For Danny Williams this must be the end

DANNY WILLIAMS first told Boxing News he was “shot” in 2008. He repeated the claim a year later and then in 2010 he told reporters, in a startling pre-fight admission, he had little chance of beating Dereck Chisora. Williams was swiftly halted in two rounds. He retired immediately after that loss. He really didn’t want to fight anymore.

It wasn’t that simple, though. Williams had some hefty financial outgoings that are not easy for a retired boxer to find. But when you’re a retired boxer who once beat Mike Tyson, as Williams famously did in 2004, it’s easy to understand the temptations of coming back. With his family at the forefront of his mind, Williams returned in 2011.

Advised to remain retired by the British Boxing Board of Control’s Robert Smith and told his application for a licence would likely be denied, Williams fought on the continent instead. Since that Chisora loss, Williams has fought 29 times (that we know of), losing 18, of which nine were stoppages. None were under the jurisdiction of the BBB of C.
His latest outing came in a controversial encounter on Saturday night (July 28) when he was stopped in 10 rounds inside Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom by former British and Commonwealth lightweight champion, Lee McAllister.

Williams was licenced by the Czech Republic, the spurious World Boxing Union (WBU) sanctioned it as a ‘world heavyweight title fight’ while the event was commissioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA). The veteran’s corner – headed by BIBA boxers who were on the same bill, Marty Kayes and Ryan Kilpatrick – threw in the towel after Williams was dropped for the third time in the contest. Former pro Lee Murtagh was the referee who accepted the surrender.

Gianluca Di Caro, the Executive Vice President and CEO of BIBA – who are not a member of the European Boxing Union (EBU) – admitted he had concerns going into the bout. Though he opined that Williams should not be fighting anymore, “all the obstacles I put in the contest’s way were cleared.”

“I didn’t want Danny to box on a BIBA licence because I felt that we would be criticised,” Di Caro explained to Boxing News. Williams boxed on his Czech Republic licence, and – according to Di Caro – was given permission to fight by the EBU.

“I was expecting the EBU to veto the contest but they didn’t,” he said. “Danny still fighting is a concern, he isn’t the fighter he was. But he had won his last four fights, three in the first round.

“He passed all the strict medicals and you can’t just deny someone the right to fight just because of your own personal opinion – it’s not fair on the boxer. He was fit to fight and he wanted to fight.”

Di Caro was initially against the bout out of concern for McAllister, best known as a lightweight and super-lightweight, due to Williams’ punching power and size advantage (Lee weighed in at 206lbs while Williams tipped the scales at 261lbs). He fully expected Williams to knock the Scotsman out, despite McAllister faring well against another heavyweight, Lee Kellett, in a heavyweight bout commissioned by BIBA in April. Di Caro, who was ringside, said the contest was “exciting” and Williams “proved to anyone he can hold his own in the ring.” He did however admit that his “concern switched from Lee to Danny from round six,” because Williams’ balance had started to falter as he came under fire.

“I am proud to have hosted the fight,” Di Caro added. “It was a good fight overall, very exciting at times, and it would have been wrong to deny Danny the chance to earn a living.”

Di Caro, though, does not want to see his friend fight again and hopes the former British and Commonwealth champion will accept his invitation to train to be a BIBA official. Williams has also been offered a lucrative security job by BIBA’s Scottish chairman, Ian Longstaff.

“I have wanted to retire for a long time, but this is the end,” Williams told the Aberdeen Evening Express afterwards. “There have been times when going into a fight, and I am in the changing room and have actually been scared. Not because I thought I was going to lose, but because I thought I was going to die.

“But I pushed through it and done my job. My reason for continuing to box was because I wanted to see my girls in private school away from the mad people I grew up with in South London.”

It should be noted that nobody has been forcing Williams to fight. He kept fighting because he was putting his daughters first. We shouldn’t knock any parent for that.

But it must also be said that nobody should allow him to fight again if he goes back on his latest retirement announcement – whatever his reasons for wanting to come back might be.

It’s been 10 years since he admitted he was shot. It’s been eight years since he was advised to retire. He has taken countless punches since then. His kids won’t thank him for taking any more.

This article was originally published in Boxing News. Don’t miss the latest magazine, out today

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