Austin “Ammo” Williams Signs With Matchroom
By: Sean Crose
“My goal is to be the greatest, most influential fighter of all time!”
So says Houston’s Austin “Ammo” Williams, who – it’s been announced today, via press release – has signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing. “Eddie Hearn noticed my talent,” the fighter says, “and provided me the platform needed to make this a reality – for that I am forever thankful and I cannot wait to strut my stuff live on DAZN.”
“Former Team USA member and #1 ranked 165lber Williams is the latest amateur talent to pen promotional terms with promoter Eddie Hearn,” Matchroom claims, via press release, “and the 22 year old Houston talent brings a formidable body of work into the paid ranks.” Williams, has twice been a USA Boxing Western Regional Champion, as well as a two time Houston Golden Gloves Champion. He was also named Gulf Association’s Most Outstanding Boxer in 2017. Such an amateur resume has made the fighter a hot commodity as he prepares to enter the pro ranks.
“I’m delighted,” says Hearn, “to welcome Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams to the Matchroom Boxing USA team. Ammo is one of the most exciting young amateur fighters I have seen and in just 47 amateur fights has established himself at #1 in his weight class.” Williams is said to compete at middleweight with the possibility of moving up to super middleweight. At the moment, the DAZN streaming service airs the fights of Canelo Alvarez, Demetrius Andrade, Daniel Jacobs, and (possibly) Gennady Golovkin.
“He is a huge puncher and has all the attributes to be a star in the sport,” says Hearn. “We look forward to keeping him nice and busy why he learns his trade all around the world…we are assembling the strongest young team of fighters in America and I’m excited to watch them all grow live on DAZN at home and in the UK on Sky Sports.”
William’s management team is also happy with the signing. “Austin Williams possesses all the qualities you want in a fighter,” Churchill Management’s Sam Katkovski says. “Beyond his viciousness in the ring, he will amaze fans with his personality and quickly become must see tv. We at Churchill are excited to partner with Matchroom Boxing USA to begin his career journey.” Williams, according to Matchroom, will “join (the) paid ranks in April.” No opponent or overall schedule has been named in the Matchroom press release.
Jimmy “Quiet Storm” Williams: “I’m Always Going To Come To Fight”
By: Sean Crose
“I’m always going to come to fight,” 16-1-1 super welterweight Jimmy “Quiet Storm” Williams tells me. An engaging, easy to speak to individual, Williams is moving towards top ten contention by facing 22-1 Mark DeLuca on at the House of Blues in Boston on March 16th. Eager to take his career “one step at a time,” Williams says a win on Saturday will place him “number 10 in the world (in the WBA rankings).” In other words, the future will start looking extremely bright should the New Haven native emerge victorious in Boston this coming Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.
In DeLuca, Williams will be facing a Massachusetts native who will essentially be the hometown fighter. Williams, however, feels he knows his opponent well, having actually commentated one of DeLuca’s previous fights. “I know he dominated,” Williams says of the experience, “I did the commentary.” Although he’s seen the man look impressive in the ring, Williams still exudes confidence, saying he’s “just preparing for the big fight on March 16th.” What’s more, Williams has fought outside of his home state of Connecticut before, having branched out to such places as nearby Rhode Island and far away Las Vegas.
“Camp is going good,” he says of training in East Haven. He will continue going strong until “about two weeks” before the fight, when his physical preparation will begin to taper down. In the meantime, Williams is staying focused on winning the NABA/WBA Super Welterweight title, which will be at stake when he faces DeLuca. “I’m just going out there to do what I do,” he says, adding he’s happy to “let the fight take care of itself.” Being overeager to impress, after all, can lead to disastrous consequences. The important thing is to get the win and move on to bigger things.
Williams wants to stay busy this year. “At least a minimum of three, but if I can squeeze it, four,” he says of the number of bouts he wants to have in 2019. Although he’s fought at welterweight, Williams is happy being a division above the 147 pound realm. “Right now I’m going to stay at 154,” he says. “There’s a lot of good names out there.”
I ask Williams if his engaging personality can help further his career. “It’s huge,” he says of the marketing aspect of the sport. “No one can promote you like yourself.”
Philadelphia’s Julian “J Rock” Williams Gearing for Another Title Shot
By: Ken Hissner
Philadelphia’s Julian “J Rock” Williams is gearing for WBO & IBF titles. He is ranked No. 3 in the WBO and No. 6 in the IBF. His only loss was to Jermall Charlo now the interim WBC world champion in December of 2016.
In Williams most recent fight he defeated No. 5 IBF and No. 12 WBC contender Nathaniel Gallimore, 20-1-1, on April 7th by majority decision at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, despite being cut by an accidental clash of heads.
Latest rumor is Williams may be fighting against No. 2 ranked Takeshi Inoue, 13-0-1 (7), in an elimination to meet Jarred Hurd who is coming off the injury list.
Williams is trained by Stephen “Breadman” Edwards and trains at the James Schuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia. As an amateur Williams always had that determination to “hurt” his opponents by throwing punches with “bad intentions!” I think he has carried that over to the professional ranks.
After turning professional in May of 2010 he won his first six fights before drawing with Francisco Santana, 12-2, at the time. In his last fight in April Santana defeated Felix Diaz 19-2, and is now 25-6-1.
After the draw Williams won his next seven fights including defeating Joey Hernandez, then 24-2, and Luciano Leonel Cuello, then 35-3 for the WBC Continental Americas title. He had a no contest in the fourth round due to an accidental head butt after winning the first three rounds on all score cards against Hugo Centeno, Jr., then 19-0. Centeno’s camp would not give Williams a rematch per Williams. In Centeno’s most recent fight he was stopped by Jermall Charlo in April dropping his record to 26-2.
Williams then won his next nine fights before the Charlo loss. He’s won his last three fights including defeating Ishe Smith, then 29-8 in November of 2017.
I remember when Philadelphia’s then unbeaten Mike “MJ” Jones and Williams would spar and you didn’t know who was who because it was that even of a typical “Philly gym war” like the old days.
The contenders ahead of Williams in the IBF were Gallimore and Maciej Sulecki, 26-1, after losing to Danny Jacobs the end of April. That only leaves Kanat Slam who is No. 3 since No. 1 and 2 are vacant. I cannot find Slam in Box Rec. IBF & WBA Champion Jarrett Hurd won a split decision in his most recent defense over Erislandy Lara who was No. 4 in the WBA. Williams should be in line for Hurd’s next defense.
In the WBC where Williams is No. 1 Jermell Charlo is the champion. In the WBO No. 3 but No. 1 Liam Smith, just lost to WBO champion Jaime Mingiae and No. 2 is Ireland’s Dennis “Hurricane” Hogan, 27-1-1, fighting out of Australia. Williams could fight an eliminator with Hogan in order to get a title fight with champion Mungia.
Mykquan Williams Takes Next Step in Career
By: Bryant Romero
Super lightweight prospect Mykquan Williams takes the next step in his young professional career as the 20-year-old sets his sights on capturing his first regional title when he takes on Orlando Felix (12-1-1, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico for the WBC USNBC silver title at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket on May 5. This is considered a step-up bout for Mykquan (10-0, 6 KOs) as the winner of this fight will be rewarded with a ranking in the WBC’s top 40. But the young prospect from East Hartford doesn’t seem to be fazed at all with the established record his opponent brings and admits he doesn’t know too much about him.
“I’ve seen a little footage of him,” Mykquan told me. “On youtube I watched a little bit, but I don’t watch too much. I’ll usually watch a round or something, but I don’t do too much studying.”
Mykquan has been boxing for 12 years and had 58 fights in the unpaid ranks, but how would he describe his style to the fans that have yet to see him?
“I would say I’m more of a counter puncher, very fast, and just smart overall. I can be aggressive, but I’m not overall,” he said.
Mykquan was only 7 years old when he was first influenced by his aunt who was also professional fighter to start training as a boxer. His aunt would later introduce him to his now trainer Paul Cichon that would eventually begin his journey to becoming a professional prize fighter.
“I went to go see one of my aunt’s professional fights at the Convention Center in Hartford and then after that fight I told her to take me to her gym.
“At the time she was training with Paul, so then a little after that she took me to the gym and she introduce me to the Paul and I’ve been with him ever since,” Mykquan said.
Mykquan admits that it took him awhile to fall in love with the sport and to figure out if this was something he wanted to pursue as a career.
“I knew I liked it (boxing) but it took awhile. I was young, I was only 7 going on 8 years old and kids that age they don’t know what they want to do and they don’t know what they really like as far as sports go, so I just liked the sport and kept going back every day to the gym.
