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Williams Jr.: "Light heavyweight division doesn’t have a star yet"


By Matthew Paras

Finishing up a training session in the gym, light heavyweight Thomas Williams Jr. heard the news from his manager that Javier Molina had injured his hand.
Williams, like many other fighters in boxing, is managed by Al Haymon. On this particular day, Haymon delivered the word that Molina, who was scheduled to fight Kendall Holt, had to pull out of the main event of January 24’s “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.”
“I wish he had told me before,” Williams, 15-0 (10), said. “I probably would have pushed it a little harder that day.”

Originally scheduled to fight in the co-main event, Williams’ fight against Cornelius White was upgraded to ESPN2’s main event after Molina’s injury. The 26-year-old fighter was already eager to make his ESPN debut but the opportunity of showcasing his talents on a bigger stage has the fighter ready to go.
For Williams, this is the first step to introduce himself to fans and the rest of the light heavyweight division.
“I want to be in title talks by the end of this year,” Williams said. “I really believe the light heavyweight division is begging for a star. We have a couple of guys that are okay but they haven’t taken it to the next level. The fans are looking for a star.”
In his 15-fight career, Williams has steadily increased his competition from fight-to-fight. He fought four times in 2013 with his latest victory coming over Yusaf Mack last November.
White, his latest opponent, is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Sergey Kovalev last June. White came into the Kovalev fight with a five-fight win streak, having previously lost to Donovan George in their first round.
Despite White’s less-than-questionable chin, Williams said he isn’t focused on getting an early-round knockout.
“If he’s lost his last fight, he might be even hungrier this time around,” Williams said. “He’ll be in shape to try and knock off an undefeated guy. That’s probably good for him.”
Williams, of course, is determined to not let White upset his future plans. The boxer said he wants to establish himself as the star of the light heavyweight division.
When asked what makes Williams that star, the fighter repeated the question and paused to think out his answer.
“I really believe that the way I work off my butt in the gym every day,” Williams said. “I think fans will love seeing me fight, my aggression, my poise. They love seeing that aggression in the ring and seeing how calm I am. They’ll love my ring generalship.”
As he aims to impress fans, there’s someone else the young boxer will be fighting for. Williams’ uncle was murdered two weeks ago and he says the White fight will be in his honor.
“I’m dedicating this fight to him because he was taken way before his time,” Williams said. “We want him to know that I won’t ever forget him and I’m doing it for him this Friday night.”
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