Boxing: Williams facing stern Sprott test

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The Independent Online

Most boxers struggle to overcome painful defeats, but in the heavyweight division the list of rejuvenated fighters is particularly slim.

In February 2002, Michael Sprott was dropped and eventually stopped in round seven by Danny Williams. A year later, it was Williams on the receiving end of a beating, from Sinan Samil Sam, going down three times and mercifully rescued in round six.

Tonight in Reading, the two blighted fighters meet once again for the British and Commonwealth titles that Williams holds, but at stake is far more than the belts. Heavyweights are noted for being basket cases, and Williams has reinforced the stereotype in the past by admitting that he has no idea what has happened in the ring.

Williams, 30, will have a new trainer, Adam Booth, in his corner to guide him and, it is hoped, correct his wayward mental approach. It will not be an easy task, though Booth has a small but loyal group of fighters who all praise his abilities.

Sprott, 27, before his home-town crowd, has far more to prove and is noted as a remarkably calm heavyweight with few problems. Since losing to Williams last year in a fight he foolishly accepted at five days' notice, he is unbeaten eight times and does appear to have overcome that defeat.

However, one of the two may find himself going over the same savage ground. Williams starts as a slight favourite, but Sprott's cooler head could be a factor in one of the year's most eagerly awaited domestic bouts.

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