Liam's "sharp, healthy and can't wait"

Published 6:00am 20 March 2024

Liam's "sharp, healthy and can't wait"
Words by Nick Crockford

Pictured above: Liam Wilson with his trainer Ben Harrington.

Liam Wilson’s team have “left no stone unturned” ahead of next week’s showdown with former world Champion Oscar Valdez.

And the winner on March 30 (AEST) will be in pole position for the WBO Junior Lightweight crown, if it is relinquished by Emanuel Navarette.

Wilson – born in Redcliffe, lives at Caboolture and trains with All Star Boxing Academy (ASB), Lawnton – has been in Las Vegas for four weeks’ intense preparation.

Trainer Ben Harrington, who runs ASB, told the Boxing Deep Dive podcast with former Australian Olympic boxer Lyndon Hosking: “The training camp is going amazing”.

“It’s a cliché, but it has been his (Wilson’s) best. No injuries and the sparring’s fabulous. Liam’s nice and sharp, healthy and can’t wait.”

That’s a far cry from Wilson’s controversial defeat by junior lightweight world champion Navarette, in the same Glendale arena, where he will face 33-year-old Valdez.

Navarette was knocked down in round four and given a 27-second count, rather than 10, after losing his mouthguard.

Wilson said on the No Limit Boxing podcast his aim was to give Valdez the "hardest fight of his life".

"I'm going to box smart and I'm sure it will turn it into a proper war. Deep down he's a Mexican warrior and that will come out some point."

Wilson’s camp was furious at the weigh-in when the 28-year-old came in much lighter than when they checked 30 minutes earlier. Navarette was spot on the fight limit.

Manager Glenn Jennings told Boxing Deep Dive: “When you have an experience like Navarette, the great thing you can do is learn. We’ve put things in place.

“We’ll have the right people and make sure Liam gets protected from all that nonsense. I would be very disappointed to see anything like that again.”

Jennings said if Wilson (13 wins, 2 defeats) beats Valdez (31 wins, 2 defeats) on March 30 (AEST) he will become interim champion.

World junior lightweight champion Navarette is reportedly fighting Denys Berinchyk in mid-May for the WBO lightweight title. If Navarette wins he will have to decide which belt he keeps.

If Navarette stays at the higher class, there’s "every chance" by mid-May Wilson could be full WBO world champion. "Then the whole world changes,” Jennings said.

Wilson is nearing the end of 12-week’s preparation to fight Valdez and trainer Ben Harrington said on Boxing Deep Dive he expects to see “the best version of Liam Wilson, thus far.”

However, Beck Hawker, the former Caboolture resident who trained at Caboolture Boxing Club, has been forced to pulled out of a fight next week due to illness.

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