WHAT tends to follow a defeat is a divorce, a change, a reshuffle. This is true not only in boxing but also in other sports and other walks of life.
The latest boxer to shake up their back-room staff in order to see some progress is Welshman Liam Williams, 17-2-1 (12), who today announced he has split with Gary Lockett, his long-time trainer, in favour of relocating to Sheffield and hooking up with Dominic Ingle.
The decision comes following a win for Williams, back in April against Darryl Sharp, but was likely motivated by an inability to defeat Liam Smith at the back end of 2017. This isn’t Lockett’s fault, of course, nor is it ever really the trainer’s fault, but evidently Williams, still only 26, believed a change was needed and has gone about sprucing things up.
After much thought over several months, I have made the difficult decision to part company with my trainer Gary Lockett!
— Liam Williams 🏴 (@Liamwilliamsko) June 19, 2018
In addition to his stellar work with former welterweight champion Kell Brook, Dominic, son of Brendan, is now also the man charged with keeping Billy Joe Saunders’ head in the game. Indeed, he cornered Saunders the night the WBO middleweight champion put it all together and produced a career-best display against David Lemieux last December.
Safe to say, the Ingle dynasty, despite the passing of its leader a couple of weeks ago, remains as strong as ever.
On the day the World Boxing Super Series announced their bantamweight tournament it was assumed, by almost everybody, that the champion conspicuous by his absence, Ryan Burnett, would end up being the number one seed.
The Irishman, after all, was the one with the profile and the fans. He was the one who once held two of the four belts.
Since then, however, we’ve seen Naoya Inoue stake his claim to the number one seed with a devastating one-round stoppage of Jamie McDonnell. We’ve also come to the realisation that this tournament – which also features IBF champion Manny Rodriguez and WBO champion Zolani Tete – is about as hard to call as anyone could hope. The seeds, therefore, could either mean everything or nothing.
As for WBA champion Burnett, 19-0 (9), he just wants to fight close to home.
“I definitely want to have the first fight in Belfast,” thee 26-year-old told Sky Sports. “I put bums on seats and everyone in the city will be buzzing for such a massive tournament, so I’ll be pushing to get my opener back home.
“It’s incredible really. I grew up watching fighters who inspired me and wanted to be like them. Now I’m up there and leading the way so to speak.
“The fans want to see the best vs. the best and that’s exactly what will happen in this tournament.
“I haven’t really thought about who I’ll face. All the lads in the tournament are incredible fighters, so any of them (will do).
“I don’t really have one I’ve picked that I want to face. I’m just confident of beating whoever.”
That another’s thing the bantamweight top four have in common – confidence. Stick it alongside obscene amounts of talent and every one of them has a right to believe they have what it takes to lift the trophy at some point next year.
It’s Burnett, though, who has Ireland behind him. Let’s not forget that. In the boxing business, an edge like that, an edge like Ireland, can be crucial.