Liam Wilson leads next generation of Australian stars

THE future of Australian boxing looks bright.

The domestic boxing scene has gone through a number of peaks and valleys in recent times, but the start of 2020 has shone a light on some of this country’s brightest prospects.

If the results are anything to go by — Australian boxing is in a healthy place.

Speaking with The Unofficial Scorecard podcast, Aus-Boxing’s Editor-in-Chief Brock Ellis was quick to point out that two fighters in particular are fast becoming must-see attractions.

The likes of unbeaten pair Liam Wilson and Liam Paro are unlikely to be resonate with all, but according to Ellis, both men have shown the skills and potential to become household names in this country.

Silky super featherweight Wilson (6-0, 4 KOs) scored the biggest win of his short career against Venezuelan Jesus Cuadro (18-6, 14 KOs) last month, and the performance has sparked rapid interest in the 23-year-old, considering the brutal manner in which he folded Cuadro.

Ellis spoke at length about the magnitude of the victory, highlighting the skill set of the hard-hitting Queenslander.

“I’ve been very public about the narrative that I thought was the clear storyline here,” he told The Unofficial Scorecard.

“I think we’re now in a privileged spot where we can now build our prospects to a point where we’ll find out the level that they’re at pretty quickly as opposed to these people sort of emerging out of nowhere.

“With Liam I was very clear in the fact that I don’t think an Australian with under ten fights has had a fight of that magnitude since Jeff Horn fought Naoufel Ben Rabah, which was his seventh fight.

“Even though Ben Rabah was fairly more credentialed than Cuadro, I think that was the litmus test, so to speak. I thought that if that was a fight that Liam Wilson was willing to take, and if he was able to win, and in my mind I thought maybe a competitive points decision, then he’s going to be a star for the future.

“What he’s done instead is just completely stole the show first of all. He really showed that we now have a legitimate platform to build a star.”

Wilson’s thunderous left hook was enough to seperate Cuadro from his senses, with the stoppage becoming the first in a 24-fight career that has included bouts against world class opposition such as reigning IBF titleholder Joseph Diaz and Diego Magdaleno.

The manner in which Wilson stopped his opponent and the fanfare that has afforded has undoubtedly unearthed Wilson as a star of the future, as Ellis explains.

“I had people with no interest in boxing who were asking me about this result,” Ellis said.

“The official clip that Main Event released had well over 100,000 organic views on Facebook within 48 hours and I think that goes to show that he’s the real deal and that’s probably the best way to put it.”

Ellis was also very complimentary of the world class power that Wilson wields, prompting what he admits is a ‘rich comparison’ to former middlweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin.

“When I watch Liam’s pad work and in particular how he works the heavy bag, I think the way he turns his left hook reminds me a lot,” he explained.

“I know this is going to be a very rich comparison but there’s a GGG element with how he turns his elbow in with the hook. My initial assumption was that it’s a very amateur style way to throw a left hook as your feet aren’t really planted.

“He leans in and when he forces his arm down, the momentum that he’s throwing, none of it’s coming off his back foot and he’s not leveraging his weight at all.

“I originally thought maybe thats just a way for him to work on punch output and not really worry about trying to really put any power on it. It just goes to show that the way he throws it in practice is the exact same way he throws it in fight simulation.

“The shot that he hit Cuadro with, his feet weren’t entirely under him, he wasn’t sitting on his back foot, he wasn’t pivoting at all and he sort of just turned it off his shoulder and it was enough to completely fold Cuadro and remove him from senses.

“So I think it goes to show there is a lot of raw natural power that he must carry because he was knocking out people in the amateurs as well.

“I initially thought maybe it was quality of opposition but it’s definitely not and I think what he’s got in his left hook is a genuine eraser which a lot of fighters lack at that level.”

Much like his namesake, the aforementioned Paro (19-0, 12 KOs) is a name that Ellis has been keeping a keen eye on for some time now, and his recent run of form has him convinced that he’s ready to break into the broader mainstream as a fighter.

“I have a very keen eye on the development of Liam Paro,” Ellis said.

“I think Paro is somewhat of an unknown quantity purely for the fact that it’s been really hard to bring real quality level opposition over here, but now with his third win over an unbeaten opponent, I think he’s showed that he’s arrived.

“We can now really start to ramp up that conversation about a fight against Jack Catterall. Liam is such a polished and silky smooth southpaw and his boxing IQ is really clear to see.

“You can watch him really methodically break guys down with his jab, which is really smooth and the way he really leads in with his left hand; he does so many things that make him unique.

“It would be nice to really reinforce the message that Liam is here to stay. I’d like to see him against maybe one more opponent of that level with names that spring to mind like Ohara Davies and to a lesser extent Daud Yordan.

“Someone that we know the quality they present which will reinforce that he’s really on that world level.

“One more fight like that would really build his profile, maybe give him that Main Event platform before we jump straight into a fight like Jack Catterall and whether that fight happens here or in London it’s now a fight that now seems like a very realistic thing.”

Words: Dan Attias/Follow Dan on Twitter
Photo: Marty’s Knockout Photography