Wilson dreams of delivering on title promise to dad

February 03, 2023 09:50 AM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Liam Wilson speaks to his father regularly, but not this week.

After promising him in one of their final conversations more than 10 years ago that he'd deliver a world boxing title, Wilson's going to wait until he's won in Phoenix on Friday night before he bothers him.

The Queensland knock-out artist's commitment to his late father Pete has driven an underdog career to within reach of the summit after just 12 professional fights. 

His low-profile ascent means a WBO super featherweight defeat of overwhelming favourite Emanuel Navarrete would be one of the country's greatest world title upsets.

Navarrete has won 31 fights on the trot, his sole professional loss in 37 bouts coming more than 10 years ago. 

The task appeared to be made tougher after Thursday's weigh-in, Wilson accusing the Mexican's camp of tampering with the scales to ensure he made weight. 

But Wilson still has the confidence of a man expecting to win. 

He has even declared his faith in the judges to award him a victory on points, rather than relying on a stoppage, based on his belief he's a superior boxer to the two-division world champion.

"Every time I'm in the ring, my dad is with me and I feel like this is all just meant to happen," the 26-year-old father of two said.

"It almost feels normal ... I'm going to win this fight."

He often lies in bed in conversation with his father, but says this week he's held back.

"I've been a bit quiet because I want to just to let him know I won," he said.

"I'll let him know on fight night that I won."

Beginning as an $18 long shot that's since firmed, a Wilson win would be at least akin to that of fellow Queenslander Jeff Horn's shock defeat of Manny Pacquiao in 2017.

Wilson's camp have likened the 28-year-old Navarrete to Horn, given his tough and awkward style.

Top Rank's hall of fame promoter Bob Arum, who was there when Horn lifted his arms at Suncorp Stadium a champion, offered a glimmer of hope to the Australian. 

"I remember Jeff's win and that's why they do the fights, otherwise they'd just let the odds makers make the odds and then we wouldn't have to watch," he said.

"Everybody says Wilson's a really good fighter but Navarrete, as far as I'm concerned, is something special.

"When you fight one of these tough Mexican guys you really have your hands full."


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