Jarret Hurd Backs Out Of Julian Williams Rematch
By: Hans Themistode
Unified Jr Middleweight champion Julian Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) shocked much of the boxing world when he unseated former champion Jarrett Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) on May 11th, earlier this year. It was even more shocking to hear that their highly anticipated rematch, which was slated to take place sometime in December, was called off.
Hurd initially opted to have an immediate rematch to avenge his lone defeat as a pro. With the news of the former champion electing to go in a direction however, it has left several scratching their heads.
Standing at six feet one inches, Hurd has always been viewed as the biggest fighter in the division. He has also at times struggled to make weight. A move up to the Middleweight division could be in the cards for Hurd.
The former champion had long expressed a desire to move up in weight, but first wanted to capture every title in the Jr Middleweight division. He was half way there as he picked up the IBF crown by stopping Tony Harrison in the ninth round of their 2017 matchup. He followed that up one year later by taking the WBA title away from long time belt holder Erislandy Lara via split decision.
The first contest between these two was competitive, but one that Williams won decisively. He floored the much bigger Hurd in the second round and had the former champion on his heels all night long. According to Williams, the decision made by Hurd was a wise one.
“Our first fight was a really good, fan-friendly fight, but it appears he has other plans. I’m not going to bash him. I don’t know what happened. You have to ask him,” Williams said. “Things change in boxing, man, what can I say. I don’t really know how to feel about it. If he doesn’t want to fight, that’s his prerogative. Smart move if you ask me. I wish him the best. I don’t have anything bad to say about him.”
The news of the cancelation of this contest is a tough pill to swallow for fight fans as the rematch was sure to be another action packed contest. Even with Williams needing to find a new opponent, his motivation to unify titles remains the same. The rematch between former champion Jermell Charlo and current WBC champion Tony Harrison is set to take place later on this year and Williams has been vocal about taking on the winner.
As for Hurd, his future is murky at best. He recently decided to part ways with long time trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez which adds to the uncertainty that currently surrounds him.
With his time at the Jr Middleweight division seemingly over, Hurd could have big matches awaiting him one weight class above.
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.
Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” To Fight on Pacquiao-Thurman Undercard
By: Sean Crose
“I’m always going to come to fight,” 16-2-1 super welterweight Jimmy “Quiet Storm” Williams told me back in January. That attitude has proven to be quite successful for the 32 year old fighter out of New Haven. For now, Williams has been slotted to fight on the undercard of the highly anticipated Keith Thurman-Manny Pacquiao bout which is going down July 20th in Las Vegas. His opponent will be the 24-3 Abel Ramos of Arizona. “I know he’s a tough, tough fighter,” Williams says of the man he will share the ring with. “I’m just ready for a war.”
Williams says he found out about the match “about three days ago,” though he knew “it was in the works.” Although the fight may be on short notice (Pacquiao and Thurman, for instance, have been training for July 20th for some time), Williams has been keeping himself in shape since his last bout in March. The fighter indicates that now it’s simply a case of taking things to the next level. “I’ve got to step it up,” he states matter of factly, showing the attitude required for a fighter on the rise. “I accept the challenge,” he says.
Williams is living proof that a loss or two isn’t the end of a career. Although he walked into his last fight with a single loss on his resume, Williams was defeated by Mark DeLuca via Unanimous Decision last winter in Boston. DeLuca was essentially the hometown fighter, and it’s been indicated in some quarters that the judges’ ruling that night was arguable. Williams, however, didn’t let the matter sink him emotionally. “I never doubted myself,” he says. “I knew some opportunities will come.” Williams thought right, as Thruman-Pacquiao is one of the most anticipated cards of the year.
“I’m ready for the challenge.”,” says Williams, who will be training in the New Haven area until just before the bout, when he will head out west. He has good reason to stay home as much as possible, as those who follow his Facebook feed can attest that Williams is openly and happily a family man – something that’s unique, perhaps, in this era of flash and trash talk. Not that Williams isn’t eager to show what he’s made of in his next fight. Being impressive on one of the top cards of the year has it’s benefits.
