ESB Exclusive Interview: Danny Williams predicts 'pain' for Skelton

16.01.06 - By Cris Neill: Danny Williams has promised fireworks ahead of his clash next month with Matt Skelton.

The Brixton Bomber, 32, is set to face British champion Skelton, 38, at the London Excel Arena on February 25, with the winner going on to challenge for a world title.

It could be second time lucky for Williams, after his first title fight against Vitali Klitschko last December ended in an eighth round stoppage loss.

Williams was due to meet Skelton in July last year, but withdrew at the last moment, citing a bout of flu. Skelton fought the unfancied Mark Krence and won a seventh-round stoppage. Aside from the prospect of a world title shot, there’s a sense of unfinished business between the two fighters..

Speaking exclusively to Eastside Boxing, Williams said: “My plan is to outbox him – I believe I can do that quite easily, but then, Skelton’s a really hungry fighter - he comes to fight, and you have to put some pain on him. There will be points in the fight when we’ll just be trading.

“I’ve taken Tyson’s punches, I’ve taken Klitschko’s punches. Klitschko himself called me the ‘Iron Man’, so I’m pretty confident I can take anyone’s shots, Skelton doesn’t bother me one bit.

“Technically he’s not very much to look at, but I do rate him – I rate anyone who has heart, and he fights with intensity, he throws many punches. I don’t think it will go the distance, but I think it’s going to be a really good fight for as long as it lasts.”

Williams is due to re-enter intensive training after he injured his ankle during his fight against Audley Harrison last month, but he hasn’t been idle – when Eastside Boxing caught up with him, he’d just completed a 1 hour swim.

He said: “The main thing for me will be dieting; I’ve been keeping off the chocolate and the biscuits and things like that which is very hard for me, stuff like junk food.”

Williams dispensed with the services of his trainer Jim McDonnell before the Harrison bout, claiming that Olympic champion wasn’t enough of a threat to warrant gruelling training.

The fight only came to life in the last three rounds, before which Harrison displayed all the pugnacity of a conscientious objector. It doesn’t take much imagination that the points win was deeply satisfying for Williams, not least because Harrison had previously contemptuously dismissed him as a ‘cockroach.’

There were many who felt the Harrison train was heading for the buffers, but few could have predicted how completely his credibility as a heavyweight would be derailed.

He clinched, pawed his jab, did everything in fact but fight. He eluded Williams until the tenth round, when he was caught with a big right that sent him cascading into the ropes.

Many also scoffed at Williams’s recollection that when he sparred with Harrison prior to the Sydney Olympics, the 6’5” fighter wasn’t keen to trade blows. It proved to be a telling experience when the two finally met in a professional contest.

Williams said: “I was 100 per cent confident. I knew I could beat him before the fight, and the moment I realised this was going to be an easy fight was at the head-to-head at the first press conference. He was talking for hours and hours, but when we did the head-to-head, I looked him in the eyes and he had no fight in him whatsoever. He had the eyes of a poor guy who got rich. He had no ambition anymore, and I knew that once I put it on him, he would just fold.

‘I always doubted his heart, but I thought his pride would kick in, I thought that he’d at least try to win before things started to get hard for him. I was very surprised that he was so negative. I was shocked, totally shocked.

‘Initially, when I had him down in the tenth round, I thought it was a good shot, but when I watched it back on tape it wasn’t that great - just imagine if I’d hit him on the chin! The way he crumbled to the floor, you’d think I’d hit him with a sledgehammer.”

If Williams wins next month, he’ll earn a shot at the WBA title currently held by the 7ft Beast From The East, Nikolay Valuev. The giant Russian looks an intimidating prospect, but Williams is confident that he has the beating of him: “I’ve seen Valuev fight many times and I think I could get under his shots and get my body shots in there. I think he’s the type of opponent you have to stick close to and let your shots rip. He’s not that gifted, compared to Klitschko, or as awkward, where you couldn’t get inside.”

Article posted on 16.01.2006

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