By Clive Bernath: British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Danny Williams (left) confirmed to SecondsOut.com today that he has signed a three year deal with the world’s finest ever promoter, Don King. Hooking up with the one-time Cleveland numbers racketeer is a major boost for the Brixton puncher, who must surely now become a million dollar fighter.
Under the agreement with King, Williams can still keep his prized British crown and make two defences to ensure he can fulfil his dream of winning a Lonsdale belt outright. “I stressed to Don that any deal I did with him must include me being able to defend my British title,” said Williams.
“That title means the world to me and it was very important to me that I had that clause in my contract. Signing with Don means that I can have the best of both worlds. I get to sign with the biggest and best ever promoter the world has ever seen and I also get to fight on the BBC, which has always been a dream of mine. Don has all the champions. He has Holyfield, Ruiz (WBA) and also undisputed champion Hasim Rahman and Lennox Lewis, so I know he can get me the really big fights.”
Williams parted company with long time prompter Frank Warren last week to sign a deal with the BBC. But Warren immediately threatened legal action against the Beeb, accusing them of ‘tapping up’ the fighter, causing them to abort the signing at the 11th hour. “I was already to sign with the BBC,” added Williams. “I was there in their office with a pen in my hand ready to sign on the doted line, but when Warren threatened legal action, the BBC stalled.”
Under the deal with King, though, Williams may still be able to fight on the terrestrial channel that regularly commands six million viewers, as they are reportedly in negotiations King at the moment, but it has to be stressed that no deal has yet been done. Negotiations are still ongoing and a deal is far from finalised.
So what made the hottest heavyweight prospect in British boxing decide to sign with King, following just four days of negotiations, considering it took three months to make up his mind between Warren and the BBC. “It all started last week. I got a call from Lloyd Honeyghan saying Don King wanted to see me and we thrashed out a very good deal within five days. As I said, Don is the best and I know he can get me fights with the very top men. He has them all. Once I knew he was interested it took very little time for me to make up my mind.”
Williams is also keen to point out that there has been a lot of things said in the press over the last few months, and he is keen to put the record straight. “There has been a lot of talk about me saying this and that in the press lately, and I have been misquoted a lot, “ said Williams. “I would just like to put the record straight. I certainly do not bear any ill feeling against anyone at all, Frank Warren or anyone else. I certainly have not meant to offend anyone and, if I have done over the last few weeks, then I apologise.”
As to who would promote the 28-year-old in this country is also a mystery as, aside from Audley Harrison’s A Force Promotions, no other British promoter has a long term deal with the BBC. There is also the feeling that King may demand too much from the British broadcasters to screen any Williams fight.
Williams is due to make his debut for King on the undercard of the rescheduled WBA heavyweight title clash between American’s John Ruiz and former champion Evander Holyfield in China on November 24.