2009-08-28 / Sports

Williams Stays True To Winning Path

By Elio Velez

Joseph Williams trains at the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Club. Photo by Elio Velez. Joseph Williams trains at the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Club. Photo by Elio Velez. The memories of winning the Daily News Golden Gloves heavyweight novice championship for 21-year old Joseph "Mack" Williams is just as fresh today as it was when he lifted the title belt last April.

It was a prestigious honor to win the Golden Gloves at Madison Square Garden, but Williams believes it is one of the first steppingstones to a brighter career.

Williams accomplished another winning feat by soundly defeating David Williams to capture the open class heavyweight title at the Long Island Amateur Boxing Championships on August 15.

Williams, who represents the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Club, decisively won a three round decision at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence. It was the first time Williams has stepped into a ring for an organized bout since winning the Golden Gloves.

By heavyweight standards, Williams might be undersized at 5-9, but his strong jab and stamina were too much for Thompson to handle.

Williams believes he is evolving as a boxer and noted that at times he was frustrated by Thompson's unorthodox style of boxing.

Thompson slowed down the fight and made it hard at times for Williams to land his strong jab. Williams admitted it was tough, but it gave the young boxer an opportunity to polish up his boxing skills and not just be known as a brawler.

"It was frustrating because I knew I had to chase him down. I made the fight a little harder than it was because I knew before it was going to be an ugly fight," Williams said.

But Williams effectively chased down Thompson and closed the ring off. Landing effective jabs netted him crucial points with the judges.

"I'm more tricky. They don't know what I might do. They may expect because I'm a short guy to come inside and start punching," Williams said.

"At the Garden, I showed boxing skills. I moved around and showed my jab more and I switch it up. If they expect me to come out boxing, I'll come out brawling and when they think I'll' brawl, I'll come out boxing."

Kenyatta Harris, Williams' trainer and who runs the Rockaway Ropes Gym in Ocean Bay along with Anthony Santiago, says his fighter made a good adjustment.

"Mack knew that with Dave Thompson's style, it wasn't going to be a crowd pleasing fight, he wasn't going to display all of his skills," Harris said.

When he [Thompson] gets into fights he holds you in the ring. It's never a boxing match. It's like a tussle. He had a pesky jab but Mack scored with a good right jab and he outpointed him."

Williams once again won at the Lon g Island boxing championships, winning last year as a novice in the heavyweight division. But he feels he needs to lose weight, which should not only improve his stamina in the ring but retain his strength.

Williams weighed 200 pounds when he won in the Golden Gloves. He wants to get to an ideal weight at 185 pounds, which he was at 16 years old before concentrating on the responsibilities of getting a job to support his two children.

"At the Golden Gloves toward the end, I was getting a little tired," Williams says.

"At the end of this last fight, I felt I could go five more rounds. I felt by getting in more shape, burning weight off and getting more muscle. And I know I can hit harder."

Harris says Williams is not rushing to turn professional anytime soon. Pleased with his fighter's progress throughout sparring sessions, Harris think Williams is hungry and talented enough to be a force.

And Williams agrees with his trainer. The path for Williams is to remain an amateur and take part in the Golden Gloves competition starting in January. He will compete as open class boxer in the upcoming New York City Metro Boxing Championships in November. He won the superheavyweight title last November.

Williams is handling all the growing press. He is part of a boxing family which has a long tradition of winning the Golden Gloves, most notably his cousin Brian, who was a three time former champion back in the mid- 1990's. Williams is patient and confident to know there is enough time to make an impact in the professional ranks. He won't let outside pressure or the buzz within the local boxing scene to dictate his career path.

"I let it get to my head but in a good way. I ain't letting it blow me up thinking I'm going to be on top of the world and training when I want to," said Williams.

"I'm not going to turn pro until I'm dominating the amateurs and then I feel it will be time to turn pro. I won t do it because of age; it will be because of skill and performance."

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