2009-04-24 / Sports

Williams Floors Neumann To Win Golden Gloves

By Elio Velez

Golden Gloves super heavyweight champion Joseph Williams (left) lands a punch on Patrick Neumann. Photo by Ken Goldfield. Golden Gloves super heavyweight champion Joseph Williams (left) lands a punch on Patrick Neumann. Photo by Ken Goldfield. Prior to the start of the Daily News Golden Gloves in January, Joseph Williams had no doubt that he could stand toe-to-toe with any opponent.

The 20-year old boxer stands 5-9, and weighs 212 pounds. Most of the opponents he faced in this year's Daily News Golden Gloves in the superheavyweight novice class either weighed more or was taller than he is.

But Williams, who's also called by his nickname "Mack", never had any fear or doubts about his ability to box in the ring. And in the spotlight of fighting in the championship last Friday night at the WAMU Theater at Madison Square Garden, Williams did not disappoint.

Williams dispatched the 6-3 Patrick Neumann and won a 4-1 decision to capture the 201+ pound super heavyweight novice title.

Working as a clerk and a father of two children, the amateur boxer, who is representing the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Club, used his speed and jab to outpace the taller and lumbering Neumann.

"I stayed calm and worked behind my jab. I thought he was too tall to jab. I saw how low he was getting down so I knew I could reach his face," Williams said.

Williams is trying to shed any reputation of being known as just a brawler.

Instead of allowing Neumann to get close and use his punching power, Williams moved around the ring, and landed effective combination of jabs and hooks to frustrate his opponent.

"I saw it when I was warming up. He was expecting me to come in so I said alright I'm going to switch it up," Williams said.

"I stayed on the outside and just kept using my feet. I was working on boxing for the last two weeks. So instead of banging, I worked on boxing."

The constant movement from Williams especially frustrated his opponent in the second round. Neumann, who had trouble landing punches, wrestled with Williams for a brief second and threw him down to the mat.

Though no points were deducted, Williams had already gained the psychological advantage.

"That just helped me out," Willaims said. They (Neumann's supporters) thought he was going to win because he's taller. And I always use that as an advantage."

In his first appearance in the Golden Gloves, Williams has created a big interest in his boxing future from many people within the industry.

"He was the man," said head trainer Kenyatta Harris. He didn't feel any pressure stepping into that ring. I thanked him for letting me train him."

And he is following in the footsteps of a family tradition of boxers winning this annual tournament.

Brian Adams, currently the director of the Gloves and a three-time former champion in 1993, 95 and 96, helped placed the Golden Gloves pendant around his cousin after the triumph.

Adams was reluctant to tell anyone that Williams was his cousin. He didn't want to place any pressure on the officials who was judging the Williams' championship fight.

The family of Golden Gloves champions includes Brian's brother Matt, Joe and Steve Deekens and former WBO heavyweight champion.

"He's getting more experience. He's short but he's fighting smart," Brian Adams said. "The more he fights, the more experience he gets. I'm proud of him."

Williams is also the first championship fighter to represent the bourgeoning gym, which is located at the Ocean Bay Community Center at 57- 10 Beach Channel Drive.

Williams' victory has increased interest from those wanting to know about the gym according to Rockaway Ropes assistant trainer Anthony Santiago.

"My phone won't stop ringing. My emails are piling up. It's been crazy. Last Tuesday was the first night of good sleep I had," Santiago sai.d

"There has been an increase of young kids, teenagers and adults wanting to join the program But for now the program can only admit teenagers from all throughout Rockaway.

The Rockaway Ropes Boxing Committee is looking for ways to secure a permanent building. On that front Williams' victory might be the foot in the door they need to possibly make it happen.

On Williams' end, he is proud of how his career is going. Though he has won the first 8 fights of his career, the 20- year old won't get cocky or too confident just yet.

Williams says there is a bright future ahead but it'll take time and a lot of hard work to make a professional career come true.

"I want to feed my children. I want to turn pro with a good amateur career. I'm 8-0 right now and I'm feeling good."

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