“If they don’t know me,” Williams says of fight fans, “they’ll know after the fight.”
Williams Upsets Hurd On Memorable PBC Card
By: Sean Crose
PBC on Fox, along with the EagleBank arena in Fairfax, Virginia hosted one heck of a card on Saturday night, one which featured three memorable bouts. The first match was a controversial affair, as the 28-2 Matvey Korobov battled the 18-1 Immanuwel Aleem to a majority draw in a ten round middleweight fight. After Korobov looked strong in the first half of the bout, Aleem came on strong in the second half. The fight was originally read as a win for Korobov, making things a bit chaotic once it became clear the wrong score had been read. In the second bout, welterweight Mario Barrios, 23-0, demolished the 20-1 Juan Jose Velasco in the second round of their scheduled ten rounder with a paralyzing body shot.
The main event, which was for Jarret Hurd’s IBF and WBA junior middleweight belts, was a scheduled twelve rounder. Hurd had the advantage of fighting close to home in Virginia, but his opponent, the 26-1-1 Julian Williams was determined to redeem himself after losing a much hyped bout against Jermall Charlo in 2016.
The first round was something of a feeling out process. Williams was able to land effectively in the second, even hurting Hurd a bit. Then, with only 30 seconds left in the round, Hurd actually got sent to the mat. Hurd got back to his feet. Williams unloaded, but the defending champion was able to survive until the bell. The third was a rough, mauling affair, one which still saw Williams gaining an edge. By round’s end, however, Hurd began landing well from a distance. Williams continued to chop away at Hurd in the fourth. Round five was terrific, with neither man willing to be denied. The sixth was all out war, with the fighters engaging in a seesaw battle.
Hurd pressed the attack in the seventh, swinging wildly at the final bell. The beginning of round eight had shades of Clay-Liston, as Hurd appeared to be troubled by something in his eye. Williams went in for the kill, but after a few moments, Hurd seemed to be no longer bothered. Williams landed clean, heavy shots in the ninth. Hurd may have pulled off the tenth by virtue of being the more active of the two fighters. In the eleventh, it was clear that Williams simply hit considerably harder than the defending champion. The twelfth was close, but it was Williams who threw the harder punches.
Williams won the fight, via unanimous decision, and went home with Hurd’s title belts.
“Boxing world,” Williams said after the fight, “stop forgetting fighters once they take a loss.” The newly crowned champion was referring to his single to defeat to Charlo almost two and a half years earlier. Hurd, as was fitting his personality, was gracious in defeat.
Jarrett Hurd-Julian Williams Fight Preview
By: Sean Crose
IBF and WBA junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd will defend his titles in Fairfax, Virginia this Saturday night when he faces Julian “J Rock” Williams in a card that will be aired live on Fox starting at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time. Hurd, 23-0, has taken to besting a who’s who of divisional notables in the past two and a half years. Erislandy Lara, AustinTrout, and Tony Harrison have all fallen victim in one form or another to the fighter known as “Swift.” In Williams, 26-1-1, Hurd will be facing another name of note.
A Philly fighter, William’s one loss was to Jermall Charlo in December of 2016. Since that time, he’s gone on to win four in a row, three within the distance. “I just dusted myself off,” Premiere Boxing Champions quotes William’s as saying of his lone loss. “It was just another fight to me.” Now, over two years since that single loss, Williams is getting another major title shot (the bout with Charlo was for the IBF junior middleweight championship). Hurd, however, intends to continue succeeding in the ring. “My confidence level is sky high,” the defending champion said on a recent conference call to promote this weekend’s fight. “I want to make it one sided all the way through.” The Hurd-Williams match is scheduled for 12 rounds.
The well regarded 23-0 junior middleweight Mario Barrios will also be on Saturday’s card. His opponent is the 20-1-0 Juan Jose Velasco, whose lone loss came at the heavy hands of Regis Prograis last summer in New Orleans. The bout, which is scheduled for 10 rounds, is expected to result in another win on Barrio’s resume. None of Barrio’s last seven opponents has managed to go the distance with the San Antonio, Texas native.
