Boxing: Williams determined to reclaim lost honours

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The Independent Online

Last year Richard Williams looked set for a long reign as the International Boxing Organisation light middleweight champion, but he lost his way, lost his title and has not boxed since the summer.

Williams, 32, returns to the ring at York Hall tonight and will have to go over old ground when he tries to regain the vacant Commonwealth light middleweight title in a potentially difficult fight against the Ghanaian Ayittey Powers.

Williams won the Commonwealth title in January 2001 and after a few defences he moved on to the slightly more prestigious IBO belt and it finally looked like the gently spoken boxer from Stockwell in south London was going to get the recognition and the money that comes with it.

However, last summer in Manchester it all went wrong when he underestimated the Spaniard Sergio Martinez and lost his title on points and was lucky to survive the last round when he suffered a knockdown more from exhaustion than the power of Martinez's punches.

"That was a night in hell for me and all that I have wanted to do since is get back in the ring and win another title,'' said Williams, who, two or three years ago, looked like the best of a particularly impressive group of British light middleweights.

Not much is known about Powers, but he is from Bukom, a small town just outside Accra, with an unbelievable history in boxing. He has lost twice, but in both fights he was overmatched.

Ghana has a rich history of sending winners to Britain for good pay-days and the chance to win the belt and Williams is well aware of the dangers inherent whenever an opponent enters the ring without a reputation and with fewer than 15 verifiable bouts to his name. Another problem with relatively unknown boxers is that it is often impossible to acquire videotapes of their fights.

"As a fighter I like to take one fight at a time but I can't help looking past Powers,'' admitted Williams. "I know that is wrong but I believe that I should be fighting better men than him at this stage in my career.''

Providing Williams can regain his composure and confidence, which deserted him against Martinez, he should be able to overcome Powers and pick up his old title. A win would move him back into contention for a selection of the less meaningful world title belts, but perhaps a better fight would be a long overdue challenge for the British title and an appealing showdown against Manchester's Jamie Moore.