“But it took me a little awhile to actually to start to love the sport and figure out whether that’s what I’m going to be doing as a career,” he said.
Growing up in East Hartford, there were temptations that could’ve swayed him away from his path but the young East Hartford native credits his family and his coach for keeping him on his path and pushing him to keep working hard, to stay in the gym and stay out of trouble. He would eventually meet Jackie Kallen, who would eventually sign on as his manager and is currently guiding his professional career.
“I first met Jackie years ago. My trainer flew her in for her to be a special guest at one of his big amateur dinner shows he threw.
“And I was fighting on the card and he (Paul) wanted her to see me fight because he knew I was going to go pro. He introduced me to her when I was probably like 13 or 14.
“She’s a great manager, she does her job good, and she’s a great lady. Definitely somebody that’s good to have in your corner. She’s been around boxing for so long and knows so many people,” Mykquan said.
The 20-year-old now has a strong supporting cast with the services Jackie Kallen as his manager and with Lou Dibella as his promoter that will help guide him to the promise land, which is his ultimate goal of becoming a world champion. But the young prospect from Hartford is only focused at the task at hand and taking it one fight at a time and is not even thinking about the killers at the top of the talented rich super-lightweight division.
“They’ve been doing a good job of moving me,” Mykquan explained. “They’re keeping me active and I’m still young, I’m only 20 there’s no rush into jumping into something I’m not ready for.”
“We’re taking it one fight at a time. We don’t want to rush nothing; we just want to focus on the task in front of us.
“I don’t worry too much that’s in the future. I try to take it one step at a time, but there’s a lot of good talent at 140,” he said.
Mykquan has came a long way since he first started boxing and is still continuing to learn and getting a better understanding of the boxing business. He’s looking forward to his next fight and doesn’t have a prediction of what will happen, but he does plan on winning.
“I just want to go out there and dominate and be victorious,” Mykquan told me. “I don’t care if I get the knockout, it’s a decision or whatever, I just want to look good and come out with the victory.
“To everybody out there that supports me, just continue to support me. I fight for you guys and I appreciate it,” he said.
Showtime Boxing Results: Hurd Wins Thriller Over Lara, Williams and DeGale Victorious
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions put on a triple header on the Showtime networks live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of the evening was between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd and the co-main event of the evening was between James DeGale and Caleb Truax which was a rematch of a mammoth upset in 2017.
The opening bout of the night was between Julian Williams (24-1-1) and Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1) in the junior middleweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be looking at a title shot in the near future.
Julian Williams was a big step up in competition for Nathaniel Gallimore and he stayed behind a strong jab and good side to side movement in the opening three rounds. Gallimore was able to land some shots on the inside, and landed and received some heavy shots in the fourth round.
Williams had a small mouse under his right eye in the fifth round that opened up from an unintentional headbutt. Williams began to focus on the body more in the middle rounds, though he looked a little tired in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Williams body work continued into the seventh, eight, and ninth rounds and it was visibly sapping the energy of Gallimore. Gallimore’s punches didn’t have much snap in the tenth round and Williams had Gallimore badly hurt in the eleventh round and looked close to stopping him.
It was an entertaining fight, with only one questionable scorecard at the end.
The final scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 117-110 in favor of Julian Williams.
After this bout Floyd Mayweather Jr. was interviewed by Showtime and indicated that if he was going to unretire he would fight in the octagon.
The co-main event of the night was between Caleb Truax (29-3-2) and James DeGale (23-2-1) for the IBF Super Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
DeGale showed the quicker hand speed and more accurate in the opening two rounds, but it featured many headbutts that often happen when a southpaw faces an orthodox fighter.
Truax applied heavy pressure in the third round which featured a hard-right hand to the chin of DeGale that sent him falling backwards into the ropes. DeGale had a cut by his right eye that the referee ruled was caused by a punch, but the video replay showed it was caused by a head-butt.
The Nevada commission informed the announce team in the fourth round that the ruling on the cut being caused by a punch still stood despite the video evidence.
Truax continued to come forward in the fourth through sixth rounds while DeGale badly bled. Truax however wasn’t able to land many effective combinations but he was pressing the action.
DeGale started to land some good counters in the seventh round and land some good short shots on the inside. DeGale had a very strong eighth and ninth rounds and often switched to an orthodox stance from his traditional southpaw stance.
Truax had cuts under both of his eyes by the ninth round and appeared to be tiring. DeGale lost a point in the tenth round for a deliberate shoulder strike.
The final two rounds were close and featured some tight action, but DeGale looked like he was landing the better punches.
The final scores were 117-110, 114-113, and 114-113 for James DeGale.
The main event of the night was between Jarrett Hurd (21-0) and Erislandy Lara (25-2-2) for the IBF and WBA Junior Middleweight Titles .
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
Hurd looked like he was two weight classes bigger than Lara, but Lara was able to find a home with his straight left hand early on and land some quick combinations in the second.
Hurd didn’t appear to be too bothered with Lara’s power and was able to land some good short shots on the inside and was making Lara back away from him in the fourth rounds.
Hurd showed he had a granite chin in the fifth round and was able to take the shots of Lara and answer with his own shots to the body. Lara appeared to tire in the sixth rounds as his back was against the ropes again, and he took a hard right hook at the end of the seventh round.
Hurd was able to land some very hard shots in the eighth round and had Lara’s eye puffed up badly in the ninth.
Lara was able to slow Hurd’s momentum in the 10th round with quick counters and being the first on the attack, and he was able to finish the eleventh round strong and maybe steal the round.
The twelfth round featured both boxers going for the knockout, but it was Hurd who landed a shot that sent his opponent to the mat. Lara looked badly hurt and face was swollen, but he was able to survive the round.
The scores were 114-113 Lara, 114-113 Hurd, and 114-113 Hurd.
Junior Welterweight Mykquan Williams Makes His Presence Felt
By: Sean Crose
“I’m taking it one step at a time,” 10-0 junior welterweight Mykquan Williams tells me, “but the ultimate goal is obviously to be world champion.” Williams recently decimated Preston Wilson in the first round of their scheduled six round affair in a performance that has been drawing attention to the Hartford native. “That was my first time fighting in New York as a professional and I enjoyed it,” he says, making it clear he appreciated “the environment and the atmosphere that was there.” Was he planning on making such quick work of Wilson? “It wasn’t my intention,” he states in his soft spoken voice, “but that’s just the way it happened.”
Coming from a challenging background in Hartford, Williams has made a conscious decision to take a better path than some of this peers. “Where I come from,” he says, “the Hartford area, some parts aren’t too great. A lot of kids are sidetracked and they start being into the streets and they start selling drugs, doing drugs, who knows what. I’m a perfect example of taking the right path and making something out of something that wasn’t so great at one point.”
Williams also wants to leave an impact on those younger than him, to “give them some type of hope and see what I’ve been through and what can come out of that instead of turning and going down a wrong path.” Williams has certainly been through a lot, losing both a father (via gun violence) and a home (via a fire) as a young child. Such challenges, however, seem to motivate the man. “How many seven or eight year olds do you know who are really dedicated to the sport?” he asks in reference to his early days in the sweet science.
Williams is well aware of the fact that the road less taken can be an uphill one, at least for a while. “It’s not what a regular teenager is used to,” he says of his routine of training and attending college (where he studies Marketing). “I’m willing to make those sacrifices, though, that a lot of people aren’t.” Being a boxer, after all, requires intense discipline. “For instance,” he says, “training every day doesn’t allow me to sometimes be a kid and go out and hang with friends and things like that. I have to make the sacrifice of going to the gym and training instead of going to a basketball game or going out to eat with friends.”
Williams credits others for helping him stay on the right track. “I would say it’s probably the people around me,” he asserts when asked what led him to the life he now leads. “They want to see me succeed and do better and make something good out of something that wasn’t always so great. They want to see better things for me.” He has particularly kind words for his trainer, Paul Cichon. “Paul has been my only trainer and I’ve been with him for about 11 years,” he says. “My aunt used to fight for him back in the day and she brought me to him, and since then we’ve always stuck together, we’ve traveled to several different gyms together. I’ve never left his side.”
“I had fifty eight amateur fights,” he states of those early days “I wracked up quite a few amateur titles.” And now Cichon, the man who has led him through the amateurs is leading him through the pros. “He’s always been there for me,” states Williams. “I always looked at him as a father figure.” Another person Williams admires is famed manager Jackie Kallen, who he’s chosen to guide his career. “Paul introduced me to Jackie years ago,” he claims. “I was still amateur at the time and Paul actually flew her out her to watch me fight.” Kallen kept in touch over time. “We always kept her in mind for when I went pro, so she could manage me.”
