Quest for Redemption for Tramaine Williams
“Wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope and redemption, not because readers like happy endings, but because I am an optimist at heart. I know the sun will rise in the morning, that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.” – Michael Morpurgo
The path for redemption is never easy. Neither is battling misconceptions. Optimism and the pursuit of dreams, in spite of set-backs and roadblocks is what makes the spoils of victory that much sweeter. That’s ultimately what the undefeated Tramaine “The Mighty Midget” Williams (19-0, 6 KO’s) is searching for.
The New Haven, Conn. native and former 10-time national amateur champion, is fresh off a victory over tough contender Yenifel “El Rayo” Vincente (35-4-2, 27 KO’s), earning his fourth victory in as many fights in the year 2019.
“I’m trying to show, that I’m the most active fighter on the world class level,” said Williams in reference to his level of activity.
“I know people point at Tevin Farmer and say he is the most active world class fighter out there. I want to show I’m the most active. Before I went in (jail for probation violation) last year, I had five fights. With the fight with (Yenifel) Vincente, I’ll have four fights so far for the year. If I’m feeling good after the fight and I don’t have any injuries, I can fight a couple more times this year.”
Williams is now in possession of the WBO-NABO Super Bantam Title, along with the USBA Bantam Title. A world title is now in sight, after defeating Vincente – who entered the match-up, stopping 9 of the last 10 opponents faced.
“I’ve never fought anyone so strong,” said Williams. “Vicente is a great boxer, and this was a fight I will learn and get better from. I’m proud of the way I competed, and I look forward to the next fight where I will show off my full potential.”
“Yenifel Vicente is one tough customer, and Tramaine continued his amazing journey with an impressive victory against him,” said Roc Nation Sports boxing promoter Dino Duva.
“He showed great heart withstanding a barrage of bombs (including many low blows) from Vicente. If the Mighty Midget continues working hard and stays on course, I’m convinced he will fight and win a world title soon.”
As of August 1, 2019, Williams is not listed in the top 15 for as a challenger for one of the coveted alphabet world titles. But with his recent acquisition of regional belts, along with continued constant activity, Williams should be in line for a world title opportunity sooner than later.
Especially considering, the guy he just defeated (Yenifel), was ranked No. 6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and ranked No. 13 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF). Williams has expressed interest in any of the current world champions.
Sanctioning body Reign began Champion Record Defenses
WBA September 3, 2017 Daniel Roman 27–2–1 (10 KO’s) 4
WBC February 25, 2017 Rey Vargas 34–0–0 (22 KO’s) 5
IBF April 26, 2019 Daniel Roman 27–2–1 (10 KO’s) 0
WBO December 8, 2018 Emanuel Navarrete 27–1–0 (23 KO’s) 1
*Brandon Figueroa (19-0, 14 KO’s) is the interim title holder for the WBA.
With the path towards the world title taking shape, Williams realizes he can’t take things for granted and wants to optimize every opportunity.
“I’m a contender now. 2018 would have been my year, but I think 2019 is going to be my year and I say that because I’m not going back to jail ever again.”
Williams is a pleasant person to interact with and very insightful. One of the points Williams emphasized, is he is a good person.
“I am a good person, sometimes, good people make bad decisions. I don’t want people to think of me as a bad person. I made a few mistakes.”
Williams was arrested on Jan. 23, 2014, a few days before he was scheduled to fight at Madison Square Garden. He pleaded guilty of possession of an assault weapon and narcotics. He was sentenced to 28 months and served about a year between Cheshire Correctional Institution and a halfway house.
Williams made the best of his situation however, earning his GED during that time and eventually returning to boxing, picking up a win in 2015 and five wins in 2017.
He recaptured momentum and just as he was building towards that coveted title shot, it quickly came crashing down after heading back to jail in 2018 – due to a violation of probation.
“It was violation of probation, failure to report to the program, four days after I fought,” Williams said.
Williams said he was given 18 months, but was released after serving six.
