Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Could It Be Danny the Champion of the World?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Could It Be Danny the Champion of the World?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Staniforth

Pundits may be making a mistake in writing off Danny Williams' chances in Saturday's big fight. Mark Staniforth reports.

If Danny Williams beats Vitali Klitschko in Las Vegas on Saturday night he will be hailed as one of the unlikeliest boxing superstars. The unassuming family man from Brixton is far removed from the bombastic blather which has accompanied world heavyweight title fights and their combatants throughout history.

Yet it is in just such exalted company of megastars and motormouths from Jack Johnson to Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali where Williams will find himself if he can fashion one more miracle.

A year which began with a dismal British title defeat to domestic rival Michael Sprott in January turned into one which would change his life forever in July when he dumped Mike Tyson to fourth-round defeat.

A fighter who always possessed talent had finally shaken free of the mental demons which had crippled most of his career, and found the heavyweight world at his feet.

Until the night in Louisville which will sit proudly in the history books for generations to come, the 31-year-old Williams had always seemed set for a career of unfulfilled potential.

He had lapsed in appalling fashion, not only against Sprott but also in a previous meeting with veteran fellow Londoner Julius Francis.

When he got his big chance last year against the European champion Sinan Samil Sam, Williams was knocked down three times and suffered a sixth-round knockout defeat.

It seemed certain that that was the last to be heard from Williams on such a big stage, despite him bouncing back with a couple of low-key international victories.

Perhaps that was why Mike Tyson's handlers saw him as suitable cannon fodder as the once formidable former champion marshalled his forces for a new assault on boxing's world order.

Williams seemed made to measure for a man who beat the vast majority of his opponents before they set foot into the ring. But somehow Williams did not crumble and instead responded sensationally when the going got tough .

Perhaps Williams had provided one previous clue about his attitude in the face of adversity. …

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