Another Jermall Charlo victim, Matvey Korobov, will be fighting Saturday night in Virginia, as well. The 28-2 Russian’s opponent will be the 18-1-1 Immanuwel Aleem. The fight is scheduled for 10 rounds in the middleweight realm. Korobov was on the rise, but was stopped by Andy Lee in 2014. He moved on to his ill-fated fight with Charlo late last year, but aims to prove that a loss or two doth not a career define. Aleem himself only has a single loss on his resume, a 2017 knockout defeat to Hugo Centeno Jr.
The entire card will go down live at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Frampton, Top Rank, Hurd, Williams, Hall of Fame, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 19th to March 26th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Jarrett Hurd vs. Julian Williams Press Conference Quotes
Unified and undefeated IBF and WBA 154-pound “Swift” Jarrett Hurd and top contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams previewed their recently announced showdown at a press conference Sunday before they meet in primetime in Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes action on Saturday, May 11 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
Tickets for the event go on sale Thursday, March 28 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com).
Here is what the fighters had to say Sunday from MGM National Harbor in Maryland:
“It was very important to fight at home because that’s what everyone has been asking for. I’m excited to have the opportunity and I can’t wait to step in the ring.
“All of my fights are classics. I know that ‘J-Rock’ has been watching me and that makes him dangerous. He’s coming in with a good game plan and we’ll see what it is on fight night.
“Jermall Charlo is a big puncher and he landed some shots that got Julian out of there, but Julian was right in that fight. It was kind of back and forth action until Charlo landed those shots, but Charlo was hurt in that fight too.
“The fighter that I am, I wanted to go out there and close the show against Erislandy Lara. I thought I was up, but it’s not in me to just go out and survive. I’m glad I did because it got me the win.
“I’m going to be victorious on May 11. I’m looking for a decisive win. I’m not saying I’m going to to get the stoppage, but it will be convincing that it went my way.
“Tony Harrison beating Jermell Charlo definitely threw a monkey wrench into the plan coming off of surgery. I’m going to go after the WBC belt regardless of who has it, but first I have to take care of Julian.”
“I’m not Erislandy Lara, I’m going to fight a completely different fight than he did. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to win. That’s the kind of fighter Hurd is, so that’s the kind of fighter I have to be.
“I think I’m going to win in a classic. We’re probably going to have to do it a second time it’ll be so good.
“My motivation are those two belts on the line. Any kind of fight with Harrison or Charlo and Hurd has nothing to do with me. I’m focused on what I have to do.
“I had to get over the loss quick. You can’t dwell on that. Am I going to mope? No, it’s who’s up next? I can’t even put it into words how hungry I am.
“Hurd is definitely a really exciting fighter. He gives that extra each fight, but I’ve seen some things. I have a way of wearing guys down myself. I wore Nathaniel Gallimore down fighting off my front foot and I think I’ll do the same to Hurd.
“I don’t know if there will be extra pressure on him fighting at home. You have to ask him. I know when I fight at home I don’t feel any extra pressure. When the bell rings, a fight is a fight.”
Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame Announces Star-Studded 2019 Induction Class
A diverse and glittering array of boxing greats will be honored with induction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame at the 7th Annual Induction Weekend spectacular August 9th and 10th 2019 at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. The partnership with the Red Rock Casino and Spa is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship with the NVBHOF.
The Inductees were announced at a press conference hosted by NVBHOF Founder Rich Marotta and 2014 NVBHOF Inductee, “Colonel” Bob Sheridan.
CEO and President Michelle Corrales-Lewis said, “I’m extremely excited about this year’s Class. I feel it’s one of our most glamorous ever!”
The exciting list of inductees includes:
Non-Nevada Resident Boxers
BERNARD “THE EXECUTIONER” HOPKINS: The magnificent “Executioner” won multiple world titles in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions including 20 successful defenses of 160 pound title. Hopkins was the first male boxer to simultaneously hold world titles from four sanctioning bodies and became the oldest boxer ever to win a world championship fighting in his 50’s.