There’s a famous quote referenced earlier, from the movie, A Bronx Tale, which Williams now abides by.
Perhaps living by this quote stems from Williams acknowledging his talent and possessing self-awareness to analyze his experiences and possessing the will to do better.
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever” – Chazz Palminteri.
Another quote or mantra Williams may thrive under, is one echoed by current WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO’s).
Speak it, believe it and receive it.
Misconceptions are hard to erase and the path of redemption for some people, may be a mission predicated more so on self-fulfillment, as opposed to proving a point to outsiders peeking in.
Tramaine Williams doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. However, he carries the city of New Haven on his back, along with the hopes and well wishes of the friends (who are more like family) made while he was locked away in jail.
He owes it to himself to capitalize on the potential he has not just as a professional boxer, but as a good person. Williams is on the right track and we’ll see if the path leads to the world title and other spoils he is seeking.
Boxing Insider Interview with Tramaine Williams
By: Ben Sutherland
The stadium is still filling up at the Mandalay Bay Hotel Events Center and neither Ward nor Kovalev have yet arrived for their much hyped rematch. The Sky Sports and HBO broadcasts have started and whilst the stadium is nearly empty, a large TV audience has tuned in to watch the up and coming fighters on the undercard. Tramaine Williams walks to the ring. The 5’4’’ featherweight contender has a spring in his step. His opponent, Christopher Martin, is older and far more experienced than Williams. Martin’s ring resume is a who’s who of the featherweight division featuring the likes of Garry Russell Jr.
Photo Credit: Beau Moran
The first bell goes, Williams is clearly completely unfazed by the credentials of his opponent and rushes to meet him in the middle of the ring. From the opening exchanges of the fight it becomes apparently obvious that this fight is only ending one way. With one minute left in the second round, Kenny Bayless jumps in and stops the fight. Martin protests the decision but Bayless had no choice, Martin simply had no answer for William’s onslaught. To the Sky Sports commentary team and anyone else watching, it has just been made very clear that Tramaine Williams is the real deal.
Jay Z and his team at Roc Nation also saw the future champion in Williams and signed him in January 2016. With that type of support Williams has gone from strength to strength and has comfortably won his four subsequent fights whilst also quickly gaining experience and profile.
Williams began boxing at the age of nine, accumulating an impressive amateur record of 97-10. Williams was a ten-time national amateur champion as well as a two-time Ringside World champion and a four-time Silver Gloves champion. At just 19 years old, Williams decided to turn professional. After making easy work of his first nine opponents and making it clear his amateur pedigree had converted itself to the professional ranks, Williams’s life took a turn for the worst.
Just two days before a scheduled fight at Madison Square Garden, police raided his grandmother’s home where Williams was asleep. Police found a tec-9 automatic pistol and drugs in the residence and arrested Williams. Williams was later sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison.
Williams openly admits that he was on a bad path and prison may well have saved him.
Emerging from prison he was a new man. Whilst inside, Williams got his GED and got his life back on track. Williams is now more motivated than ever. Now teamed up with trainer Mike Conroy and strength and conditioning coach Tina Murray, Williams has been on the war path and there has been a trail of destruction left in his wake. If the world needed any further indication of Williams’s talent, an explosive knockout victory over William Gonzalez, leaving Gonzalez motionless on the canvas, put it beyond doubt that Williams is the future of the featherweight division.
Following his most recent win over Derrick Murray, thoughts turn to what is next for Williams. The 24 year old, known as the Mighty Midget, is surely just around the corner from a world title shot. Williams’s speed and power make him a horrific voluntary defense for the likes of Garry Russel Jr, Leo Santa Cruz and Lee Selby. As a result, he turn out to be a victim of his own talent and find himself having to fight to a voluntary positon.
However, with his indisputable talent and the backing of Roc Nation, it’s not if Tramaine Williams becomes a world champion, but when. Williams is continues his journey in December when he next returns to the ring.