“She’s a good person,” he adds, “a good lady.”
And as for the future? “I am taking it one step at a time,” says Williams, “but the ultimate goal is obviously to be world champion…also, to inspire the youth, as well.”
Mayweather Promotions on Bounce TV Results: Williams defeats Smith
by B.A. Cass
Julian Williams defeated Ishe Smith tonight by unanimous decision. The scores were too lopsided to be taken seriously.
Photo Credit: Mayweather Promotions
In the first round, Williams used his quick, powerful jab to keep Smith at bay. But Smith didn’t back down and kept walking Williams down.
During the second round, it became clear that all Williams has to offer is the jab. Smith, on the other hand, is a multi-dimensional fighter. He put in work to the body while also throwing jabs and rights to the head.
Williams did utilize his right hand in the third round, but that was because Smith made him use it by bringing the action to Williams. During this round, Williams head-butted Smith causing a cut to open to the side of Smith’s left eye.
During the fourth round, Smith slipped and immediately got up. But Smith was soon reprimanded for hitting Williams with a low blow. Smith continued to work the body of his opponent during the third round, but his cut opened again.
The fight really started to get fun in the fifth round. Smith went for it—letting his hands go and hitting to the body and the head. Williams didn’t buckle, and he deserves credit for that. Just before the round ended, Smith landed a great right hand to the head.
For some inexplicable reason, Williams stopped using his jab during the sixth round. His jab had previously been his only defense against the more aggressive Smith. During the seventh, Williams head-butted Smith again, opening a new cut, this time above the left eye. This time the cut was bad, and the blood was coming down into Smith’s eye. In the next round, the referee paused the fight to get the doctor to look Smith’s cut, which was bleeding. “I can see,” Smith said, and the doctor gave his okay.
In the ninth round, Williams was more active, and the Smith’s hometown fans started chanting, “Ishe, Ishe, Ishe.” Williams was still forgoing the use of his jab, and because of this, Smith was able to land a series of clean combinations.
And then in the tenth round, Williams landed another headbutt. I say “landed” because it’s hard to believe that this third headbutt was accidental. Williams came at Smith like a soccer player trying to go for a header. Smith was hurt and stood for a moment doubled over. But the fight continued, and Smith was more active, as he had been for much of the fight. Smith ended strong.
It was a very close fight, but the scores did not reflect that at all. The scores were 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 for Williams. But bad scoring is something fight fans have come to expect when a fight takes place in Las Vegas.
However, the fight between Earl Newman and Lionell Thompson was judged fairly.
In the first round, Thompson was more active but inflicted no damage to his opponent. Newman landed jabs, mostly to the chest, and seemed to be controlling the movement of the fight.
The second round was uneventful, except for the fact that Floyd Mayweather—wearing a white turtle and grey sportscoat—began offering advice to Thompson from his ringside seats.
Everything changed in the third round. It was during this round that Thompson landed a solid uppercut that staggered Newman. Thompson got his opponent against the ropes and may have finished him, had not the referee, Robert Byrd, interceded. Byrd didn’t stop the fight but instead offered Newman an eight count. It was unclear why Byrd decided to do this as Newman hardly touched the ropes.
During the fourth round, Newman was knocked down. He took his time getting up and once the fight resumed it appeared Newman’s legs had yet to recover. Byrd told him, “Got to show me something, son.”
By the fifth round, it became clear that Thompson was now controlling the movement of the fight. He was making Newman follow him around. Worse, Newman wasn’t letting his hands go. During the sixth round, Thompson began throwing combinations to the body and Newman was staggered once.
Newman started to pick up the pace a bit starting in the seventh round. He was throwing more combinations, but he was still too slow. For example, in the eighth round, he hit Thompson with a solid right but then paused before landing body shots, giving Thompson time to protect himself. Thompson wasn’t damaged by any of Newman’s shots.
Thompson performed much better than probably anyone expected. He was faster, more aggressive, and, baring the eighth and ninth rounds, more active than Newman. Thompson also showed brilliance in backing up and using the ropes to evade his opponent’s punches.
And so, it was no surprise when all three judges gave Lionell Thompson the win. It was the right choice, even if it put the dreams of the top-heavy Earl Newman, two-time NY Golden Gloves winner and formally undefeated fighter, on hold. It’s hard to see where Newman goes from here. He needed a decisive win to progress to the next level, but he has shown that he just isn’t that impressive.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Mayweather Promotions Boxing Preview: Julian “J-Rock” Williams vs. Ishe Smith; Earl Newman vs. Lionell Thompson
by B.A. Cass
This Saturday at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Mayweather Promotions brings us some interesting fights—well, potentially interesting. The fights will air on Bounce TV starting at 9 PM EST. I’m particularly excited to watch the main event between Julian Williams an Ishe Smith and the undercard fight between Earl Newman and Lionell Thompson. Here’s why.
Earl Newman (10-0-1) vs. Lionell Thompson (18-4); 10 rounds; light Heavyweight
In September, after a layoff of nearly a year, Newman fought Paul Parker, a contest that ended in a draw. Newman is a two-time New York Golden Gloves winner. He’s to be a talented boxer. However, he’s a top-heavy athlete who operates with a certain amount of caution in the ring. It’s unlikely that anyone is going to catch him with that one devastating shot.
Back in 2014, Thompson was knocked out by a fresh-faced Sergey Kovalev, a devastating loss that came in the third round. He has since won more than he’s lost, and he’s still a solid fighter. He doesn’t seem to like to let his hands go. He may just be the perfect opponent for Newman. Like Newman, no one would call Thompson fleet-footed. As far as styles go, they’ll be equally matched. Newman won’t have to worry about a barrage of combinations coming his way, which means he can concentrate on doing what he does best—working down his opponent and slowly breaking him down.
I’ll be watching to see whether Newman can finally distinguish himself as a future contender. He’s got skill and intelligence, but he needs an impressive win.
Julian “J-Rock” Williams (23-1-1) vs. Ishe Smith (28-8); 10 rounds; Junior Middleweights
The hard-hitting Williams may be best known for being the knocked out by Jermall Charlo. Williams landed a jab and right that just barely reached Charlo, who then stepped in with a sharp right uppercut. Williams’ legs gave out and he face-planted into the canvas. The referee started the count and, wavering slightly, Williams got to his feet. The fight continued, but only for a few seconds. Charlo came at him, throwing solid, though not hard-hitting, combinations. Williams fell to canvas again, this time on his back.
Since his defeat to Charlo, Williams has fought once, against Joshua Conley. For most of their fight, Conley was so inactive that he could be said to be stagnant. And although Williams worked Conley down, I doubt anyone would say he put on an impressive performance. In fact, for a man who hadn’t received much damage, he looked almost as tired as Conley.
Ishe Smith is twelve years older than Williams, and you can look at that two ways. One on hand, he clearly doesn’t have the speed he used to have, which should give the 27-year-old Williams a clear advantage. On the other hand, Smith has twelve years of experience on Williams. Also, Smith has faced superior opponents, and, even though he has lost to men like Erislandy and Lara and Danny Jacobs, he has never been knocked out.
Smith is crafty. He knows how to take a hit, knows how to draw an opponent in, knows how to tire a guy out, he knows how to duck and weave away from punches. He is a consummate professional.
Williams may be the favorite, he may have a better record, but from the looks of it, he still hasn’t gained his confidence back from his loss to Charlo—which means, Smith could surprise us.
Smith has had a hard year, a hard life actually. Not a man given to self-pity, Smith remains driven despite all the obstacles he’s had to face. He has put his children before his boxing career but this year was particularly hard for him as the mother of his three children was executed. At thirty-nine, he has only so much time remaining as a professional fighter. This fight will determine whether he continues. It’s hard not to root for a guy who’s been through so much.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Liam Smith Defeats Liam Williams in Grudge Match
By: Oliver McManus
Boxing returned to the North East in style as Newcastle hosted its first major show since 2015 and made an immediate impact, leaving an instantaneous longing for a speedy return.
The main event saw embittered rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams embark on a grudge match that has been in the making for the last 7 months, following the Liam Smith’s controversial victory over the Welshman back in April.
An official eliminator for the WBO World Light Middleweight title, previously held by Smith, there was plenty on the line for the winner aside from bragging rights.
