Friday, July 10, 2009

Danny Williams (boxer)

Daniel "Danny" Williams (born 13 July 1973, London, England) is a Britishboxer, current British heavyweight title holder and former Commonwealth champion. professional heavyweight



[edit] Amateur

As an amateur boxing out of the famous Lynn AC boxing gym in SE London, Williams learned his trade quickly, often sparring with the likes of clubmates Henry Akinwande and Derek Angol. In 1991 Williams won the PLA's and won a gold medal in Sardinia multination tournament and a gold medal in a Greek multinations tournament. In a Finland multinations in 1992 he won a bronze medal.

Williams won a bronze medal at the European Championships 1993 at heavyweight in the 91kg/201 lbs limit and bronze at super heavyweight at the 1994 Commonwealth Games[1]. Williams also won a gold medal at the 1994 Liverpool multinations tournament. His amateur record was 29-6.

[edit] Professional

Williams turned pro in 1995 knocking out Vance Ideans in two rounds. He fought routinely on Frank Warren undercards and compiled a 15-0 (12 knockouts) record.

He took his first big step up in April 1999 to challenge Julius Francis for his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. A hot favourite, Williams was outboxed and lost a points decision to the 34 year old veteran.

Francis would later vacate the Commonwealth title for a big money fight with Mike Tyson, and Williams won the title with a closely contested split decision over respected British contender (and former amateur clubmate) Harry Senior.

[edit] British and Commonwealth champion

In 2000 Williams put together four knockouts before fighting Mark Potter for the Commonwealth title and the vacant British title. In a dramatic fight, Williams suffered a grotesque dislocated right arm, yet very bravely fought on with one arm and knocked Potter out with a left uppercut. [2]

After an eight month layoff for surgery and recovery, Williams returned to bomb out Kali Meehan in 32 seconds [3], then avenged his defeat to Francis, stopping the 36 year old on an eye injury in the 4th round. [4] Afterwards he was signed by Don King and ended 2001 knocking out US journeyman Shaun Robinson in two rounds on an undercard in America.[5]

His tenure under King would prove to be uneventful, and he did not renew his contract at the end of 2002, a year that saw Williams retain his British and Commonwealth titles with a knockout of late sub Michael Sprott [6] and a points win over Keith Long [7], before dropping out of a fight in America with hard hitting South African southpaw Corrie Sanders, because it coincided with Ramadan.

In February 2003 Williams travelled to Germany to fight the Turk Sinan Samil Sam for his European heavyweight title. A hot favourite, Williams was surprisingly dropped three times and stopped in six rounds. [8] In the UK, his local rivals Audley Harrison and Herbie Hide derided him in the press.

In January 2004 Williams re-signed with Frank Warren. After two comeback knockout wins, in July he went to Louisville, Kentucky to fight the infamous Mike Tyson. In a sensational win, Williams took the ex-champs best shots and outpunched him in true world-class heavywieght fashion, knocking out the former world champion with a torrent of punches in the fourth round. After the fight Williams earned the nickname 'the man who knocked out Tyson'.

Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams; photo courtesy Bret Newton.

In December he finally challenged for the world heavyweight title, but the giant Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko proved too much, as Williams was stopped in the 8th round.[9]

[edit] After the world title challenge

In December Williams regained his old Commonwealth belt by beating undefeated, Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison.

Williams retained the Commonwealth title with a win over undefeated Matt Skelton in March 2006.

In December 2006 when Skelton dropped out of a fight with Audley Harrison, Williams stepped in at a weeks notice, although by his own admission he had been training for eight weeks for a fight with British champion Scott Gammer. Williams lost by tko in the 3rd round, suffering a broken nose.

In March 2007 Williams held onto his British title in Wales with a 9th round knockout of Scott Gammer. Williams came in at the lightest he had been since his pro debut 16 stones 4 pounds {4 stones lighter than his previous fight} after training himself for the fight just with a piece of paper that contained a conditioning programme given to him by Joe Dunbar who had worked with Lennox Lewis.

After he had watched the tape of his fight with Gammer, Williams decided he would continue boxing and took a fight with 26-1 22 KOs Ukrainian prospect Oleg Platov. He came in again at 270lbs. Both fighters were engaged in wild exchanges from the first bell on. The Ukrainian picked up a badly-bleeding cut above the left eye following an accidental headbutt in the second round and he continued to swing wild punches but not without taking some huge shots from Williams. After 2:15 in the fourth and with the cut getting worse, the referee waved the fight off. According to the rules of the IBF, it was declared a no contest. Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer defended the decision. "The rules are clear," he said. "We had an accidental headbutt and the referee, who consulted the doctor several times, ruled he could not continue to protect his health. Speaking exclusively to SecondsOut after the fight a disappointed Williams said: “He (Platov) was looking for a way out and he got it. He knew the rules and worked them. He was starting to tire and knew it was only a matter of time before I knocked him out.

“I found it slow in the early rounds but I when I got going I started to get on top. He knew I was gonna knock him out and he was looking for a way out. I’m not sure whether or not it was a punch or a head clash that cut him in the second round. It took be a little while to get going but I really enjoyed it, it was a great fight while it lasted. But he was looking for a way out. He kept falling to the floor and it was only a matter of time before I knocked him out.”

[edit] Airich fight

On 30 May 2008 Williams defeated unbeaten German, Konstantin Airich in a highly controversial fight. Williams had a total of 3 points deducted in rounds 2 and 5 [1] creating a feeling afterwards that the referee was blatantly on the side of the German. In addition he was given 2 standing 8 counts by the referee in round 3 despite not actually being knocked down or touching the canvas, and was also counted after slipping in round 4 [2]. After managing to fight back and score a knockdown himself in round 5, in the 6th round Williams unleashed a series of extremely punishing blows on his opponent sending him reeling across the ring. At this point Airich's promoter Ahmet Oner controversially ran over and rang the timekeeper's bell himself to end the round and save his fighter, even though there was still 1:28 left to go in the round[3] Despite this confusion the fight continued after the shortened 6th round and after seeing his man absorb more heavy punishment in the next round Oner eventually threw in the towel handing Williams a 7th round TKO victory.

In the aftermath of the fight Williams was extremely critical of the performance of both the referee and fight promoters, and has called for the British Boxing Board of Control to conduct an immediate investigation into the fight.[4] [5]

[edit] McDermott fight

Williams faced John McDermott at Goresbrook Leisure Centre, Dagenham on 18 July 2008. Despite being deducted three points in rounds eleven and twelve, he defeated McDermott in a majority points decision. He was due to face John McDermott in a rematch at York Hall on 8 November 2008, and would potentially have faced a bout with Francois Botha on 30 November 2008 in Egypt [6] but in the event McDermott withdrew due to a rib injury. In the meantime Williams lost his chance to challenge Botha for the WBF title when he was dropped in eight rounds by Albert Sosonowski in an ill-advised 'tune-up' fight at the York Hall, a result that prompted many to once again call for his retirement. His last fight was a rematch against McDermott on the 2 May 2009 in a defence of the British Heavyweight and Commonwealth Championship belts that Williams currently holds. Williams won the match on a split decision.

[edit] Islam

Danny Williams is a devout Muslim and was first drawn to Islam while abroad, "I went to Turkey and heard the Adhan (the call to pray)" he explained. "I was a Christian at the time and I got goose pimples and carried on looking into Islam[7] and I just felt this was the way of life for me and this was the way of life for God."

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