By Derek Bonnett: It was June 13, 2008. I was in press row at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT covering my first boxing card for SecondsOut. I was there following, then promising featherweight prospect, Matt Remillard. Remillard, unbeaten 13-0-0 (7), was matched tough. Although in control, the Manchester boxer was under pressure, but he held up and came through by unanimous decision. In his corner, Remillard’s trainer, Paul Cichon, delivered instruction, modeled what he wanted to see his fighter do in the ring; he never seemed to yell. On the undercard, the popular local fighter, Adelita Irizarry, a female welterweight also won by decision. Somewhere in the audience, unbeknownst to me, was a ten year old Mykquan Williams. He was there to support his aunt, the aforementioned Irizarry. As fate would have it, Williams eventually became the focal point of Cichon’s teachings and the subject of several articles I scribed for SecondsOut.
On April 6 of this year, Williams will turn eighteen years old and officially end his career as an amateur boxer. Throughout his career, which saw him winning the Ringside World Tournament three consecutive years, the 2012 National Silver Gloves, as well as the 2012 PAL Nationals, Williams amassed a record of 45-13. Along the way, Williams caught the eye of Jackie Kallen, the much revered former manager of James "Light Out" Toney.
"Having Jackie Kallen is a huge plus," Cichon stated. "She knows the players, and the game very well."
Kallen signed Williams on February 16, 2016.
"It feels great that one of the best managers in the business is behind me," Williams commented. "I can’t wait to start working together."
Connecticut may not be a hot-bed for professional talent, but it certainly is no stranger to producing successful world class caliber fighters from Willie Pep to Marlon Starling. With Chad Dawson in the final stages of his career, the Constitution State could use an infusion of some new blood and the addition of Williams to the regional undercards.
"To be honest, I never thought I would be boxing, but when I started to compete and take things seriously, I loved it," Williams explained. "My team and I have been waiting for this moment in my career. We look at it as a new chapter in my life for bigger and better things. For the debut, I’m looking forward to it and expect things to start off on a fantastic note."
Williams gained excellent experience competing in the 2015 National Golden Gloves tournament, but Cichon felt some of Williams’ recent defeats could be attributed to a style better suited for the paid ranks.
"This not my first time transitioning a boxer from amateur to the pros," Cichon stated. "Remillard came to me at the age of thirteen. I’ve learned a lot since the Remillard days. As far as putting Mykey through a training camp, Mykey has always trained like a pro, that part of the process will be easy. As far as the challenges of making the pro debut, getting the right opponent [is key]. I have final say in his opponents; I’ll discuss this with the team and go from there."
Williams expressed an interest in adding more strength and conditioning training to his routines, but expects a lot of his camp rituals to remain the same. So far, he’s expressed an open mind about making changes when necessary and spends little time worrying over the past.
"The losses in the amateur game are just a learning experience, we’re moving forward," Cichon stated. "Mykey is prepared both mentally and physically for the pros; I have no concern of the plan going south."
Watching Cichon work with Williams up close brings back images of his work with Remillard. There was a clear, calm communication in the corner, a trust.
"Paul and I have a great connection with each other, so being in that corner with him knowing we have such a strong bond will benefit us in a huge way," Williams explained. "In some fights, at some point, I’ll need to adjust or use a different game plan. With our bond, things will be easy to understand and things will be easy to accomplish."
Team Williams is coming together. With Kallen’s insight added to the cohesion if Cichon and Williams, a stalwart foundation has been set. The trio is also hopeful to sign with Lou Dibella as Williams’ promoter for his professional debut, which could happen in late April.
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February 22, 2016