A pair of gatekeepers and noted road warriors, heavyweight Sherman “Tank” Williams and super middleweight Marcus “Arillius” Upshaw, will both be in crossroads fights this month.
Williams (37-14-2, 20 KOs), fighting out of Nassau, Bahamas, travels to Romania to take on Christian Hammer (17-4, 10 KOs), August 28, in the 10-round main event in Galati’s hometown of Galati.
Upshaw (17-4-4, 8 KOs), 35, will fight in his home state for the first time in 2 ½ years on August 15, when he faces undefeated Turkish prospect Bugra Oener (9-0-0, 3 KOs) at Wynwood Stadium in Miami, in a 10-round fight for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Interim Mediterranean super middleweight title.
“These two fights are very big for both fighters,” Stern remarked. “Sherman has a great opportunity to be back on top in the heavyweight division. He’s very smart and very experienced. Marcus can get back on the winning track where he should be.”
Williams will be fighting in his eighth different country against Hammer, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) European heavyweight champion. “I’m a Bahamian warrior,” Williams explained why he fights so many opponents in their backyard. “By nature, in the Caribbean, we are known as pirates. I’ve traveled all my life. We have no borders, only waters to cross. Wherever I fight, I feel like it’s my hometown of Nassau. This is the sixth different fight for me this year but the only one that’s really happening. The others fell apart for one reason or another. I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity. I’ll face adversity fighting in Romania for the first time but I’m going there with the intention of belting him from pillar to post. I’m going to take him out. I’m bringing my Conch punch (big overhand right), which is synonymous with the Bahamas, and people everywhere love it.”
Hammer, who has defeated familiar names such as Kevin Johnson and Danny Williams, is coming off a loss this past February to unbeaten Tyson Fury, in which Hammer retired after the eighth round in their WBO International title fight.
“Hammer is tough,” Williams said. “I have an advantage in my experience, who I’ve fought over the years. I’m going to be more explosive than in the past. I’m going inside, keep fighting him there, and then take him out. Guys like me and Fres Oquendo, who I train with in Florida, are the last of the Mohicans from our generation of fighters. I’m strong and healthy for this fight. I’m going to take this guy into deep waters and then drown him.”
Upshaw’s most recent fight resulted in a disappointing loss, by way of a controversial eight-round decision, last June to hometown favorite Lanell Bellows (12-1-1) in Las Vegas. “I dominated that fight and still lost,” Upshaw commented. “I’m looking at boxing differently since my fight in Las Vegas. I was robbed but learned that I can’t let up until my opponent is knocked out. I can’t afford to go the distance in this fight (vs. Oener).”
Upshaw’s signature win came in 2010 when he traveled to Quebec City and upset 21-1-1 local hero Renan St. Juste by way of a 10-round decision, elevating Marcus in world middleweight rankings to IBF #6, WBO #9 and WBC #11. Upshaw has gone the distance, albeit in losses, with the likes of Mario Antonio Rubio, David Lemieux, Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez, Edwin Rodriguez, Patrick Majewski and Tarvis Simms.
Against Oener, Upshaw is on a seek-and-destroy mission, aiming to take the final outcome out of the judges’ hands, despite him fighting at home. “Oener is pretty fast but he has no power on his punches,” Upshaw noted. “He has a lot of speed, so I’ll go to his body early to take his legs away, and then stop him. He’s not lasting 10 rounds with me. I’m getting that belt and it’ll put me on the map.”
Upshaw is the nephew of the late, great Gene Upshaw, who was an NFL Hall of Fame offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders.