2011-07-01 / Sports

Rockaway Ropes Boxer Prepares For Olympic Trials

By Elio Velez

Joseph “Mack” Williams Joseph “Mack” Williams Joseph “Mack” Williams has begun four weeks of training at the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Gym full of confidence and belief in his abilities.

The 23-year old amateur heavyweight fighter and two-time Daily News Golden Gloves champion is preparing for one of the biggest challenges of his career. Williams is working out to compete for the chance to be an Olympian at the U.S. trials in Mobile, Alabama.

Williams is convinced that he can earn a spot with the U.S. Olympic team. He won a bronze medal in the 201-pound heavyweight class at the recently completed U.S. Boxing Championships in Colorado Springs. It’s given him the impetus to take his shot at getting to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Despite only two weeks of preparation and battling fatigue due to the high Colorado altitude, Williams was proud of his display.

“I knew how to pace myself. I added power shots and precise shots. Counter shots. I became a counter puncher,” Williams said. “I’m usually going forward. I relaxed and let them come to me. I’m not going to waste my energy.”

Williams won his first round match on a tiebreaker as he defeated David Imoesiri of Long Beach, California on June 21. The judges ruled in Williams’ favor after the three-round bout ended in a 14-14 tie. Williams had his best performance in the quarterfinals the next day when he outpointed Robert Hall Jr. to win 13-5 via three-round decision.

“He dominated with the jab in the last round and had scored at least five or six points in the last round,” said Rockaway Ropes boxing trainer Anthony Santiago. “I felt Mack’s fundamentals carried him through.”

Williams has been trying to better his skills in the ring ever since he started fighting. Standing at 5-10 and at his usual 195-pound weight, he can outpace his opponent with quickness and a wellplaced jab.

And he felt good before the semifinals against Andrew Tabiti on June 23. While the bout was even through two rounds, Williams felt his best came in the third round.

“Mack wasn’t even tired this time. I felt he had his most energy out of the whole tournament. He popped up out of the stool. He sat down for only ten seconds,” Santiago said.

Tabiti was put on the ropes by a flurry of punches from Williams as the bell sounded to end the bout. While the Rockaway Ropes contingent felt Williams was the victor, but the judges gave Tabiti the win via a tiebeaker decision. Williams isn’t about to blame the referees or the system for the loss. He felt good about his performance, and had fun traveling with local fighters representing the eastern regions such as Kathleen Walsh and Christina Cruz. There was also a pleasurable meeting with 70-year old former Rockaway native Richard Traynor. While living in Colorado, Traynor has become a fan while reading the exploits of Williams through The Wave.

“I felt like I won the round. He looked dead tired and I still had my wind. I wasn’t down, even though I felt I won. I wasn’t ashamed. I did my best,” Williams said. ”I performed the way I usually do. I’m not worried about the limelight, the names, the crowd, I just went out there and fought like I was back home.”

The 23-year old boxer, and father of two daughters, is gearing for his next trip to Mobile, Alabama for the U.S. Olympic Trials. He will compete against seven other boxers in a double elimination tournament starting on July 31 and ending on August 6. The goal is to get down to a comfortable fight weight of 190-193 pounds. Santiago says he feels Williams can compete against fighters because he has witnessed either at the PAL Nationals or Golden Gloves.

With plenty of time to prepare mentally and physically, Williams knows his this is his time to shine in the spotlight.

“I’m ready, I don’t think these guys can handle me. It’s all about conditioning,” Williams said.

“When I’m in New York, I’ve lost only bout here (2010 Golden Gloves final). I’m going to treat this like a fight at Madison Square Garden.”

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