In July, Liam Davies cemented his position as the best super-bantamweight in Europe with a stunning first-round victory over Jason Cunningham. Meanwhile, on Saturday night (November 18) the 27-year-old defends his EBU strap against Italy’s Vincenzo La Femina.
In this interview with Boxing News the Telford boxer talks about his addiction to training, the win over Cunningham, and a possible fight against Dennis McCann. He also gives his opinion on whether Naoya Inoue is the Fighter of the Year.
(Interview by Shaun Brown)
BN: Are you looking forward to Saturday?
LD: Yeah, counting down the days. Like a kid at Christmas.
BN: Is that how you feel with every fight?
LD: Yeah. I love it. I know everyone has to say that, but it’s all I’ve ever done. I love it. The training’s hard but the excitement’s there, knowing what I’ve done and the work I’ve put in. Counting down the days.
BN: What would you say is your favourite thing about training and what do you dislike about it the most?
LD: Favourite part about training, really, is just getting it done. It’s hard work. Honestly, I train so hard. I’m addicted to it. I always try and tell myself I’ll have time off after, but I struggle to. It’s very addictive. It’s knowing that you’ve done the hard work, and the end is the best bit. Years ago, when I was an amateur – even starting my pro career – it never used to be this comfortable because I never used to put this much work in and now that I do it’s a lot more relaxing and comforting knowing I’m so ready. The dieting’s hard; it’s the same for every boxer. Near the end I always got sick of it and then you have a couple of weeks where you eat what you want, and you get sick of that. That’s just life, isn’t it? You’re never happy with something. Something’s got to change. I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll be wanting to diet again, but right now I’m looking forward to a fat burger and a pizza.
BN: Do you think you’ll eventually move up to featherweight?
LD: Yeah. I just weighed myself this morning (Monday) and I’m nine stone and not hungry. I haven’t had a time, touch wood, where I’ve struggled too much. Maybe not anytime soon but, yeah, definitely I’d like to move up. I’d like to win a world title first before I do and chase a world title at featherweight. I think I’m big enough to.
BN: Vincenzo La Femina is your next opponent and unbeaten like yourself. Do you know much about him?
LD: No, I don’t know much about him. I watched a bit of him. Just another name, another person, another man in the opposite corner I’ve got to get rid of. I’m coming to do it in style and I’m very, very confident I will.
BN: Did the way you beat Jason Cunningham shock you?
LD: No, it didn’t shock me. It might have shocked other people because I did two 12-rounders against the two previous guys. But in the first one, the [Marc] Leach fight, my first 12-rounder, I had a bit of an injury and then in the [Ionut] Baluta fight I hurt my hand; which I’ve seen everyone do that has fought him.
BN: He must have a hard head then.
LD: Yeah, and to me it was a boring fight against Baluta. People say it’s a great win, but I don’t think I boxed that great. It was just because you have to box to a plan. It’s not very entertaining but that was the way to win. I knew the Cunningham one would be the one where I stepped back and showed that I am strong and very big for the weight. This camp I’ve been sparring guys and, honestly, I know the power is there. I hope that Femina’s ready for that. “La Lie Down” I’m going to call him because I don’t know his second name. I don’t even know his name.
BN: Do you think you’ll be boxing to a plan on Saturday or doing something a bit similar to last time against Cunningham.
LD: Yeah, course, there’s always a plan to make it smooth. And the main thing is doing it smooth and looking nice and looking good. It’s if he can keep up. We’ll see. I hope so and I hope I get a good few rounds in because I trained hard for 12 rounds. I’ve been sparring 12 rounds, [doing] 12 rounds on the body bag, and I’ve been doing big runs. Like with Cunningham, I feel the same for this one. I’m on fire and feel a million dollars. I hope this guy’s got big cojones and a big heart because he genuinely will need them on Saturday.
BN: This year there has been talk that eventually you and Dennis McCann will fight. His last fight ended in a technical draw after nine rounds against Baluta. The performance wasn’t what he or people expected. Is the McCann fight one you still want?
LD: It’s hard, isn’t it, because it’s a fight I’d like because everyone thought he was the best. I feel like I am. With his fight [against Baluta], it’s pretty clear who is the number one. People can say what they want but I just wanted to prove I am the number one and the next world champion. Now that’s been proved, I’d like the world title fight and hopefully next year it’ll work out. It’s out of my hands and what will be, will be. What will come, will come. I’ve just got to keep winning. That’s my plan and then we go from there. I’m sure it’ll be a big fight if it happens. The way I look at it is the last proper great super-bantamweight from Great Britain was Carl Frampton. I’m just looking to stamp my name as the next one.
BN: What did you think of Frampton as a fighter?
LD: Very good. I watched all his fights: Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg, when he beat Kiko Martinez for the world title. He was very good. Like I say, I’m trying to stamp my name in the books. He won a world title in his hometown, that was great, and then he went to America for the big fights. That’s our plan, to push for them, and I don’t think we’re far off.
BN: On Boxing Day there’s a big fight in your division between Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales. If Inoue wins, would you make him Fighter of the Year or someone else?
LD: Nah. Terence Crawford is for me. You’d have to put Inoue second. But the magnitude of Crawford’s fight [against Errol Spence] and at the weight class… beating Spence is a lot bigger. I wanted the Tapales fight myself. I’d have loved that. Southpaw, I love southpaws. But I get why he’s gone for the Inoue fight because it makes sense.
BN: How do you see it all panning out for you in 2024? Are you wanting to wait and see what happens with Inoue or are you impatient and want your shot now?
LD: Of course, I want my shot. It’s the only thing I haven’t got, the world title. I’ve won everything underneath it that’s as good as you can win. Obviously, I know Inoue’s a massive ask and I’d probably have an easier time winning a world title without him, but money talks. I’m not say it’s going to happen but, if it come around, I’d take my chance. We’ll see. If I was him, looking at him as a fighter, I think he can beat the featherweight world champions. Why not move up? I don’t think anyone’s ever done three-weight undisputed. And if someone was going to do it, you’d have to make him [Inoue] the favourite to do it. It’s all out of my hands. I’m guessing next year at some point he’ll move up. I’ll just keep fighting and winning until I get my shot. I’d like a big one after this, someone in the top 10; Sam Goodman or one of the Americans. I’d like something big because I feel like I’ve earned it. And that’s where people will be unsure, and I get to prove them wrong.