A couple of fights and KO victories on and Danny Williams would be given the opportunity to take on the one and only ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson in what was scheduled to be his comeback fight. Tyson was clearly faded and a shadow of the Boxer that once lit up our screens but it was of course still a very dangerous opponent. In fact, Danny Williams was supposed to be an easy pay day for Tyson but this was not the case. In front of a packed crowd in Louisville, Kentucky Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson in the 4th round ending any chance of a comeback for Tyson and gaining worldwide attention. Although everybody knew (including Williams) that Tyson was certainly not the fighter he was it was still a huge victory for the ‘Brixton Bomber’ and the catalyst to a shot at a World Title and in 2004 took on Vitali Klitschko for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
When Lennox Lewis retired Britain was left wondering which British Heavyweight could step into his shoes and win a major World Title.
Some thought it was a case of waiting for a young up-and-comer to arrive, some believed Audley Harrison could be that man but the majority of people felt that if it was going to anybody it would be “The Brixton Bomber” Danny Williams.
Williams turned professional in 1995 and within 3 years had a record that boasted of 15 wins, 12 KO’s. His first real test came in 1998 against Antoine Palatis which was for the WBO Inter-Continental Title, a belt that Vitali Klitschko had vacated. Williams ran away with a UD victory. Immediately after this fight Danny Williams took on Julius Francis for the Commonwealth and British Heavyweight Titles in a fight that many expected Williams to win at a canter. The fight went the distance and it was Francis that got the points decision. It was a poor display from Williams who went in to the fight physically and mentally unprepared and seemingly cracked under the pressure; something that would be a feature of his career.
‘The Brixton Bomber’ marched on to 12 straight victories taking his record to 27-1 with some breathtaking displays. In 2000, Williams took on Mark Potter for the Commonwealth and British Titles once again. Unfortunately he dislocated his right shoulder early in the fight which left him little hope in beating Potter. To the amazement of everybody Williams continued to Box on, fighting with just his left hand and in the 6th round threw an almighty uppercut to take out Potter and win the fight.
This was an amazing display that showed exactly what Williams had to offer as a Boxer and in his next fight he destroyed the undefeated Kali Meehan in just one round. Straight after this fight he also avenged his loss to Francis with a 4th round TKO.
Williams was on a great run and in 2003 got a shot at the undefeated Sinan Samil Sam for his EBU Heavyweight Title. Although a very good opponent the masses expected Williams to have too much power for Samil Sam but it was again the psychological demons that halted Williams. He was down three times and then eventually knocked out in the 6th round.
Although a crushing defeat, Williams kept going. He defeated Bob Mirovic in a 4th round KO and also successfully defending both British and Commonwealth Titles against Michael Sprott knocking him out in the 5th round in an extremely impressive manor showing pure power and tenacity. Williams gave Sprott a rematch in his next fight but just like previously in his career he mentally switched off and was defeated on points, not only losing the fight but also both titles to Sprott.
Williams could not have trained any harder for this fight in what was set to be the biggest night of his life. His father made him believe as a young boy that he could be the Heavyweight Champ of the World and this was his time to fulfill it. He was facing a colossus opponent in Vitali Klitschko who had only lost twice and on both of those occasions due to injuries. I never fancied Danny Williams for the job and my reservations were to be correct. Williams was bullied around the ring and eventually stopped in the 8th round after being knocked down several times. His face looked like something out of a horror movie but Williams displayed a huge amount of guts as he kept on getting up and fighting on but it was not enough and the result inevitable. Many have commented on his corner not being very good motivators in this particular but I have to say this has also been a feature of his whole career. His big chance had gone and for probably the first time in his career he had simply lost to the better man.
Between 2004-2010 Williams fought another 15 times including defeating Audley Harrison, two battles with brawler Matt Skelton, an unfortunate no contest with Oleg Platov in what was a shot at Platov’s IBF Heavyweight Title and a controversial bout with Konstantin Airich which saw some ludicrous officiating. Although Williams had an up and down career to date, after some impressive victories he was showing form that could of landed him another World Title shot. In August 2008 Williams was scheduled to face John McDermott in a rematch of a fight that saw Williams defeat him and win the British Title.
McDermott pulled out of the fight due to an injury and in stepped the largely unknown Polish Albert Sosnowski. Williams came into this fight as he had done on many occasions and was underprepared on every level. It is always hard to prepare for the unknown but as a World class fighter I as well as many others know that Danny Williams has it within himself to better prepare for such scenario. Although he was controlling the fight and looked to be well ahead Sosnowski knocked out Williams in the 7th round. Sosnowski was born but unfortunately Williams was finished.
A few fights later Williams decided it was time to hang up his gloves and finally retired seeking a career as a security guard for Hollywood A-listers.
As a huge, huge fan, when I look back at Danny Williams career it is quite frustrating. As a Boxer he had it all, power and strength, an array of shots and guts like nobody else but unfortunately could not get it right mentally. I didn’t think he had much chance of beating Vitali Klitschko and that was mainly down to the size and style of his opponent but I really felt he could have taken another route and win a major World Title. There is another side of Williams (and any Boxer for that matter) and that is behind the scenes and ‘The Brixton Bomber’ never had the right team. He needed somebody to really motivate him and make sure he is physically and mentally prepared for every move in his career and he simply did not have that. I can’t help but feel that if he had the right team behind the scenes he would of almost certainly created a bigger wave and gained more media attention which in turn would have surely motivated him to reach dizzier heights. It couldn’t be more frustrating when you look at some of the Boxers who are getting a mass of media attention and really do not deserve it.
With a professional Boxing record of 41 wins and 9 losses it would be easy to allow the losses to be the dominating factor on that record, but in total truth as a Danny Williams fan or not you would have to admit that only 3 of those defeats were justifiable and of course we can only be left wondering what might have been if Williams was able to conquer the psychological demons and have his mind on the job. There will definitely be certain promoters and trainers looking back with regret when they take a look at the current British Heavyweight prospects and how much support and media attention they are receiving in comparison to what Danny Williams had however one thing is for sure, he provided Boxing fans and insiders all over the World with many nights of joy what was an illustrious, enigmatic, rollercoaster like career.
On behalf of myself, your fans all over the World and the rest of our team we wish you a happy retirement and all the best with your future plans. www.ringsidereport.com – www.britishboxers.co.uk
By Damien Norman