Danny Williams failed to complete his boxing fairytale in Las Vegas after his brave world heavyweight title bid was ended by Vitali Klitschko.
Williams was knocked down four times and took tremendous punishment before referee Jay
Nady wisely waved his challenge off one minute and 26 seconds into the eighth round. The Brixton man had performed a minor miracle to last into the
second half of the contest after coming within a fraction of a second of being counted out in round one. The British fighter had travelled to Las
Vegas with high hopes of upsetting the odds yet again as he looked to follow on from his stunning victory over Mike Tyson back in July. However, a
second consectuive shock win was not to be for the 31-year-old as he was battered around the ring at the Mandalay Bay Casino before referee Jay Nady
decided he'd seen enough in round eight. Many believed that Klitschko may underestimate a challenger that less than 12 months ago had lost his British
and Commonwealth titles at the hands of Michael Sprott. Such thoughts were put to bed within the opening exchanges of round one. After so much talk
from the Williams camp of head movement and attacking the champion's body, Williams was nothing more than a stationary target that could barely land a
Williams said: "He was a lot more awkward than I thought and it was harder than I thought it was going to be.
"I got cut in the first round and it became harder and harder to see his punches.
"I kept fighting because it was the heavyweight championship of the world but he was just too good."
Williams showed amazing heart to continue pushing forward in a fruitless attempt to upset Klitschko's heavy-handed rhythm.
Williams added: "He doesn't hit as hard as Mike Tyson but he was more consistent.
"I had watched tapes of him but he was different and the cuts did not help."
Williams' hopes of making a quick start were dashed in the opening round as he was
bundled to the canvas by two heavy Klitschko right hands. He remained on his knees as referee Nady counted before springing up a fraction of a second
before his challenge would have met an ignominious end. Williams looked groggy and was hampered by his cut but continued to push on and try to upset
Klitschko. A left hand which landed gave his British fans some cheer in the third round but he soon hit the canvas again from a right hand. When he
rose at the count of six Williams was lucky to be greeted by the bell for a moment's respite from the relentless punishment. As his cut worsened in
round four, Williams' chances looked even bleaker, yet he reached the bell again to keep his hopes only just alive. Williams exceeded expectation by
edging into the second half of the fight despite Klitschko continuing to pick him off and worsen the damage around his eyes. And there were questions
about the wisdom of Williams' corner allowing him to continue, although the Briton continued to fire back with single punches.
Referee Nady took a close look at Williams in a seventh round in which he hit the canvas again when Klitschko helped him down after a missed swing. It
was finally all over in the eighth when Williams, still trying to get forward, was sent crashing to the canvas for the fourth time and was wisely
prevented from continuing by Nady despite meeting the count. Williams can take some solace from Klitschko, who called his performance the best of his
Klitschko said: "This was the best fight of my career and I was surprised Danny was able to take so many punches.
"He has a strong chin and he caught me good a couple of times.
"My strategy was to use my reach because I knew he would try to get close to me, so I stayed outside. I thought the fight would have been stopped a
"I got a little tired but nothing serious. I am the real world heavyweight champion and I am prepared to fight anyone."
The victorious Klitschko - who has won 34 of his 37 fights by KO - should rightly take a lot of praise for a performance that proved he is the best
heavyweight in the world. As for the vanquished, Williams must feel a sense of pride in his achievements, no one can now doubt that he doesn't have
the heart for a battle after such a brave display.