Williams rides out ultimate endurance test

Danny Williams left hospital at 3am yesterday with his right shoulder strapped across his chest, a Lonsdale belt in his bag and his dignity intact. Williams won the British heavyweight title and defended the Commonwealth version, earning less than £25,000 just 24 hours after Andrew Golota made over a million dollars in the Detroit farce, proving that boxing really is a cruel and unfair sport.

Danny Williams left hospital at 3am yesterday with his right shoulder strapped across his chest, a Lonsdale belt in his bag and his dignity intact. Williams won the British heavyweight title and defended the Commonwealth version, earning less than £25,000 just 24 hours after Andrew Golota made over a million dollars in the Detroit farce, proving that boxing really is a cruel and unfair sport.

The fight between Brixton's Williams and Mark Potter at the Wembley Conference Centre finished after 2min 41sec of the sixth round with both boxers on the canvas receiving medical treatment after Williams connected with a left hook to drop Potter and then collapsed next to him.

It was the final dramatic act of a contest where the frontiers of excess were repeatedly pushed back by Williams, who created a new measure for pain and endurance.

In round one Williams was caught and dropped and in round two Potter was over. At the start of the third Williams pulled back from a clinch after 10 seconds and it was clear his right shoulder was dislocated. He tried to bend his elbow and pull it up to protect his body but the lame arm would not move.

At the end of the round Danny Tovey, one of his cornermen, pushed the shoulder back in. Frank Warren, the fighter's promoter, pleaded with Williams to stop the fight, but he refused.

In the fourth and fifth Williams retreated behind his left jab as Potter's punches settled on the lame arm and the exposed right side of his face. The referee, John Coyle, could and should have intervened. But by the start of the sixth Williams was able to bend the arm to protect his chin. However, 15 seconds into the round his shoulder popped out again.

Williams kept fighting with one arm while his right arm was dangling so far down that on one occasion it actually touched the canvas.

"I had the towel in my hand ready to throw it in when I saw the shoulder pop in the sixth," said Jimmy McDonnell, Williams's trainer. "But I kept hearing Danny telling me 'Jim, I need just one punch, just one punch and I can knock him out'." Williams connected with a perfect left uppercut and Potter collapsed.

Williams was bent over in pain, the tears falling from his eyes and his useless arm sticking out like a twisted twig. Potter hauled his dazed body up at nine but the next shot, a left hook, dropped him for good.

"I would never quit," said Williams. "I heard what Frank and Jimmy said but there was just no way that I was going to let anybody pull me out." Williams's shoulder was re-set in hospital but he will be out of the ring for 10 months.

The other championship fights were bloodbaths. Ricky Hatton won the vacant British light-welterweight title when he outpointed Jon Thaxton after 12 rounds and Jason Rowland won the vacant World Boxing Union light-welterweight title with a wide but never easy decision over Moscow's Victor Baranov. Both winners will require plastic surgery, Rowland to repair a split lip and Hatton to fix a cut on his left eyebrow.

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