Liam Williams: British champion 'not ready for world title shot'
New British light-middleweight boxing champion Liam Williams will not be rushed into a world title fight, says trainer Gary Lockett.
The 23-year-old added the British belt to his Commonwealth title on Saturday by beating Kris Carslaw in two rounds.
Williams was fighting for the first time in 13 months after overcoming a career-threatening hand injury.
"Let's be realistic. Liam's had 14 fights and has not been passed eight rounds," said Lockett.
"That's testament to the power he's got in his hands, but I'd like to see him going into the later rounds once or twice."
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Welshman Williams produced a stunning display to win the British belt in Manchester, knocking Scotland's Carslaw unconscious after only six seconds of round two with a left jab to the temple.
"I was always confident he was going to win, but I didn't think it would be as early as that," added Lockett, a former WBU middleweight champion.
"It was a remarkable shot to finish it, which showed Liam's timing and judgement of distance."
'More mature and hungrier'
This was Williams' first test since having two hand operations that threatened to end his career just as it began to take off.
Lockett says Williams has matured while dealing with the experience, while also making him hungrier for success.
"At one point he thought he was never going to fight again so the old adage of you don't know what you've got until it's gone certainly applied to him," he said.
"I don't think he realised how much he loved boxing until he thought it was going to be taken away from him."
A 'barnstormer' for 2016
Liam Smith, who defended his WBO title against Jimmy Kelly on the same bill in Manchester, has been touted as a possible next opponent for Williams.
Both fighters are promoted by Frank Warren, suggesting the fight would be a formality to arrange.
Smith, though, could have his sights on unifying the division, and Lockett feels Williams has time on his hands before stopping up to that level.
"I wouldn't fancy it yet, but if it builds over the course of the next two or three fights and the money's right, how can you turn it down? You can't," he said.
"When we decide to go for it then I'm confident Liam Williams will come out as a world champion.
"When it does happen it will be an absolute barnstormer, something to look forward to in late 2016."