JUAN MANUEL “DINAMITA” MARQUEZ: Considered one the greatest Mexican champions of all time. A superb counter-puncher and technician and was willing to slug it out as well, hence his nickname “Dinamita”. Marquez engaged in an iconic 4-fight series With Manny Pacquaio, all of them in Las Vegas, and won World Titles in 4 divisions.
RONALD “WINKY” WRIGHT: Master ring general who could use all 20 feet of the ring to out-think, out-maneuver and out-hustle his adversaries. Strong resume included Wins over Trinidad, Mosley and Quartey.
HUMBERTO “CHIQUITA” GONZALEZ: One of the hardest punching lighter-weight boxers at 108 lbs ever. Won 2 of 3 in epic trilogy with Michael Carbajal, losing only a sensational Vegas battle in which he scored two knockdowns.
VINNY “THE PAZMANIAN DEVIL” PAZ: The Pazmanian Devil, winner of multiple world titles and a 1994 decision over Roberto Duran in Las Vegas. His unique story includes an incredible comeback from auto accident resulting in a broken neck, chronicled in the movie “Bleed for This”.
“TERRIBLE” TERRY NORRIS: The true epitome of “boxer-puncher” was a Las Vegas regular With 14 fights in Nevada. Possessor of great hand and foot speed, he KO’d champs like John Mugabi, Donald Curry, Meldrick Taylor, and Simon Brown among others and won a Decision over the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard.
“SCHOOLBOY” BOBBY CHACON (Posthumous): Immensely popular champion who engaged in Fight of the Year in both 1982 vs Bazooka Limon and ’83 vs Cornelius Boza-Edwards.
Nevada Resident Boxers
JOEL “EL CEPILLO” CASAMAYOR: Fought 12 times in Nevada. A clever, wise fighter who knew all the tricks. He held the WBA 130 pound and WBC 135 pound world titles. Won 2 of 3 in epic trilogy with Diego Corrales. Had nearly 400 fights as an amateur and won 1992 Olympic Bantamweight Gold Medal in Barcelona with victory over Wayne McCullough. Would’ve been 1996 Olympian as well but defected from Cuba just before Olympics. Longtime resident of Las Vegas, now working training kids.
WAYNE “POCKET ROCKET” McCULLOUGH: One of Ireland’s most famous and popular fighters and lived in Las Vegas throughout and after his career. He had storied amateur career of about 350 fights. Made it to finals of 1992 Olympics where he lost decision to Joel Casamayor. He returned to Ireland with Silver Medal as major hero. After just two years as pro, traveled to Japan and pulled off difficult assignment of defeating Yasukio Yakushiji to win the WBC Bantamweight Title. Career included wins over Johnny Bredahl, Joe Luis Bueno and Victor Rabanales.
HASIM “THE ROCK” RAHMAN: Longtime Las Vegas Resident held both the IBF and WBC Heavyweight title, and had two stints as WBC King. His first fight vs Lennox Lewis proved his biggest win with a stunning KO win in South Africa. Notable wins over Maskaev and Barrett, draws with Toney and Tua. Fought 5X in NV, including his 1994 pro debut at Caesars Palace.
LEROY “IRISH” HALEY (Posthumous): Fought an awesome 49 times in Nevada, more than any current or past NVBHOF Inductee. He won the WBC 140lb title in 1983, defeating outstanding champion Saoul Mamby and repeated victory later in the rematch. He lost the title outdoors at Caesars Palace to Bruce Curry. He lived in Las Vegas throughout his career.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR.: Best known for training his son Floyd Jr, and Oscar de la Hoya. He is well known for teaching defensive techniques. He also has trained Chad Dawson, Laila Ali and Ricky Hatton. He also had successful pro boxing career with 28-6-1 record.
