In an astonishing display of honesty rarely seen by a by a professional sportsman, reigning British heavyweight boxing champion and former world title challenger Danny Williams has admitted he is a “shot fighter.”
Big Danny, all 6´3´´ and 270lbs ( 19st 4lbs) of him, defends his British title against 25 year old Sam Sexton, the reigning Commonwealth heavyweight champion, at Wembley Arena on February 13th. Williams is two for two in his last four fights, and his ability to take a punch, once one of his strong-points, appears to be on the wane.
Williams hit an all time low last time out, losing badly to raw novice Carl Baker in the first round of Sky TV´s ´Prizefighter` tournament. Williams lost on points over three rounds, but barely survived the first after hitting the deck twice. In November 2008, Williams was TKO´d in 8 rounds by the new European heavyweight champion, Essex based Pole Albert Sosnowski. Willams has alternated those defeats with a pair of disputed decisions over John McDermott, both in British title fights.
Win lose or draw, Williams has said that the Sexton fight will be his last.
“I’m a shot fighter,” said Williams. “Others have been saying that about me for years, but when I say it, people think I am joking. This will be it, this will be the last time the ring announcer introduces Danny Williams — unless another guy called Danny Williams comes along, which is always possible.”
36 year old Williams, (41-8, 31 ko´s) has been a stalwart of the British heavyweight scene for the last decade, His career highpoint came in 2004 when he flattened come-backing Mike Tyson in a four round thriller in Louisville, Kentucky. That win propelled Williams into a world heavyweight title shot against newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in December of that year. After his performance against Tyson, Williams was given at least a punchers chance against Klitschko. At 270lbs on the night, Williams held a 20lb weight advantage over the champion.
But the likeable lad from Brixton´s world came crashing down when he suffered a comprehensive and clinical thrashing at the hands of the Ukrainian master. Willams was floored in the 1st, 3rd, 7th and 8th rounds. The referee finally came to Williams rescue in the eighth. To Danny´s eternal credit, he never stopped trying.
“I don’t think I’ve been the same since the Klitschko fight,” he said. “I’ve just been fighting with heart for too long. I’m going to train hard for this fight for one last time. I’m going to do a course to become a bodyguard for celebrities. I’ve got to get completely away from boxing or I’ll just get dragged back in.”
Williams will certainly be up against it in his fight with Sexton. The boxer-puncher from Norwich may have only had 14 fights, (13-1, 6 ko´s) but he twice went into the cauldron that is the Odessy Arena in Belfast against that city´s favorite son, Martin Rogan, and twice he emerged with stoppage victories. At 6´2´´ and 240lbs, (17st 2lbs), Sexton has a great left jab, good power and a remarkably cool head under fire. He showed a good chin against Rogan, who had previously been on a roll with big wins over Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton. In both fights Sexton took Rogan´s best shots and came firing back. Sexton looks on top of his game, and his confidence for the Williams fight will be sky-high. It all points toward a one sided win for Sexton, but big Danny has surprised us before.
After the Klitschko disaster, he re-established himself at the top of the hill domestically with back-to-back wins over Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton, snapping both men´s unbeaten streaks in the process. After his crushing third round loss to Harrison in a rematch in 2007, he bounced back with a knock out over previously undefeated Scott Gammer for the British heavyweight title.
Does Williams have one last hurrah left in him? I think he does. Will it be enough to beat Sexton? We shall have to wait and see.
Also on the Wembley bill that will be promoted by Frank Warren will be outstanding British prospects lightweight Kevin Mitchel, who posted THE performance by a British fighter during 2009 with his win over Breidis Prescot, and British welterweight champion Kell Brook, possibly the most talented boxer in the UK, who may be involved in a world title eliminator.