The betting money was on The Machine to avenge his sole loss and in a tense opening round it was Williams who, indeed, managed to get the better of his man with several sharp jabs clipping Smith through the gloves.
It didn’t take long for the fight to ignite, however, with Beefy loosening up in a bid to enhance his record to 26-1, lucid body movement from Smith kept him in control for much of the second round and a delightful uppercut kept Williams in check – the Welshman shot back with some smooth left-hand’s of his own.
With the fight flowing into the 3rd round, the 16-1-1 fighter from Clydach Vale, Wales, stuck to the centre of the ring and landed with some eye-catching right hand shots to rock his Liverpudlian opponent.
He imposed himself for the following round too, in a bout lacking the fireworks from their previous battle, landing strong jabs and right hands, boxing on the front foot. Smith hit back with a couple of good shots that momentarily put Williams on the back-foot, a tight, edgy fight.
A flurry of combinations kept the former Champion against the ropes who had only his jab working to effect, Beefy looked to hold as the Welshman landed cleaner, crisper shots throughout the opening portions of the fight.
The halfway point marked a better round for Liam Smith, landing repeatedly with far superior jabs and engaging in a sharper exchange of punches than in any previous rounds – that body movement noted early came in to play again and was used to good effect as he forced his opponent to swipe at thin air on numerous occasions.
Williams bit back with hard uppercuts in the 7th, keeping his rival in a defensive mind-set, landing with successful shots before being jabbed around by Smith who took a measured, controlled approach to the fight.
Words were exchanged between the fighters who, despite a relatively muted crowd, were putting on a tough 50-50 display of gritty fighting – albeit without the sparks some expected – and a sharp set of short inside combinations marked the first instance of notable success for Smith who, in probability, had been controlling the fight up until now despite the more eye-catching action coming from the opposite corner.
An increase in tempo came from the man who won the last contest, perhaps gaining from a psychological advantage, doubling up on the jab before connecting with some snappy shots to the body of Williams.
Into the final third of the fight with Smith seemingly up on the scorecards, The Machine came out with an air of authority about him for the 9th round. Buoyed on by his trainer Gary Lockett, he landed long, reaching jabs in the early stages before creating opportunities for combination shots from wider angles; a short left hook that troubled Smith was of particular note and Williams’ sensed a shift in momentum to the rematch in which no-one had gained full control of.
With the fight swinging in his direction, Williams came out swinging in Smith’s direction landing a peach of a left hook that caught the 29 year old around his tight defensive guard – followed by a body-shot, uppercut combination, an avalanche of polished shots were rattled off to earn him a foothold in the contest with ever tightening scorecards.
Almost as if they decided they would only kick to life where the fight finished back in April (after the 9th round), the two fighters stood stock in front of each-other for the 11th round trading blows, with combinations snapping both their heads back. The round ends with a powerful right hand from Smith to, potentially, nab the round from the judges.
The final round saw both men attempt to go out with a bang but Smith was the more aggressive of the two, keeping his technical style going, working Williams towards the ropes with an ever-present, intrusive jab. Into the 90 seconds and the Welshman started to let his hands flow, slamming shots into the body – many of which failed to land cleanly.
Smith beckoned the onslaught and withstood the tide before pursuing his man with a mixture of stylish defensive work combined with the old one-two combination. A few wild shots missed the mark but all in all, the Liverpudlian never looked out of control.
It must be said the fight never really clicked into the classic that many of us hoped it would with the fight overshadowed by a cautious fighting nature, attempting to keep one another at bay as opposed to going all out for a knockout.
On paper it looked close but I think it’s fair to say that Liam Smith remained relatively unchallenged which is why I scored it 117-112 to the former WBO Lightweight Champion.
Going to the scorecards the judges scored it 114-114, 116-112 and 117-111 for a majority decision to Liam Smith who moves to 26-1 and guaranteeing himself a shot at the WBO World Lightweight title in the early stages of next year.
Also featuring on the card was a real domestic dust-up between two Northern fighters scrapping for the IBF Europe Super Lightweight title with unbeaten prospect Josh Leather (12-0) facing off with, experienced statesman, Glenn Foot (21-2).
At 5 years younger, Leather possessed a 3inch reach advantage over his Sunderland-based opponent and the slick puncher was looking to make The Hammer the 13th name on his burgeoning CV.
Foot, a former Prizefighter champion, had labelled the champion “a pretender” during the build-up and came out of the blocks with a bit of needle, staying low, pushing Leather to the ropes and landing a succession of hooks.
The 30 year old kept atop of his opponent with strong upper-body movement, enabling him to roll underneath the oncoming shots from Leather.
With a strong contingent of fans coming to support him, the Guisborough-man looked to fire back with some brutal right hand jabs that encouraged foot to commit to the attack – Steve Gray, the referee, had words with both fighters in the second round for some over-exuberant antics.
Foot landed some heavy punches and towards the end of the second round, dropped Leather to the canvas with a sensational right-hand to the chin. Wincing but on his feet, defensive mode set in for the pre-fight favourite.
Agitated seems an apt word to describe this bout with both fighters getting under each other’s skin. An absolutely tempestuous start from the 21-2 former English champion saw him bully his opposing man, keeping him in close quarters and fighting in the pocket.
Leather seemed uncomfortable but by no means out of his depth and kept his presence noticeable by way of solid right hands to the head and body of the ever-advancing , black and gold trim wearing, Foot.
Going into the second half of the fight, the younger man started to show glimpses of his promising quality landing with strong jabs, boxing from distance resulting in a frustrated Foot having a point taken away for throwing a punch after break had been called.
Both men kept the tempo up with shots flowing between the pair – Foot remaining the more dominant fighter going into the latter stages of the fight – with Leather trying to keep to his strength of distance boxing, to a reasonable degree of success.
The 12-0 former ABA champion seemed to adapt to the unfaltering roughhouse style of fighting that was coming his way and established his position at the centre of the ring, displaying the skills that saw him win the title against Philip Sutcliffe back in May.
I identified in my preview earlier this week that it was going to be a tough fight for Glenn Foot unless he imposed his style of fighting from the outset and it’s clear that he was reading what I had to say – coming out in a position of strength and staying there, the ease of transition between head and body attack was impressive throughout.
Into the 10th round, Leather re-established why he’s the title holder and kept the pressure up on Foot, sending the fighter staggering back before The Hammer was deducted yet another point for spitting out his gumshield. A crucial round for Leather.
Both men seemed to fatigue in the final two rounds but were determined to keep the tempo cranked firmly up, trading leather around the edges of the ring with the pair landing several slamming shots to their opponent in what can only be described as all-out war.
Declaring themselves as the winner immediately after the bell, the decision went to the judges who scored it 114-111, 113-112 and 115-110 unanimously to… AND STILL IBF European Lightweight Champion, Joshua Leather who moves to 13-0 and improves his world stature having been in a barnstormer of a fight; for what it’s worth, I had Leather winning 113-112.
Looking to defend his BBBofC Super Bantamweight title for the first time, Thomas Patrick Ward (21-0) went to war with Sean Davis (13-1) – both fighters coming to the ring at 8st 9lbs.
It was the challenger who came out fastest with Showtime looking to hassle Ward into a mistake, landing some strong left hand-jabs whilst skipping around the ring to keep Davis on his toes; a variety of shots from the Birmingham-born fighter produced measured success.
The champion on the other hand stayed true to his game with a textbook display of technical boxing, countering his opponent’s energy with patience and a series of crisp right hand shots as well as a flush left uppercut in the middle of the second round.
It seemed as though Davis was trying to fatigue the home favourite into defeat – perhaps noting that he faded in his previous fight against Jazza Dickens – but strong footwork from Ward ensured he never seemed in trouble throughout the opening stanza of the bout.
Indeed despite being the more passive fighter, it’s arguable that Tommy landed the most notable punches with his, albeit, infrequent right-hand counter shots proving to be easy on the eye and effective, to boot.
The middle rounds continued to be a boxing purist’s delight with Ward appearing relaxed amid the onslaught from Davis, producing a defensive masterclass, evading shots to head and body whilst picking the challenger off seemingly at will.
Balance was the key strength for, County Durham’s, Ward with the 23 year old keeping the ebb and flow at equilibrium, throwing in fast combinations whilst simultaneously removing himself from danger.
The 6th round saw a bad cut emerge from above the right eye of the Champion as a result of a hard clash of heads between the two fighters – despite the best work of, cutman, Michael Marsden, the cut was of a visible disturbance to Ward who seemed to be more cautious and defensively penetrable following the incident.
