Classy Williams Batters Brave McKeever

01.03.04 – By Ben Carey: Dazzo Williams successfully negotiated the first defence of his British featherweight crown with an emphatic 12-round drubbing over a courageous former title-holder Jamie McKeever at a noisy Bridgend Sports Centre, Wales tonight.

Referee Ian John-Lewis’s scorecard of 116-113 failed to reflect the champion’s supremacy throughout the contest as he remained in total control from start to finish. From the off, McKeever attempted to press forward but was met with stinging counters from the classy Williams who mercilessly pounded the Scouser to head and body. Towards the end of the first both men exchanged left hooks but it was Williams who came straight back with a crunching straight right as a static McKeever remained invitingly in range.

Williams’ sharpness and accuracy was too much for McKeever who had not fought since surrendering the British title to Roy Rutherford 9 months ago. Such was Williams’ dominance, McKeever’s right eye was rapidly swelling up as early as the third round. Roared on by some vociferous support, Williams continued to comprehensively outbox his man as he rained home stinging rights and slashing left hooks that bounced off McKeever’s jaw with alarming regularity.

McKeever couldn’t get going and was in danger of being overwhelmed as he endured a terrible beating in the first half of the contest. To his credit though the Birkenhead warrior gamely stuck to his task and did enough on this reporter’s card to take the sixth. McKeever was just starting to show signs of being able to mount a sensational fightback as he banged away at Williams’ body as he elected to momentarily lay on the ropes.

Williams switched southpaw in the seventh, finally a suggestion that McKeever had given him something to think about. After spending much of round 7 on his bike, Williams re-asserted his stranglehold on the fight in the eighth, spearing McKeever with southpaw jabs and peppering him with straight lefts. Fortunately for the challenger just three knockouts on Williams’ ledger highlights that he is not a powerful puncher. But neither is McKeever, who despite diligently pursuing his man, lacked the speed and the knockout equalizer to turn this fight on its head.

McKeever was handicapped by a fractured left hand against Roy Rutherford and was similarly hampered with an almost shut right eye against Williams tonight. By the tenth he was becoming desperate but his work to the body was enough to see him edge the round although he was shook by a beautifully timed uppercut from Williams.

The champion had built up an almost unassailable lead but was in no mood to coast to the finishing line as the action continued to be fought at a frenetic pace. A right hand knocked McKeever sideways in the eleventh and a barrage of hooks and uppercuts had him disorganised as Williams continued to pour it on. McKeever resolutely refused to crumble despite the hopelessness of his situation as we entered the final round. To his great credit Jamie continued to come forward but was predictably nailed by some crisp left hooks and follow up rights from the scintillating Williams.

Referee Ian John-Lewis insisted that the appreciative Bridgend crowd gave a round of applause in acknowledgment of both boxers efforts afterwards. Due to Williams’ skills this fight never degenerated into the thriller some thought it would be. For that Williams warrants praise who looks to be reveling in his role as British champion under the tutelage of former world champion Steve Robinson.

Having changed owners as frequently as Jordan appears in the tabloids within the past 12 months, on tonight’s evidence the British featherweight title could be remaining around Dazzo Williams’ waist for quite some time. Though punch stats revealed that McKeever had thrown more leather, it was Williams who was outlanding him with some exemplary combinations.

Its back to the drawing board for McKeever who may now contemplate corrective surgery to cure chronic joint damage in his left hand. Having needed two attempts to make the championship nine stone limit as well, a move up to super-featherweight may be a sensible option. For Williams however, the future looks bright. A rematch with Roy Rutherford, the man he controversially outpointed to claim the British title in November looks likely to be his next appointment. If Williams can emerge unscathed, a challenge for the European title is not beyond him.

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