Demetrius Andrade-Liam Williams Probable For February In Providence, Says Hearn

Demetrius Andrade’s first fight since January 30 had been scheduled for Friday night in Hollywood, Florida.

The unbeaten WBO middleweight champion’s layoff was prolonged once his optional opponent, Dusty Hernandez-Harrison, contracted COVID-19 and withdrew from their scheduled 12-round fight on the Daniel Jacobs-Gabe Rosado undercard. Eddie Hearn, Andrade’s promoter, now anticipates Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) will return to the ring in February to make his mandated championship defense against England’s Liam Williams.

Hearn expects an Andrade-Williams fight to headline a card DAZN would stream from an undetermined venue in Andrade’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.

“So, he was due to fight Dusty Harrison,” Hearn explained during a virtual conference call Tuesday to promote the Jacobs-Rosado card. “He got COVID. We looked at some replacements for Demetrius. And to be honest, he just said, ‘Look, I just wanna be in big fights now and great fights.’ So, you know, he’s looking for that standout fight. He wants the Billy Joe Saunders fight. And I think if Billy Joe Saunders doesn’t get Canelo Alvarez in May, it will be Andrade against Saunders, probably up at 168.

“But he also has a mandatory [defense] against Liam Williams. So, that’s who he will fight next, Liam Williams, subject to Andrade landing a major fight. And that will be in February, hopefully with crowds back in Providence.”

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Williams (23-2-1, 18 KOs) knocked out Andrew Robinson (24-5-1, 7 KOs) in the first round of his most recent fight, October 10 in Stratford, England. The 28-year-old Williams, the WBO’s number two-ranked challenger for Andrade’s 160-pound championship, has won seven consecutive bouts by knockout or technical knockout since losing a 12-round majority decision to countryman Liam Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) in November 2017 in Newcastle, England.

In Andrade’s most recent bout, the skillful southpaw stopped Irish underdog Luke Keeler (17-3-1, 5 KOs) in the ninth round January 30 in Miami.

England’s Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) is set to make the second defense of his WBO super middleweight title December 4. He’ll encounter another Brit, Martin Murray (39-5-1, 17 KOs), in a 12-round main event DAZN will stream from Wembley Arena in London.

Saunders was supposed to make a mandatory defense of the WBO middleweight crown against Andrade in October 2018 at TD Garden in Boston.

The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission denied Saunders’ request for a boxing license prior to that bout once he tested positive for a banned substance. The WBO later stripped Saunders of that championship.

Andrade instead out-pointed Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa (18-2, 17 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder to win the then-vacant WBO middleweight title. The 2008 U.S. Olympian has since defended that title three times.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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