Big right hands from Davis heading into the championship rounds looked to rattle Ward – who kept firing back, nonetheless – and the 27 year old kept on coming back relentless with fierce, ferocious, non-stop punches being thrown towards the fatiguing body opposite him.
The deepening cut seemed to be the cause for hope of an upset but Ward remained composed in the face of adversity (and a face full of blood), landing some punishing jabs to the face of his foe in the closing stages of the fight – Davis kept up a constant stream of energy but ultimately knew he was facing a losing battle.
An embrace of respect before the start of the 12th round as well as at the end of the fight was a mark of the manner in which this fight was fought – brutal but not bitter; the fight went to the scorecards, I had it 117-113 to Ward and the people that matter, the judges, scored it in a similar manner – 117-112, 118-111 and 118-111 all in favour of the young gun from Country Durham.
Tommy triumphed on Tyneside, establishing himself as an emerging force to be reckoned with in the Super Bantamweight division but a spirited display from Sean Davis proved he’s not a fighter to be sniffed at and, surely, we’ll see him come again.
The heavyweight match-up between Nathan Gorman and Mohamed Soltby saw the two unbeaten fighters (10-0 and 13-0, respectively) weighing in at polar opposites – Gorman was significantly heavier at 18st 12oz, Soltby registering at 15st 9lbs 13oz.
Gorman was the immediate aggressor, lunging in with several left hands in the opening minute before landing a couple of successful shots to the body. Possessing the centre of the ring, Gorman was snappy with the jab and kept Soltby at bay for the vast majority of the first round.
The following round would follow a similar story with Gorman targeting the body of Soltby whilst missing with several wild wielding uppercuts – the German proving a tricky challenge for Gorman but, ultimately, the Cheshire fighter was firmly in control.
It might be harsh to say but the highlight of the opening 4 rounds was when the fight had to be halted momentarily to allow Soltby’s corner to retie his shoelace.
Nonetheless, Gorman was allowing his hands to loosen and firing some fast jabs at his opponent with a mere handful of shots being returned.
But the 5th round proved to be decisive with the Englishman looking to stamp his authority from the beginning, landing a firm right uppercut to wobble the German before dropping him to the canvas when Soltby had his back turned.
A barrage of left hooks came reigning in from the heavier fighter, bashing the body before a punishing right uppercut physically dazed Mohamed Soltby and led the referee to call an end to the fight – a one-sided 5th round TKO for the Hatton-trained protégé, moving to 11-0 and securing a World Ranking with the WBC (as well as their International Silver title).
On some of the more minor fights on the card, Jeff Saunders beat Steven Lewis on points to set up a potential clash with Jack Caterall for the BBBofC British Super Lightweight title; Mark Heffron moved to 18-0 in the super middleweight division thanks to a 7th round knockout of (19-4) Lewis Taylor; hot middleweight prospect Troy Williamson advanced to 5-0 with a shutout points decision over 6 rounds against Miguel Aguilar and, finally, 23 year old, Joe Maphosa defeated Craig Derbyshire to go 3 and 0 in the flyweight division.
A sensational night of boxing, that can’t be argued, with old rivalries put to bed and new rivalries just in their embers – Leather/Foot is surely a rematch that has to happen.
A rapturous Newcastle crowd were vocal in their enjoyment and the return of World Title boxing to the city can only be moving ever closer.
A Look into the Liam Smith and Liam Williams Rematch
By: Oliva McManus
No if’s, no but’s, this promises to be one of the most exciting nights of domestic boxing in recent memory – promoted by Frank Warren and live on BT Sport & BoxNation, the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle plays host to a night of sensational boxing on the 11th November, headlined by the rematch between Liam Smith and Liam Williams. Also on the card, and being previewed here, is Thomas Patrick Ward, Josh Leather and Nathan Gorman.
The main event has been in the works for the last 7 months following the controversial first bout between Williams and Smith – many had Williams leading on their card but with Smith coming stronger in the latter rounds. With an accidental clash of heads, that Williams maintains was intentional, and the ringside doctor considering it not serious enough for the fight to be waved off, Williams’ corner men took the decision to withdraw their fighter at the 9th round.
Since then the two fighters have been embroiled in a war of words both over social media and at press conferences to add a bitter tinge to this rivalry – which can only mean even more exciting action the second time round.
Williams (16-1-1) was born in Wales and before fighting Smith in April had an illustrious record including British, Commonwealth and WBO European Super Welterweight title’s – standing at 5”10, he has the ever so slight edge over the 5”9.5 Smith and is noticeable for keeping his head down when up-close with the opponent.
A brawler, when he lets his hands go, he has a lack of control which, in a way, is appealing. A really strong right hand hook, this was exemplified during his 11th round stoppage of Gary Corcoran – another fight of his in which there was a clash of head’s.
Don’t be mistaken though, Williams is patient in his style but when he senses a weakness, he moves quickly to exploit it. A strong left hand jab keeps the opponent at length before a useful flurry of shots softens up the opponent.
Smith (25-1-1) is undeniably the higher profile of the two fighters having held the WBO World Super Welterweight title between October 2015 and September 2016; after winning the belt against John Thompson, he made two successful defences against Jimmy Kilrain Kelly and Predrag Radosevic before travelling to America for a spirited 9th round loss against Saul Alvarez.
You can’t doubt the heart of Smith then and when he gets going, it’s hard to argue with his boxing ability either – tending to take to the centre of the ring, he is often said to “pick opponents off”, wearing them down with a constant barrage of shots before dismissing with them in the latter half of the fight.
With a tight defence, he himself is hard to breakdown but Williams exploited his lack of experience in not being the one in control but Smith will have hoped to have learned his lesson from that.
Armed with a deceptive knockout power, the Liverpudlian known as Beefy, likes to target the body of opponents with several sharp shots to the ribcage before targeting the head with repetitive jabs and then returning to the body.
The key unknown to this fight is emotion, it’s not often that you hear emotion spoke of in a boxing context but this is the first fight the two fighters have been in with a genuine dislike for the opponents so the question is, how will this change their game plan?
Next up is Thomas Patrick Ward (21-0) defending his BBBofC British Super Bantamweight title against Sean Davis (13-1) in a fight which is almost destined to go the distance – the duo’s 34 wins combined carry with them a mere two knockouts.
Ward had been a fighter that had gone very much under-the-radar on the domestic scene until May of this year – his 21st professional fight – when he fought James “Jazza” Dickens for the British title. Prior to that, his best victories were, arguably, against Robbie Turley (16-5) and Nasibu Ramadhan (17-5-1) which kind of tells you everything you need to know about the level of opponent he’d been up against.
You don’t need high class opposition to be able to show off your own high class skills, however, and Tommy Ward has impressed immensely whenever he’s been on display – easy on the eye, if you’re a boxing purist you’ll love him. Capable of withstanding attacks, his style is one where he waits for opponents to come forward before exploiting the gaps in their defence.
He’s a patient fighter – not boring though – and I think that’s highlighted by the fact that in his fight against Norbert Kalucza, last year, I counted about 20 consecutive seconds of him just standing in the middle of the ring toying with Kalucza, baiting him into an attack.
Aged just 23 years old the Birmingham-born super bantamweight finds himself already ranked 12th with the WBO and 4th with the EBU – if I were his promoter Frank Warren, I’d be targeting a scrap with European champion Abigail Medina where, were he to be successful, he would avenge his brother’s defeat earlier this year.
Davis, on the other hand, is 4 years older at 27 yet has the much shorter resume of a mere 14 fights. Despite that he comes into the bout with more prestigious victories including the likes of Jason Booth for the English title and Paul Economidies for the WBC International strap.
Showtime, as he’s known, carries the unique style of leaving his left hand hanging in front of the opposite fighter as a way of both measuring the reach but equally blind-siding the opponent before launching a hard, looping right hand – a shot that comes reigning down on the opponent from an oddly jolted knee position, allowing him to simultaneously connect and evade.
Although having never secured a knockout victory, I’d actually argue that Davis is the more powerful of the two fighters – neither laying claim to “power puncher” status, however – with a repetitive, concussive style of punches.
Against Gamal Yafai (at the time 11-0) in May, his defences were exploited as The Beast dropped the Hockley-resident on 6 separate occasions before dispatching with him convincingly in the 7th. Davis showed heart, that can’t be argued, but he was guilty of standing too square in front of Yafai and failed to maintain a sharp, astute defence with the body being a particular area of weakness.
