During the week prior to his unanimous decision over Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida in February of 2012, former titleholder Paul Williams said he was content with his boxing resume, secure financially, and could go hunting and fishing with “no regrets” if the time came for him to retire.
The victory over Ishida wound up being the last fight for Williams following a career-ending motorcycle accident at the age of 30 in May of 2012 that rendered the boxer paralyzed from the waist down.
But according to Williams' former manager and trainer, George Peterson, Williams has kept his word.
"Paul's doing well. He got an eight-point buck about three weeks ago. He's been hunting. The season ended earlier this month, but he had been hunting just about every day in Augusta, Ga," said Peterson of Williams, who is part of a program of organized hunting expeditions.
"They have designated areas for these guys and they'll drive to their assigned areas, and once they arrive to their assigned areas, that's their post. They're out there for three or four hours until it's time to go, so Paul has been extremely active."
Peterson also works with light heavyweight prospect Thomas Williams (16-0, 11 KOs), who rose from a the canvas to stop Cornelius White in the first round at The Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Wash., on Saturday.
"Paul said that he thought Thomas fought a tremendous fight," said Peterson. "He was proud of the young man and said that he hoped that the young man keeps it up and that he would be all right."
Thomas Williams' knockdown of White sandwiched his own trip to the canvas, all of which took place with his mother, Carla Peterson [no relation to George Peterson], in the arena.
"I had to be able to finish it so fast and it was so devastating with my mom there. That was the first time she had seen me get put down, I was like, 'I gotta get this guy up outta here.' I had never been down as a pro. That was my first time. She was happy that I was able to overcome him," said Williams.
"She loves the sport, and she said, 'you know, you've just got to get better.' That's all she said. I don't want to keep fighting like that. I don't want to get put down again. That's the first time ever. It was exciting to anyone who watched the fight, but I was so jacked and so pumped. To be able to come back and to finish a fight like that, so fast, that's what was so big for me."
A 26-year-old from Fort Washington, Md., Williams was coming off of a unanimous decision over two-time title challenger Yusaf Mack of Philadelphia in November. Mack had challenged and lost to IBF super middleweight beltholder Carl Froch by third-round knockout in November of 2012 and then- IBF 175-pound titleholder Tavoris Cloud by eighth-round stoppage in June of 2011.
Defeating White, said Williams, makes noise in a division that includes RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson as well as his IBF, WBA and WBO counterparts Bernard Hopkins , Beibut Shumenov and Sergey Kovalev.
"I believe that this win, honestly, catapults me up in the rankings. It definitely puts me in the talk among the light heavyweights, because I'm taking the necessary steps to put myself in discussions for the major fights," said Williams, whose advisor is Al Haymon. "It really doesn't matter where we fight next. It could be in Maryland, D.C., North Carolina, Madison Square Garden. As long as it's a televised fight, then it doesn't matter. That's 100 percent okay with me."
KENNETH SIMS JR. AND EDUARDO MARTINEZ SIGN WITH GARY SHAW, ANTONIO LEONARD
Chicago-based amateur boxers Kenneth Sims Jr. and Eduardo Martinez have signed with Gary Shaw Productions and Antonio Leonard Promotions, the promoters have announced. Both fighters are managed by James Prince and trained by Kenneth Sims Sr.
A 20-year-old who stands 5-foot-10, Kenneth Sims Jr. was 198-21 as an amateur in the lightweight division. Martinez, 21, stands 5-6 and went 85-10 as a bantamweight.