Cockeysville, MD (April 10, 2013) – When 6’4 middleweight and Penn State graduate AJ “We Are” Williams entered a ring for the first time, he had no idea where the sport of boxing would take him. As a freshman, Williams played varsity basketball at Penn State’s Schuylkill campus however, his hoop dreams were cut short due to knee injuries.
Looking for a new athletic venture, Williams transferred to the main campus, took up boxing and far exceeded his own expectations. Before graduating from Penn State in 2010, the life science major served as the team captain and won a bronze medal at the National Colligate Boxing Association (NCBA) tournament.
Upon receiving his Bachelors Degree, Williams took his talents to the Baltimore Boxing & Fitness gym and continued to box in the amateur ranks. After falling short in the Maryland Golden Gloves, Williams’ team suggested he compete at the next level.
“I really liked what I saw from AJ when he started training with me,” said Jake “The Snake” Smith, who trains Williams and is a member of the Maryland and Washington DC Boxing Hall of Fames. “He’s got a great head on his shoulders, always listens and doesn’t have an ego like a lot of young fighters do. He’s really come a long way and he’ll only continue to improve.”
“I never thought I’d go pro when I first started boxing,” said the soft-spoken 26-year-old. “I did it for fun at first then once I got pretty good at it and placed in nationals in 2010, that’s when I realized I could go pro.”
On Friday evening, Williams makes his pro debut against Issa Coulibaly in a special attraction bout as part of Jake “The Snake” Promotions’ “Salisbury Slugfest” from the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury, MD. Though he’s excited for the opportunity, Williams admits switching his style for the paid ranks has been a learning process.
“The transition has been interesting. It used to be all about throwing a lot of punches and scoring points. Now it’s focusing on sitting down on my punches. To get ready, I’ve trained harder than ever before. Friday is going to be a great show.”
Tickets starting at $20 and VIP tables of 10 are on sale now at the Wicomico Civic Center Box Office, by calling 410-548-4911 or logging onto WicomicoCivicCenter.Org. A 20% military discount is available on all tickets purchased with a valid ID at the Civic Center Box Office and specially priced hotel rooms can be purchased by going to www.mmx2reservations.com/wicomico/pc/slug. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the action kicks off at 8.
Headlining the “Salisbury Slugfest” is an eight round cruiserweight bout between local star Alexis Guerrero of Salisbury, MD and Oklahoma City, OK’s Terrence Smith. A big ticket seller in Salisbury, Guerrero is 8-0-1 with 5 wins by knockout, most recently dispatching famed tough guy Harvey Jolly inside of five rounds last September. Smith, a late replacement for Elvin Sanchez, has a deceptive record of 8-14-2 with five victories by stoppage. Smith’s faced an incredible 12 unbeaten opponents including Yunieski Gonzalez, Shaun George, Farah Ennis, Cedric Agnew, Adam Hubinger and Carlos Durate among others.
In the co-feature, popular super middleweight Frankie “Freight Train” Filippone of Norfolk, VA meets Baton Rouge, LA’s Marcus Clay. Filippone, who is also a Virginia Beach police officer, has an excellent 13-2 record with 2 wins by knockout.
In a battle of the big men, unbeaten Duane Mobley of Upper Marlboro, MD risks his 7-0 record against seasoned Baltimorean Lonnie Kornegay in a four rounder.
Also appearing on the undercard in separate bouts is Salisbury’s very own Damont Giddins and Washington DC’s Hugh Hinds.