In a real cross-roads fight, Davis will be hoping to restate his stature in the super bantamweight division – at least domestically, anyway – with the winner of this fight looking to push on for a shot at, at least, a European title. Who wins it? Tommy Ward for me but it’s a pick ‘em!
Josh Leather also features as he and Glenn Foot go to war for the IBF East/West Europe Super Lightweight Title – a belt that makes no logistical titular sense – the winner of which should receive an enhanced prestigious Top 15 Ranking with the organization.
At 12-0 Leather is already regarded as one of the hottest prospects in the super lightweight division, not just in Britain but globally – already ranked 14th with the IBF, he’ll be looking to stake his claim for a shot at the recently-crowned champion Sergei Lipinets by emphatically beating Glenn Foot on Saturday night.
From Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, the 25 year-old stands 5”10 and came into the pro ranks with a distinguished amateur record – the 2012 Lightweight ABA Champion – and whilst he hasn’t been particularly active since (averaging a mere 3 fights a year), his career has been going distinctly upwards in the last 18 months.
Armed with sudden explosivity, if he lands a right hand hook and feels it wobbled you then bam, before you know it, one, two, three, four, sharp, jading combination shots come in to both head and body.
Fighting with passion, Leather isn’t reckless, the young man is never afraid to bite down on the gum-shield and let sparks fly but he’ll do so with a degree of precision and aggressive that makes him a dangerous fighter to enrage.
Foot, from Sunderland, is an experienced domestic-level fighter having fought anywhere from the 140lb lightweight division all the way up to 161lbs (admittedly for only one fight), with most of his time spent around the 148lbs region.
Don’t let that be conflated with a lack of quality – let me stamp that out from the start – the 30 year-old has been in with some notable names such as Sam Eggington, Akeem Ennis Brown, Kirk Goodings, Adam Little, Philip Bowes and Jason Cook.
At 21-2 his losses have come against Eggington and Ennis Brown, but nonetheless Foot possess an array of impressive attributes – the most important of all being sheer grit and durability, a man that is hard to break down is always going to be a half-decent boxer and this particular man has proven to be rather more than half-decent.
A high guard compliments his ramrod territorial jabs that keep foes at bay before the Black Cats fan exploits their fatigue during the latter rounds of a fight. Slower on his feet than Leather with less firepower in his armoury, it could be a tough fight if Glenn doesn’t take control right from the early stages.
The final major fight is Nathan Gorman against Mohamed Soltby for the WBC International Silver Heavyweight Title; Gorman (10-0) was originally slated to face Nick Webb for the BBBofC English Heavyweight title and despite rumours that Webb withdrew from the fight, it has emerged that Gorman was actually the one to pull out, reasoning that they “wanted to go a different route”.
Both promoted by, hall of fame promoter, Frank Warren, the likely outcome of this fight is leaving fight fans in the lurk with British boxing diehards labelling Nathan Gorman as one of the bright hopes for heavyweight boxing and German followers backing Soltby as their man to cause an upset on foreign soil.
Neither come with particularly strong names on their resume; Dominic Akinlade and Kamil Sokolowski being the most forthcoming for Gorman – a former Central Area champion – and Laszlo Hubert and Zoltan Csala the two main names for Solbty.
Soltby, 13-0, and Gorman both come to the ring with 8 knockouts apiece and come to the ring with very similar fighting styles – both determined to go after the opposition from the first whistle in order to force the stoppage as opposed to waiting for a more natural opportunity. Gorman has faster footwork but Soltby carries a 1.5inch height advantage and often swings his head back in to keep the other fighter always thinking.
Being friends with Soltby on Snapchat (shameless plug, there), he’s literally not been out of the gym for the past few months so conditioning isn’t going to be an issue and Gorman certainly looks like he could be the real so I, for one, am absolutely ecstatic for this fight which is going to be one of two things – fireworks or bust.
In a night of packed action, the rematch between Liam Smith and Liam Williams is undeniably the one that draws the eye – with the winner looking for an immediate return to the world scene – but a complimentary undercard from top to bottoms looks set to keep the Newcastle crows, as well as viewers at home, on the edge of their seat. No if’s, no but’s.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Dana White, Anthony Joshua, Sosa, Takam, Smith, Williams, Hernandez, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 17th to October 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dana White Says UFC Could Start to Promote Boxing
Dana White recently spoke to the Wall Street Journal at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=V2wbIUSpALY. In this interview Dana indicated that he likes promoting MMA but has an interest in promoting boxing.
He told Jason Gay of “The Unnamed Podvideocast” that, “I could see bringing boxing under our umbrella and trying to see what we could do with that.”
White was observed wearing a shirt that read “Zuffa Boxing” on the promotional tour for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor bout. Zuffa Boxing could soon become a real thing.
Watch Joshua vs. Takam Heavyweight Title Fight Exclusively on DAZN
Fight fans can watch Anthony Joshua defend his IBF and WBA Heavyweight Titles against Carlos Takam on Saturday, October 28th live on DAZN.
DAZN is a live and on-demand sports streaming service that allows fans to watch their sport, their way, live or on-demand. Fans can watch their favourite teams, leagues and players anytime, anywhere with the ability to play, pause and rewind anytime. Subscriptions are available for $20 a month or $150 annually, with the first month free.
DAZN is also the only way to get unlimited access to every live NFL game this coming season. And with access to the NFL Network 24/7 and NFL RedZone, you’ll never miss another touchdown, field goal or interception ever again. You can also see top European soccer including LaLiga Santander, Ligue 1 and Serie A, plus KHL Hockey, Moto GP, ATP 250 Tennis, PDC Darts and Pro14 Rugby Union – all in HD.
It’s available in Canada on most connected devices including Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and games consoles – for more information or to sign up, please visit dazn.com.
Olympian Nico Hernandez Fighting for First Pro Title December 2nd
2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez will be fighting for his first professional title on Saturday, December 2, when he takes on Hungarian invader Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Flyweight Championship, headlining “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Twister City Harley-Davidson Metro PCS, Mort’s Cigar Bar and Jimmy Egg.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 21-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, will be fighting in a scheduled eight-round bout for the first time. His three pro fights to date were all scheduled for six rounds and each was held in Kansas, the last two in his second home, Hartman Arena.
In his last fight this past September 23rd, Hernandez was forced to fight late replacement Kendrick “Uprising” Latchman who outweighed the celebrated American Olympian by more than 10 pounds. Hernandez won a six-round unanimous decision by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
Despite being younger than Hernandez by almost a year to the day, Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) has already had 28 pro fights, including a full 10-round distance loss by decision last year to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion.
“By far, Nico is fighting the toughest opponent of his pro career,” Hernandez’ promoter John Andersen (“KO Night Boxing LLC) said. “Ajtai has much more experience as a pro than Nico, plus he went the distance against a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Zou. Ajtai is a busy fighter with a good knockout ratio (63%). This fight is going to tell us a lot about Nico, especially his power at 112 pounds.
“Nico fighting for a title in only his fourth pro fight proves that all our hard efforts of KO Night Boxing and Team Nico has paid off quickly and we’re grateful that the IBA has given him this great opportunity. I didn’t realize the high quality of champions the IBA has had in the past and we’re proud that Nico can someday join this group. In the flyweight division, Nico may enter world title fight shot discussions earlier than I had originally thought, which was in his third year as a pro. An impressive performance against Ajtai could position him for a world title fight next year with less than 10 fights under his belt.”
“We’re excited to have an American Olympian fighting for our first Americas title,” IBA President J.C. Courreges added. “Nico Hernandez is an Olympic bronze medalist and we’re hopeful that he will develop into an IBA world champion in the not too distant future. His amateur pedigree speaks for itself and we’re very happy to have this young man fighting for the IBA Americas title.”
IBA world champions during the past quarter-century include Hall-of-Famers Oscar de la Hoya, George Foreman, Roberto Duran and Arturo Gatti, as well as stars such as Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, James Toney, Mikkel Kessler, Eric Morales, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver.
Ukranian Olympian Makes Professional Debut on Friday
Olympian middleweight Dmytro Mytrofanov will make his professional boxing debut Friday night in Elk Grove Village against an unbeaten foe.
Mytrofanov, who fought for the Ukraine in the 2016 Olympics, will square off against American Brandon Maddox, who is 7-0, with five knockouts.
The six-round bout will take place at the Belvedere Events Center, 1170 W. Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village.
Mytrofanov, 27, won national titles in the Ukraine in 2008 and 2012, The middleweight was also a bronze medalist at the 2011 European Championships.
He is represented by Andrew Sobko of Natex Boxing Promotions.