DUANE FORD: A longtime judge in NV and now President of North American Boxing Federation (NABF). Resides in Las Vegas. He judged over 600 fights including some of the biggest bouts in Las Vegas such as Hagler vs Antuofermo 1, De La Hoya vs Mosley 2, Morales vs Barrera 1, Wright vs Mosley 2 and Hopkins vs Taylor 1.
DAN GOOSSEN (Posthumous): President of Goossen-Tudor Promotions, previously President of America Presents and Ten Goose Boxing. He served as VP at Top Rank when he resided in Las Vegas. He promoted the Ruelas Brothers, Michael Nunn, James Toney, Terry Norris, Chris Arreola, Andre Ward and briefly Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. He died 2014
DR. EDWIN “FLIP” HOMANSKY: Ringside physician for more than 20 years. NV State athletic Commissioner, Chairman NSAC Medical Board.
MARC RISMAN: He was the attorney to Joe Louis and has represented many in boxing, including NVBHOF inductees and nominees with legal matters. Also managed Virgil Hill, Trevor Berbick and Engels Pedroza. Marc has always been a huge advocate for the sport of Boxing throughout the community.
Elated Frampton: Top Rank/ESPN Deal Insane
Carl Frampton has heaped praise on MTK Global after securing a colossal deal with US boxing giants Top Rank and ESPN.
Belfast’s two-weight world champion (26-2-KO15) was in New York to watch MTK Global team-mate Michael Conlan beat Ruben Garcia Hernandez on St Patrick’s Day as news broke.
Frampton told iFL TV: “I’ve done a deal through MTK Global with Top Rank and ESPN and it’s massive for me personally. It’s huge and I’m very, very excited for it.
“It’s an amazing deal. Talking financially, if you got this deal coming off the back of win, you’d be very happy with it but coming off a loss, credit to MTK Global.
“I think it’s insane coming off a loss. At one point a few months ago, I was genuinely thinking about retiring.
“It’s been in discussion for a number of weeks and we’ve done well to keep it quiet. There was a little bit of talk about it online but I’ve kept it very quiet.
“It gives me a big opportunity to get back. I believe I can win a world title. There’s more of a chance of that happening now than there was six weeks ago.
“Potentially, I’ll face a good fighter and then potentially Oscar Valdez after that. That’s an option and if I’m asked to fight Valdez straight away, I’d be happy to do that too.”
Frampton, who unified super-bantamweight world titles before dethroning Leo Santa Cruz on his first outing as a featherweight, was defeated by Josh Warrington on points in a classic world title fight back in December.
Banner Promotions Signs Super Middleweight Patrick Mukala to Promotional Contract
Banner Promotions is proud to announce the signing of super middleweight Patrick Mukala to a Promotional Contract.
Mukala of the Democratic Republic of The Congo has a record of 11-1-1 with 10 knockouts.
The 25 year-old Mukala began boxing at the age of 15 after watching a film of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
“The fight took place in my country (formerly known as Zaire), since seeing seeing that fight, it really motivated me to be the face of boxing in my country, and then the whole world,” said Mukala.
Mukala had an amateur record of 65-5 and he was an eight-time regional champion.
Mukala turned professional on April 28, 2014 with a 1st round stoppage over Vhonani Netshidamboni. Mukala has wins over Page Tshesane (20-4-3), Faizel Malinga (6-1), Renson Hobyani (6-1) and Daniel Lartey (6-0). In the bout with Lartey, Mukala won via 8th round stoppage that garnered him WBA Pan African Super Middleweight Title.
He defended that title twice.
“My country hosted that legendary fight with Ali and Foreman. I believe that wasn’t by chance. For me it is a sign that a Congolese boxer can achieve big things in boxing. I want to say thanks to Banner Promotions to offer me this opportunity to follow my American dream and achieve my ultimate dream to become a world champion.”
“We are very excited to add Patrick to our roster. He is a very exciting young fighter, who has power in both hands. We will announce his first fight with us very shortly,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions.
Mukala is trained by Asheley Fourie, and is managed by Marcel Tshiyoyi.
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.