Boxing: Williams' tilt at Klitschko set for December
Friday 15 October 2004
Danny Williams finally got a good view of Vitali Klitschko when they came eye to neck at the first official press conference to announce their World Boxing Council heavyweight title fight on 11 December.
The fight has been one of boxing's worst-kept secrets since the Olympic Games when Klitschko revealed that he would fight Williams on 11 December at Madison Square Garden in New York. There were, as expected, several weeks of denials after the rare moment of honesty, but yesterday at a hotel in central London the boxers shook hands and the fight was made a reality.
Williams was, just a few months ago, very much the forgotten man of British boxing, having promised so much but delivered so little during a frustrating career. However, in July he ruthlessly knocked out Mike Tyson and suddenly he was transformed from heavyweight underachiever to the best thing since sliced bread.
Klitschko has had a nicely organised career and only really came to prominence in the summer of 2003 when he was leading Lennox Lewis before a series of savage cuts forced the referee to intervene. Since that bloody night in Los Angeles Lewis has retired and Klitschko has won the vacant WBC title, and that leads quite neatly to the December fight.
"When Danny beat Tyson he ruined my lifelong dream and that is why he has the chance against me," Klitschko said.
Williams has been given a series of guidelines by Lewis that will, in theory, help to him defeat the towering Ukrainian boxer. Sadly, the main thrust of the advice is that Williams should cut Klitschko and therefore win on what would be really just a technicality.
"I'm not getting in the ring to win on a cut eye or a cut cheek. That is not the way that I do business and when I step in the ring with Vitali I will be looking for a war and I will be looking for the right type of victory," Williams said.
It is not the first time that Lewis, who officially retired in January of this year, has given advice to a Klitschko opponent. In April, Lewis advised the South African Corrie Sanders before he met Klitschko for the vacant WBC title. His words were wasted on the ageing South African and Klitschko was an easy winner in eight rounds.
"Lewis had the chance to get back in the ring with me and try and beat me properly but instead he has taken to advising people to do what he failed to do. It never worked for Sanders and it will not work for Danny," Klitschko insisted.
According to Klitschko, who is also the sole promoter of the fight, the old ring at Madison Square Garden is 99 per cent likely to stage the contest on 11 December, but there are still one or two factors to be considered before the venue is announced.
Even without a definite venue there is at least a definite date and thankfully a proper and genuine world heavyweight title fight to end what has been one of the sport's most dismal years.
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