The 31-year-old Maddox has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. The Detroit, Mich. fighter won Golden Gloves titles in Detroit and Chicago. He also posted a 4-2 mark in professional Mixed Martial Arts fights.
Friday’s fight, sanctioned by the Illinois State Athletic Commission, is being promoted by Natex and Hitz Entertainment.
On Friday’s fight card, along with Mytrofanov-Maddox, are:
Super welterweights Anthony Prescott and Anthony Abbruzzese
Undefeated super featherweight Giovanni Mioletti and Tyrome Jones
Undefeated super middleweight Tommy Hughes and Emmanuel Sanchez
Heavyweight Tulagonov Osvaldo, making his professional debut
Undefeated middleweight Osvaldo Vera
Friday’s first bout begins at 7:30 p.m.
VIP tables, which seat 10 people, are $250 per person. General admission is $40.
Tickets can be purchased at www.natexboxing.com
Ishe Smith to Face Julian Williams on November 18th
Former world champion Ishe Smith battles top 154-pound contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams in a 10-round super welterweight clash that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce live from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday, November 18.
In the co-feature, Lionell Thompson clashes with unbeaten prospect Earl Newman in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten prospects Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Xavier Martinez going head-to-head in a 10-round featherweight fight.
“This card is going to bring it,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “The fans will be presented with variety; veterans and prospects going head-to-head and tough fighting styles meshing come fight night. The main event between Ishe Smith and Julian Williams is going to be an exciting battle! I think Ishe and Julian are going to put on a great show. Both fighters are very tough competitors and fight with everything they have. We also have a great undercard line-up. This is going to be an all-around exciting night of boxing for the fans.”
“This is the kind of show that presents something for every boxing fan,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Ishe Smith is a former champion who still has title aspirations. He’s going up against a young hungry contender on the comeback trail in Julian Williams. Earl Newman will be taking a major step up when he takes on Lionell Thompson in the co-feature and both Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Xavier Martinez will be looking to keep their undefeated records intact. It all adds up to a fun night for boxing fans.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are priced at $29, $39, $59, $69, $89 and $149 and are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 andwww.ticketmaster.com.
The 39-year-old Smith (29-8, 12 KOs) won his world championship with a majority decision over Cornelius Bundrage on Feb. 23, 2013 to become the first Las Vegas-native to win a world title. He has also challenged top fighters such as Erislandy Lara and Daniel Jacobs and most recently defeated Tommy Rainone and Frank Galarza in his last two bouts.
“I took this fight just like I’ve taken every tough fight over the years,” said Smith. “I constantly challenge myself to the best and I believe Julian Williams is one of the best in the division. If you look at my resume, all I’ve done is fight the best guys, in their prime, so this is nothing new to me. I’ve reached the point where I’ve seen it all. This fight will get me exactly where I need to be, closer to a world title shot.”
Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs), one of the top young contenders in the 154-pound division, is working his way back into title contention by taking on a tough former world champion in Smith. The 27-year-old Williams of Philadelphia suffered a KO loss to Jermall Charlo in his first title shot in 2016 and returned to the ring with a TKO victory over Joshua Conley in his last fight on June 30.
“We’ve been working hard for months and I’m ready to get back in the ring,” said Williams. “I could fight tomorrow. I know this is an important fight for my career. Ishe is a veteran and he is going to bring his ‘A’ game to try to prove he’s still got it. I’m not going to give him that opportunity. I will be victorious and show that I’m ready to fight the best in the world.”
Rahman Junior Opponent Chickens Out in Ring, Seconds Before Scheduled Fight
The young career of heavyweight contender Hasim Rahman Jr. took an unexpected turn last week, as his scheduled opponent, Joseph Coats, decided not to fight, while in the ring during the introductions and literally left the ring and returned to the locker room.
The four-round Rahman vs. Coats bout was supposed to happen at The Durham Armory in Downtown Durham, North Carolina, last Thursday, October 19. However, the debuting Coats, trained by reputable trainer Don Turner, initially refused to come out of the locker room. Forty minutes later, Coats finally agreed to get on with the fight only to leave Rahman waiting in the ring for nearly 10 minutes while chickening out for a second time.
He now faces suspension.
Event promoter Michelle Rosado (Raging Babe Events) and matchmaker J Russell Peltz (Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc.) were as perplexed as Rahman’s promoter, Greg Cohen, by Coats’ sudden departure.
“Russell told me in his 48 years in the sport, he NEVER saw anything like this,” said Cohen. “A fighter in the ring rethinks his choice and leaves. I’m told he was out of the building before the announcer finished explaining to the crowd what happened.”
Cohen says he already has the next fight scheduled for the promising slugger Rahman Jr., November 4 in Springfield, Virginia, in a co-promotion with Shabazz Brotherz Boxing Promotions.
“Junior showed class and poise in the way he handled this and he’s to be commended. Sometimes in boxing, strange things happen and this is one of those times.”
Jason Sosa to Clash with Robinson Castellanos on November 25th
Two of the most experienced fighters in the stacked 130-pound division will continue the heated Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry when Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-2-4, 14 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the televised undercard for Kovalev vs. Shabrankskyy. The event takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Although the competition between Puerto Rico and Mexico runs deep in the ring, Latinos and Hispanics come together and support each other in times of need. In light of the natural disasters affecting Mexico and the Caribbean, a portion of the proceeds of the ticket sales form this event will be donated to relief efforts for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the earthquake in Mexico City when ticket buyers use the code LATINOSUNIDOS to purchase their tickets through Ticketmaster.
“With the terrible natural disasters that have impacted Puerto Rico and Mexico recently, it was incredibly important to us that we find opportunities in boxing to give back to those affected,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Though Puerto Rico and Mexico are rivals when it comes to boxing we stand together united to help these communities recover and rebuild their lives.”
The 29-year-old Sosa, of Camden, NJ and of Puerto Rican descent, is the former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion. He earned his title by handing Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna his first loss as a pro with an 11th-round knockout in Beijing, China in June 2016. Sosa successfully defended his title with a 12-round decision win over Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo in November 2016 before returning several months later in a tough fight against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa is also known for fighting to an impressive majority draw against former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and for stopping former world title challenger Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in only one round. Sosa’s aggressive style should produce fireworks against Castellanos.
“Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico,” said Sosa. “I have been living there for the last few months and I opened a business there. Now to see the destruction and devastation that my people are going through, it breaks my heart. It was very difficult for me to leave and begin my training camp back in New Jersey to get ready for the fight against Castellanos. This fight is important for many reasons. It is the beginning of the road to becoming champion again and it is my way of giving Puerto Rico a reason to smile and be proud. They are my biggest supporters and that little island shows me so much love. I can’t do much but I can show them that this win is for them. I want to thank Castellanos and HBO for this opportunity.”
Castellanos is a battle-tested warrior who is coming off a spectacular performance against current WBA Super World Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales in July of this year. The 35-year-old native of Guanajuato, Mexico also handed super bantamweight contender and world title challenger Ronny Rios his first career loss, stopping him by TKO in October of 2014. Before challenging for a world title, Castellanos stopped Cuban former unified WBA and IBF Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” Gamboa on the May 5 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. After having been so close to winning a world title in his last outing, Castellanos will look to make sure that he gets another crack at the top of the division with a victory on Nov. 25.
“What has happened in Mexico and Puerto [Rico] has been devastating,” said Castellanos. But it has also reminded us that we are strong and united. The crisis won’t be resolved from one day to another, but however long it takes we will lift ourselves up. I know little about Jason [Sosa], but I know that he was a world champion. He has already accomplished a dream that I am still looking to accomplish. I know that I’ll need a victory to fight for a world title again. Both of us will have to leave everything in the ring, and I hope that the people in New York really enjoy our fight.”
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.
The Not So Quiet Storm: Jimmy Williams Continues His Meteoric Rise:
By: Ben Sutherland
It took Jimmy Williams less than 4 rounds to decisively come through the biggest test of his burgeoning boxing career. A powerful Williams’ right hand sent Issouf Kinda crashing to the canvas, definitively ending the fight. Kinda who has been in the ring with the likes of Ismael Barroso, represented a significant step up in class for Williams, a step up that Williams handled with ease. “It was a huge win in my career and Kinda was a great step up fight for me” said the 30 year old Connecticut native.
Whilst this fight was his first defense of the WBC United States championship belt he won against Nick Delomba, Williams must now be beginning to think on a larger scale. The undefeated father of two is as exciting to watch as he is inspirational. His story, combined with his undefeated record and aggressive fighting style makes him an easy sell and a genuinely bigtime fight is surely just around the corner.
