2010-06-11 / Sports

Williams Gets One Step Closer To Reaching Olympic Dream

By Elio Velez

Joseph Williams (left) won the 2009 Golden Gloves 201-pound super heavyweight novice title. Joseph Williams (left) won the 2009 Golden Gloves 201-pound super heavyweight novice title. The last few months for Joseph “Mack” Williams have been a whirlwind ride. Especially when the 22- year old amateur fighter stepped into the ring at the U.S. Senior Olympic Northeast Regional Cham-pionships

Williams had come off his first two defeats in amateur boxing, losing at the Daily News Golden Gloves in March, and then falling at the Golden Gloves Nationals in Little Rock, Arkansas, a month later.

But with the opportunity to fight his way towards earning a berth to the 2012 Olympics, Williams got one step closer by defeating Bryan Daniels via decision to the 201-pound final at Lake Placid on May 30.

Williams (14-3) will now train at the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Club in Arverne for a month prior to traveling to Colorado Springs for the United States Nationals on July 12. He will need to win five fights in six days to qualify for the U.S. boxing trials in July of 2011 again in Colorado Springs.

Joining him in on the trip will be fellow Rockaway Ropes boxing member De’Vaughn Lee, who defeated Mike Seitz by decision to win the 178 pound final.

Williams describes his increased stamina and movements as a few of the reasons why he won the fight.

“I knew I was in shape, and I had my punches, so I just let him keep running to me and I just hit him with shots,” Williams said in describing his victory over Daniels.

He admitted it was an issue when stepping in late to replace an inured Stivens Bujaj at the Golden Gloves Nationals in Arkansas. Even though he wasn’t in optimal shape, Williams still lost a narrow decision to Andrew Tabiti.

He whittled down to a robust fighting weight at 199 pounds, but it wasn’t the issue when Williams won his semifinal match against Roger Zapata on May 29. He felt discouraged by the electronic scoring system used by USA boxing to judge the match.

Unlike professional boxing where three judges decide who wins or loses, electronic scoring uses five judges which press a keypad to record a clean blow on any person. For the point to be recorded for the fighter, three out of the five judges must click the keypad at the same time.

In the first round, Williams had landed enough clean jabs to believe he was already in the lead. Cotrainer Anthony Santiago had to inform Williams between rounds that he had not in fact scored a point. His opponent was also scoreless.

“He told me they had him with zero points. I said that’s a good thing because he didn’t land any punches,” Williams said.

“The bad thing is you didn’t hit him either. I know I just hit him 10 or 15 times with the jab. He just told me to not get discouraged and work harder.”

In fact, Williams was one tenth of a second away from losing in the third round. Down 3-2, Williams threw one last punch that tied the match, and the decision would go to the Rockaway Ropes boxer because he threw more punches in the fight.

The experience helped him prepare for his victory over Daniels. Instead of throwing two to three point combinations, which won’t be recorded as points in the electronic system, Williams landed straight clean jabs to outpunch his opponent. He had a huge lead when the final bell rang to win the fight.

The stakes will be raised when he goes to Colorado Springs next month, but Williams is not about to let the pressure weigh down his dreams of making the 2012 London Olympics.

“I just think about I get through this, I get out on top. I just know I was born to do this so I don’t fall under pressure,” Williams said.

“The pressure don’t mean nothing. I perform better under pressure.”

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