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Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams Wants Lara-Zerafa Winner, Carlos Adames Or Janibek Alimkhanuly

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Austin Williams considered Connor Coyle and the opponent that replaced him on less than one week’s notice, Armel Mbumba-Yassa, steps down in opposition from Steve Rolls, the Canadian contender he soundly defeated on points in the bout before he dropped Mbumba-Yassa twice and beat him by seventh-round technical knockout Saturday in Las Vegas.

Now that the unbeaten southpaw stopped Germany’s Mbumba-Yassa (10-1, 7 KOs), Williams is certain he is ready for steps up from Rolls. The 27-year-old Milwaukee native, who is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, wants to face the top opposition within the middleweight division as soon as possible.

“Janibek, I want him,” Williams told BoxingScene.com. “He’s on my list. Carlos Adames, I think realistically, that’s who’s gonna have the WBC belt. He’s on my list. And then the winner of [Michael] Zerafa and Erislandy [Lara], which I really think is gonna be Erislandy, I want those guys. That’s definitely my list.”

Cuba’s Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) is scheduled to make a mandated defense of his WBA middleweight title against Australia’s Zerafa (31-4, 19 KOs) on March 30 in Las Vegas. Lara-Zerafa will be part of the Tim Tszyu-Keith Thurman pay-per-view undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Williams (16-0, 11 KOs) is the WBA’s third-ranked contender for Lara’s title, below only Zerafa and second-ranked Elijah Garcia (16-0, 13 KOs). The Houston resident is also the IBF’s sixth-ranked challenger for one of Janibek Alimkhanuly’s titles, but Williams realizes he might need more leverage before he could secure a fight with Kazakhstan’s Alimkhanuly (15-0, 10 KOs), who also owns the WBO belt.

“The WBA belt is the belt that I’m closest to, the belt that is the most accessible for me to fight for,” Williams said. “So, the winner of Michael Zerafa and Erislandy Lara, I’ve been top ranked with the WBA for over a year, since 2022, so I just feel like I’m gonna get the call to fight Erislandy or Michael Zerafa.

“I think Janibek is in the lead because he has two belts, and I don’t know if he’ll take a very high-risk fight without me having something to offer as well. So, I just think, realistically, from a business standpoint, I would have to snatch up that WBA belt to call him out.”

Williams, who is ranked fifth by the WBC, also sees Adames as an appealing alternative to the Lara-Zerafa winner and Alimkhanuly. The Dominican Republic’s Adames (23-1, 18 KOs) owns the WBC interim title, but he could be elevated if WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo (33-0, 22 KOs) moves up to the 168-pound division to challenge Canelo Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) for the Mexican icon’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles May 4 in Las Vegas.

“With the WBC belt,” Williams said, “if what they’re saying about Charlo fighting Canelo is true, I think Carlos Adames is gonna wind up getting that belt. And I think that’s a great fight for me.”

Williams isn’t interested in rescheduling his bout with Coyle (20-0, 9 KOs), who is ranked fifth among the WBA’s middleweight contenders. Northern Ireland’s Coyle withdrew from their 12-round WBA elimination match on short notice due to an elbow he sustained during training camp.

“I’ve developed to a point now,” Williams said, “where I believe the smart move for me and my team and for Matchroom Boxing is to start letting me really roll the dice and put it on the line and continue to, you know, keep that same really fast-rising trajectory that I’ve been on my entire career.”

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

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