Fighting in a packed welterweight division, opponents are readily available. The likes of Carson Jones and Brandon Rios offer potentially mouthwatering domestic clashes down the road. Williams returns to action against Juan Rodriguez on September 16th, a date which coincidentally happens to be his birthday.
When asked about his thoughts on his upcoming fight Williams was measured in his response, “Rodrgiuez is a tough fighter who has been in the ring with some world ranked welterweights, but I’m definitely ready to make a statement”.
Once a promising college football player who was entered into the NFL draft; Williams’ story is both incredible and deeply moving. After his mother was murdered in 2008, he returned to boxing in her honor. Since then, Williams has gone from strength to strength. 14 wins and 1 draw later, Williams is on the verge of greatness.
His nickname, the Quiet Storm, is becoming less and less applicable. The storm is no longer quiet. Jimmy Williams is beginning to thunder around the welterweight division. Perhaps not a household name yet, it would certainly be foolish to sleep on the man from Connecticut. The long term goal has remained the same throughout “I just want to keep climbing to the top and get a shot at fighting for a world title, that’s the goal” he says.
A Quiet Storm: The Jimmy Williams Story
A Quiet Storm: The Jimmy Williams Story
By: Ben Sutherland
There is a palpable anticipatory buzz that reverberates around the Twin River casino in Providence, Rhode Island. Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment Sports has put on an enthralling undercard that has provided the hungry fans with the knockouts and drama that they craved. But that was just the appetizer. There is a WBC national welterweight title to be decided.
Jimmy Williams marches to the ring. The man from Conneticut is on enemy turf. His opponent, Nick Delomba hails from Cranston, Rhode Island, just a 20 minute drive from the Twin River event center. However, the boisterous army of loyal fans that have made the trip to support Williams eliminate any advantage that Delomba holds.
In the opening salvos of the fight, a fierce combination by Williams knocks Delomba to the canvas. The crowd gets excitedly louder as they sense that a stoppage is imminent. Somehow, Delomba survives the first round. However, Williams had asserted his dominance and over the next 9 rounds he puts on an exhibition to win a unanimous decision, in the process taking the WBC and USNBC national titles.
Williams’ story is as inspiring as it is unique. His uncle first introduced him to boxing at age 9. However, boxing was replaced when Williams discovered is talent for football in high school. His accomplishments on the football field earned him a scholarship to Connecticut State University where he played cornerback. After a great collegiate career, Williams began to eye the big leagues and had several workouts with NFL teams.
In 2008, tragedy struck when his mother was murdered. He was in a football meeting at Southern Connecticut when his sister called to give him the devastating news. Inspired by his mother’s death, Williams returned to the sport, “she always told me I would be a boxer” he says. He went back to the gym and had three amateur fights before he turned pro, “I channeled all the anger and pain into the ring” he says, “boxing gives me hope”.
He moved quickly through the ranks, having 6 fights in his first 10 months as a pro. In 2013, he signed with Jimmy Burchfield and Classic Entertainment Sports. This was the catalyst that took his career to the next level, “CES has been doing a great job with my career” he says. Since signing with Burchfield, Williams has fought on NBC, ESPN and has picked up two titles.
One can’t help but notice the army of fans that follow him to his fights. His following that includes former college teammates and friends and family comprises what is one of the loudest and most loyal fan bases at this level. “My fans mean a lot to me” says Williams, “they know my story and understand my pain, they are the storm”. He is grateful for their support and he says he hopes to have his next fight in Connecticut to repay them.
When pushed for his future ambitions, Williams doesn’t shy away: “I’m going keep on coming until I get to the top and become a world champion, that’s the ultimate goal” he says. This goal isn’t some pipe dream, he is well on his way. The welterweight division his stacked with talent, Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence and Kell Brook to name just a few, but many of the big names are coming to the end of their careers. Perhaps then, Williams is arriving at the opportune moment. His god given talent and work ethic are unquestionable. If he didn’t already have enough motivation, the soon to be father of two now has to use boxing to provide for his children making him all the more driven and dangerous.
Combine that with his fast hands and punching power and you have a deadly cocktail that make Williams a fearsome prospect to anyone. If the welterweight division thought it was getting some respite as the top names retire or move up, it was very wrong. The quiet storm is quickly becoming a hurricane.
Sat there in the crowd at the Twin River events center watching Williams lift the green and gold belt above his head, it is clear this is about more than just boxing. The belt doesn’t just represent a championship, it signifies a much more personal victory. The struggle with adversity is all too familiar for the 30 year old fighter. Boxing has helped him win his fight away from the ring too. The emotion etched into his face as he stands triumphantly in the ring tells those in attendance what he already knows, he has made his mother proud.
“Prince” Charles Williams IBF Light Heavyweight Champion!
“Prince” Charles Williams IBF Light Heavyweight Champion!
By: Ken Hissner
“Prince” Charles Williams turned professional in 1978 dropping his first bout before going 8-0-2. He would suffer his first loss to future IBF cruiserweight champion Jeff Lampkin, 12-0, fighting for the OH state light heavyweight title.
Two fights later Williams would lose to Reggie Gross, 8-0, but bounce back in his next fight defeating Anthony Witherspoon, 7-0, brother of heavyweight champion “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon. In 1984 he would lose to former WBC and WBA light heavyweight champion Marvin Johnson, 35-5. After winning his next four fights he found himself again in the ring with his conqueror Jeff Lampkin, 24-8-1, but this time he defeated Lampkin in Atlantic City, NJ, which was his fifth straight win. It would be 13 months later when he would take the IBF light heavyweight title from Bobby “Chappie” Czyz, 32-1, stopping him in the ninth round due to a closed right eye. He would then spend the next three fights fighting in France starting with a non-tile win and then a pair of defenses starting with former European champion Richard Caramanolis, 36-2-2 and a knockout in three rounds. Then some four months later he won over former French champion Rufino Rangulo, 29-12-3, blasting him out in three rounds.
Some twenty months after taking the title from Czyz, 34-4, Williams gave him a rematch in Atlantic City and this time stopping him in the tenth round due to a closed left eye and being knocked down earlier. Next in his fourth title defense he stopped Frankie Swindell, 18-3, who retired at the end of the eighth round in Atlantic City.
In January of 1991 Williams made his fifth defense in Italy defeating Italy resident though from the Congo Mwehu Beya, 14-6-4, over 12 rounds. In his sixth defense he stopped James “The Heat” Kinchen, 48-7-2, in two rounds in Atlantic City. In his third defense in six months he returned to Italy and stopped American Vincent Boulware, 23-3-1, in three rounds.
In Williams’ fourth title defense in 1991 and his eighth defense in October he would stop Puerto Rico’s Freddy Delgado, 19-1-1, in two rounds. In March of 1993 he would take the big task of going to Germany and fighting their Gold Medal Olympian Henry Maske, 19-0, losing over 12 rounds.
“Charles presented himself in the ring as the heavy opponent. He was at the time the dreaded light heavyweight boxer. With his entire appearance inside and out of the ring, he earned a great respect from the opponents and the audience. In the fight we both had to go our limit. After the last gong he confessed his defeat. He proved greatness with his gesture. I saw Prince Charles for the first time during a fight in London. We were both spectators. From the first moment I knew this was a great one. I wish for him he has found a good way to his sporty careers. Please order Charles cordial greetings from me,” said Henry Maske.
In the second fight back from losing his title Williams would stop Booker T. Word, 21-3-1, in two rounds. He would go onto win the WBC Continental Americas title some six months later defeating Ernest Mateen, 21-0-1, stopping him in the tenth round. This fight would earn him another chance to re-gain a world title dropping down to super middleweight losing to IBF champion James “Lights Out” Toney, 43-0-2, being stopped in the 12th round.
In January of 1995 Williams after nine straight wins in Atlantic City was involved in a technical draw against Merqui Sosa, 24-4-1, after seven rounds when neither fighter could continue per the ringside physician for the vacant NABF title. Williams was cut over his left eye in the first round. Sosa’s right eye was near closed.
It would be five months later in Philadelphia for the same title in a rematch that Williams was stopped by Sosa in the tenth round. The hand writing was on the wall it looked like the end of the line for Williams. In March of 1996 he ended his career knocking out his final opponent American Chris Vernon, 3-3-1, in France. He ended up 37-7-3 (28), for this Mansfield, OH, former world champion.
This writer ran into Williams at a boxing event in Wilmington, DE, recently when he was in for his former trainer Marty Feldman’s funeral.