilities. I’ve grown and a person and as a fighter to come back better prepared.

“It’s all there (on) Friday night for me. My second run at a world title.”

Wilson has completed a 12-week training camp, most in Las Vegas before flying to Arizona, with trainer Ben Harrington, who runs All Star Boxing at Lawnton Showgrounds.

The Moreton Bay fighter is the underdog with bookmakers, despite being five years younger, nine centimetres taller and having a longer reach by 10 centimetres.

Liam ready to "settle the score"
All Star Boxing Academy youngsters gave Liam Wilson a great welcome home after his controversial defeat by Navarrete.

But Valdez, 33, is more experienced with 31 wins from 33 fights, 23 by knockout. Wilson has 13 wins from 15 pro fights with 7 knockouts.

“I’ve seen him (Wilson) fight,” said Valdez, “a tough fight with Navarette, that was enough.

“His style and my style make a very fan-friendly fight. He doesn’t give up. We’re going in there to give it our best.”

Wilson v Valdez is being shown live on Kayo Sport. The fight will start around 2pm AEST on Saturday.

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