Paul Williams wins
By Michael Norby: Former welterweight world champion Paul Williams made an impressive 154lb appearance on Saturday night after he stopped veteran Verno Phillips after eight rounds to claim the WBO interim junior middleweight title at The Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, USA.
Williams 36-1 (27) was forced out of the welterweight division due to an apparent failure to secure a meaningful contest. After a very brief foray into the middleweight division (he knocked out Andy Kolle in 97 seconds), Williams found a credible and willing foe in the form of Verno Phillips.
Phillips 42-11-1 (21) who walked into Cory Spinks’ backyard last March and walked out with the St Louis native’s IBF junior middleweight title, bravely stepped up to the plate this evening. After eight punishing rounds, however, the Colorado based Belize national probably wished he hadn’t as the ringside doctor deemed that the 227 punches that thudded against his head and body had inflicted enough damage.
Williams employed his incredible 12 inch reach advantage from the opening bell as he zipped out his jab before ripping a pair of right hooks to the body and head of the veteran early. Phillips was able to move away from his opponent’s power for the most part and shot inside with single punches to the body through the first half of the frame. A clash of heads in the final minute seemed to bother both guys but inflicted nasty damage above the right eye of Williams. Phillips, who escaped with just a grimace, tried to take advantage and scored at the end of the round with sneaky punches on the inside.
Phillips was extremely cagey and his footwork was causing Williams all sorts of trouble in the early going. Thus, Williams’ output was sparse as he tried to find the right moment to fire against a constantly moving target. He managed to corral Phillips against the ropes midway through the round but the veteran caught much of what was thrown at him before responding with a series of hard shots upstairs that worsened Williams’ cut and scored well.
Between rounds, Williams’ corner implored their man to revert to his jab and the towering lefty obliged – backing his man to the ropes with his jab before blasting him to the body with huge hooks. That buoyed the bloodied 27-year-old and he thumped Phillips with an array of power shots consistently throughout the round – hammering his man to the body before shooting hooks upstairs in an impressive display. The ringside doctor made his first inspection of the Williams’ ghastly cut with thirty seconds remaining which was, by now, leaking a lot of blood and was surely a worry to the southpaw.
Williams continued to press forward in the fourth and he blasted Phillips to the body with left and right hooks – eating sporadic counters from the tough veteran in return. Phillips displayed his mettle and extremely good conditioning throughout the round as he waded through the hard stuff and unleashed his own short punches as he gamely attempted to swing control of the contest in his favor.
Williams was busier and more accurate, however, and he continued to thump Phillips to the body with both hands as the fight entered the middle rounds. He dominated the fifth and began to beat up the tough Belize national in the sixth round with sickening power and he truly hurt Phillips for the first time with a big left hand behind the ear as the round came to a close.
Like a gnat, though, a tired but game Phillips, who turned 39-years-old today, just wouldn’t go away. He took another beating in the seventh and eighth but surged forward in spurts with single shots of his own that inflicted no real damage on his opponent. Williams, whose corner performed brilliantly with the extremely deep cut, was clearly gunning for a knockout and, given Phillips’ weary state, that outcome seemed inevitable.
Indeed, after the eighth round, the doctor correctly ruled that Phillips was absorbing too much punishment and called a halt to the fight – saving the gritty veteran from further punishment and handing Williams an extremely impressive TKO victory.
When you have two big punching heavyweights with nicknames ‘The Nightmare’ and ‘Freight Train’ then you can be sure that there won’t be much technical boxing going on. This evening’s contest was proof of that as high flying American heavyweight Chris Arreola maintained his unbeaten record with a stunning third round stoppage victory over Travis Walker.
Walker 28-1-1 (22) exploded to life from the outset and found his opponent with ease – knocking a clearly overweight Arreola 26-0 (22) to the floor in the second with a three punch combination. Arreola responded beautifully, however, and dropped an over-reaching Walker twice in the same frame before ending the contest with a perfect left hook early in the third.
Walker jumped out in the opening round and blitzed Arreola with an array of thunderous punches as the unbeaten fighter backed up to the ropes. Walker’s superior hand speed was evident and, although he ate a handful of counter punches, he tagged his opponent with hard, crisp punches through the first half of the round. Walker then patiently applied his jab to set up his right hand which he used to great effect as he waltzed through the remainder of the frame.
After throwing an incredible 106 punches in that opening round, Walker emerged with great confidence for the second. Thirty seconds into the frame he dropped Arreola with a right hook to the body followed by two straight right hands upstairs. Arreola got up and, although he seemed to be gassed, he blasted Walker with a huge right hand behind the ear and dropped him with a subsequent flurry. Walker was hurt and found himself on the deck again seconds later after a sustained and vicious Arreola onslaught, although he fumbled his way to the end of the round by fighting his way inside not and allowing Arreola to find range.
Walker was still feeling the effects of the previous round as he emerged for the third and Arreola exploded almost immediately with a big right hand and ended the fight with a left hook that sent his opponent to the floor for the third time and forced referee Jack Reiss to stop the contest.
Time of stoppage: 0:13 RD3