Not only isn’t World Boxing Council (“WBC”) Continental Americas champion Dannie Williams the best kept secret in the lightweight division anymore, the southpaw is arguably the most dangerous 135-pounder in the world, recently breaking into the top 10 for the first time and shooting for the stars.
Co-Promoted by Rumble Time Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, the 27-year-old Williams has overcome numerous obstacles in his life en route to becoming a legitimate contender. No longer just a prospect, he has won 18 of 19 pro fights, 15 by knockout, and recently moved into the WBC ratings at No. 9.
At the request of his longtime promoter Steve Smith, Williams moved from the mean streets of St. Louis to Youngstown (OH). “Boxing has saved me,” the 2004 National Golden Gloves champion explained. “I turned my life around when I left St. Louis for Youngstown. I have some great people around me like (head trainer) Jack Loew, (promoters) Steve Smith, Blake Fischer and Lou DiBella, (manager/advisor) Sam Shapiro…my whole team. They really care about me and want to see me succeed.”
The only blemish on Williams’ otherwise perfect pro record was a loss by 10-round decision two years ago to Eloy Perez. Dannie, however, has been dominant in his last three fights, defeating Manuel Leyva (KO1), Oscar Cuero (DEC10) and Antonio Cervantes (KO4).
What separates the multi-talented southpaw Williams from other lightweight contenders is his pure knockout power. Fans watching his last fight on ESPN Friday Night Fights versus Cervantes got a first-hand look at Williams’ devastating power punching, realizing that he can crack with the best in the business. This sensational knockout was the No. 1 highlight on ESPN Sportscenter countdown.
“Dannie’s a fan-friendly fighter who can attract new, young fans that love to watch the violence in MMA,” promoter Smith remarked. “He just loves to knockout his opponent. Dannie has real power for a 175-pounder, never mind for a lightweight, and sometimes it’s frightening to watch him punch somebody.”
“Dannie Williams will be world champion,” Loew confidently predicted. “He has good hand speed, boxes well and can think in the ring, but he punches so hard. You have to be able to slow down your opponent to gain respect. That’s the key to having a little pop. Dannie won a lot of amateur tournaments, so he had to be a good boxer to do that, but what makes him so marketable is he’s a big puncher. Like Mike Tyson, fans love to watch a fighter like Dannie with that brutality of punching. He can hit a home run at any time and that brings a lot of excitement to boxing. Nobody who watched his last fight complained that it ended after four rounds. He deserves a shot because this kid is so exciting and, I know, Dannie’s ready right now to fight anybody in the top 10.”
Williams has some potential big-time name opponents in the lightweight division such as Brandon Rios, who Williams defeated in the amateurs, Robert Guerrero, Michael Katsidis and a host of others. None, however, are tougher tests than the ones Williams passed fighting his way out St. Louis.
“Boxing fans always like to see a knockout,” Williams commented. I can box and have speed. I train to go the distance, too, but I always want to knockout my opponent. I’m coming at you, setting them up – fast hand-speed jabs, hooks and feints – for a huge shot that, I know, will KO any 135-pound fighter in the world!. I’m in the hurt business and I’m trying to hurt you. I met with Lou DiBella last weekend and he said I have what everybody wants to see – knockout power. You either have it or you don’t, do it or can’t, and my power is always there.”