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Newz Forum: BOXING: Williams ready for heavyweight bout vs. Klitschko

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posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 01:42 AM
Associated Press
LAS VEGAS -- Danny Williams used to put so much pressure on himself that he would cry in his dressing room before a fight. That might make some wonder how Williams will react when he challenges Vitali Klitschko for a piece of the heavyweight title.

Not to worry, says Williams. His problem ended a few months ago when he rose to the occasion and knocked out Mike Tyson.

"I learned how to control it," Williams said Monday. "I went into the ring relaxed, didn't let anything bother me, and my performance showed it."

That fight July 30 ended with Williams stopping an exhausted and injured Tyson in the fourth round in the biggest bout of his career. The win not only made him famous back home in England but also earned him an unlikely bid for a heavyweight title.

It's heady stuff for a fighter who just a few months earlier was unknown outside England and had just lost his British heavyweight title to Michael Sprott because he couldn't control his emotions for the fight.

"My confidence was never the problem, I was just putting too much pressure on myself," Williams said. "This problem has plagued me since I was an amateur. I'd been to sports psychologists, hypnotherapists, and I always thought I was wasting my money because they told me rubbish. I finally solved the problem myself."

Many in boxing -- including those in Tyson's camp -- figured Williams was just an opponent who would work cheap and put up little resistance against the former heavyweight champion. Williams took a beating for two rounds before coming back and giving Tyson one of his own to win.

Now Williams gets a second big fight in a row when he meets Klitschko on Dec. 11 at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino for the WBC version of the heavyweight title.

"Obviously I believe he's making a mistake because I believe I'll be the heavyweight champion," Williams said. "I beat the man, Mike Tyson, and Vitali Klitschko could have gone out and gotten an easy fight but he took Danny Williams so you have to give him respect for that."

The title defense will be the first for Klitschko since he stopped Corrie Sanders in April to win the title vacated by Lennox Lewis' retirement. After that fight, Klitschko had soreness and swelling in his hands and wanted to take time to recover and sort out his management and future career.

Klitschko said he's now fully healed and ready to get back in the ring against Williams.

"I hope in the future I don't make such long break between fights," Klitschko said. "The next morning after Sanders I wake up and see my fist is swelling. My finger looked like a sausage with so many different colors. It happened for the first time in my career and I was surprised."

Klitschko is regarded by many as the true heavyweight champion among the three major title holders because he has the title that Lewis last held. The fight against Williams will do nothing, though, to help Williams reach his ultimate goal of becoming the undisputed champion.

IBF champion Chris Byrd and WBA champion John Ruiz are both contracted with Don King, who appears to have little appetite for sending one of his champions in against a fighter he has no ties to.

But Klitschko didn't have to search hard to find a way to motivate himself against Williams.

"He destroyed my dream to fight Iron Mike," he said. "I was very impressed with his fight, but I will be in great form and show a great performance on Dec. 11."


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