2013-09-27 / Sports

Joseph “Mack" Williams: More Than A Boxer

By Ilyassha Shivers

If you grow up in Far Rockaway there are many obstacles you have to overcome to survive. You always hear about the violence and crime that are rampant in this impoverished community. In the midst of this darkness there is a light. Rockaway Ropes has been one of those lights.

And from that light comes Joseph Mack Williams. He began his journey as a boxer and continues to work to prove to himself and his community that you can be successful if you stay on course.

I first met him a few years back. Mack and his coach, Kenyatta Harris, came to our church. He had already won his first or second Golden Gloves championship and we invited them to meet my father Bishop Shivers and let him pray for them. Mack spoke for a few minutes. He was humble and respectful and that’s what I remembered.

And that same man greeted me as he came in to the gym Friday night after saying what’s up to one another he got right to work on the speed bag.

After that, I got a chance to sit down and interview Joseph Mack Williams. I wanted to try to get a little insight into whom and what he was and could be. A product of Far Rockaway, the prayers hard work and dedication were all on display Monday night as Mack dismantled his opponent in seconds. Since 2008 Mack has worked at Rockaway Ropes giving back to the community that helped make him the man he is today.

“I run the boxing program. We help the kids with their homework, we feed them, too. In the evening we have the teenagers,” Mack told me. Mack is sort of a role model proving that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. I asked what boxing meant to him and he said, “Well it’s everything. I mean not really everything but it helps give me discipline, keeps me healthy and helps keep a few dollars in my pocket to help take care of the family.

Mack is a father of two who comes from a large family he has 10 brothers and sisters. He is the first boy and third oldest. One thing that was clear in our conversation was that Mack started boxing a long time ago. Having to defend his brothers and sister he found himself constantly having to use his hands. I asked if you were not boxing right now what would you be doing. “I wanted to be a boxer or a rapper, I guess my hooks, was harder than my punch lines.” he said, with a laugh. He told me how he remembers living in all the five boroughs. “We moved around a lot said Williams you know moms and pops had issues. Going to different neighborhoods I always had to fight. You know how it is, new kid comes to class. And I was always the darkest in my class. You know how dudes always be trying to clown you cracking jokes and stuff. I wasn’t having that.”

Mack has come a long way since taking the amateur ranks by storm He was the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Golden Glove Champion and 2012 National Golden Glove Champion. He was also an alternate for the 2012 Olympics.

Since entering the Golden Gloves as a Super Heavyweight, Mack has come down three weight classes making his pro debut as a light heavyweight.

The future is bright for Mr. Williams if his first professional fight is any indication. All I can say is light heavyweights beware.

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