Doug Fischer

Williams gets off canvas to stop White in wild first round

Unbeaten light heavyweight prospect Thomas Williams Jr. scored two knockdowns and had to get up from a knockdown to score a thrilling first-round stoppage in a Friday Night Fights main event in Shelton, Wash.

Williams (16-0, 11 knockouts) started the bout fast, perhaps to take advantage of White's questionable chin. The more experienced boxer from Houston was coming off a third-round stoppage to current WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev last June. In February of 2011, fighting as an undefeated super middleweight, White (21-3, 16 KOs) was stopped in the first round by Don George.

So Williams, a Maryland-based southpaw, checked White's chin early and scored a flash knockdown with an accurate lead left just 30 second into the bout. However, White got up on steady legs and began to advance forward behind a stiff jab. The 32-year-old Texan is a solid pro, as evidenced by the five straight wins he scored between his KO losses, which included a decision over Cuban amateur standout Yordanis Despaigne, and he can punch, too.

Williams found that out when he abandoned his stick and move tactics and tried to rush White after stunning "Da Beast" with a combination. Williams walked directly into a flush left from White and hit the canvas hard. Unlike White, Williams got up on unsteady legs but he had the clarity of mind to counterpunch White, who wildly rushed in to finish him off. Even on wobbly legs, Williams dropped the charging White with a right hook that landed high on his head.

The second knockdown took White's legs and allowed Williams to finally jump on him. Referee Bobby Howard stopped the fight at the 2:49 mark as Williams overwhelmed White in a corner.

"He tried to load up on his punches after I knocked him down," said Williams. "So I backed off and moved side to so I could catch him. I wasn't hurt at all (from the knockdown). I was more stunned and embarrassed. It was my first time being knocked down."

The 26-year-old up-and-comer called the victory a statement and a step toward fighting for a major world title, something he would like to do by the end of 2014.

In the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, former WBA 122-pound beltholder Rico Ramos outpointed Jonathan Arrellano over 10 rounds, dropping the tough Southern California prospect three times — twice in the fourth round and once in the fifth — in the process.

Arrellano (14-3-2, 3 KOs), who was coming off a majority decision victory over Charles Huerta last November, gave it his best in the late rounds, sometimes pressing the reluctant Ramos to the ropes, but it was too little, too late.

Ramos (23-3, 12 KOs), who won his second consecutive bout after suffering back-to-back losses in early 2013, won by lopsided scores of 98-89 (twice) and 98-88. The 26-year-old Los Angeles native scored a 10th-round KO over then-unbeaten Carlos Velasquez last September and finally seems to have his career momentum back.

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