By Derek Bonnett: As Mykquan Williams enters year three as a professional, the road ahead will likely have a few more twists and turns and, if Paul Cichon has his way, a steep incline.
By Derek Bonnett: As Mykquan Williams enters year three as a professional, the road ahead will likely have a few more twists and turns and, if Paul Cichon has his way, a steep incline. Williams and Cichon have been together from the start. As head trainer, Cichon has high hopes for the twenty-year-old East Hartford, CT fighter. He believes Williams has the good to make a splash this year and garner some real attention as they pave the way from prospect to contender class.
Cichon, of course, is not the only one feeling confident of Williams future. Jackie Kallen, who guided a prime James Toney, also contributes to the team effort behind the business end of Williams’ career. If all holds true, Williams, 13-0-0 (7), will be in much deeper by Christmas time.
“Mykquan Williams is progressing and performing exactly as I knew he would when we got together nearly three years ago,” Kallen stated. “He has developed beautifully under the superb training of Paul Cichon. His strength reveals itself more in every fight and his speed and boxing skills make him a challenging target for any boxer in the 140-pound weight class. I believe he is headed for the top ten ratings and a title shot within a year to eighteen months. I couldn’t be prouder of him—as a boxer and as a man.”
In 2018, Williams won four bouts. He showed both ends of the spectrum in blasting two of those foes in the first round and then out-boxing the other two over the eight-round distance. The Connecticut native traveled to New Hampshire this past November to meet Martin Angel Martinez, a veteran with over thirty bouts on fight night. Williams was cut by an elbow in the first, but remained calm and won a clean sweep on the judges’ cards. The strength Kallen speaks of can manifest itself as blistering power, like the kind seen in Williams’ dismantling of Preston Wilson in New York last May. However, his strength has also shown itself in longer fights with men who have already matured into their physical primes as Williams has been able to move his opponents around the ring and not be out-muscled on the inside or along the ropes. Williams will likely be a full-fledged welterweight before long.
“He’ll be 21 in April,” Cichon said. “I’d say a couple more years he’ll start to get his man strength. He’s strong now; I can imagine how he’ll be then.”
Strength is not the only trait Team Williams is hanging its hat on thankfully. Williams is a steady body puncher and knows how to lead. He’ll work off the jab, doubling it when it’s available, and work his way forward.
In Martinez, he met a veteran with experience against world class opposition in Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, Mike Alvarado, Michael Farenas, and Jimrex Jaca. That test was passed with flying leather and now Williams is ready for more direct experience in the ring.
“Mykey has shown me maturity in the ring. He’s smart, he takes his time, he knows how to set traps in there,” Cichon assessed. “The next twelve months will bring Mykey to ShoBox; we’re looking to step up in big way.”
ShoBox: The Next Generation, Showtime’s gateway series for prospects looking to transcend that status, would provide great exposure for Williams. It’s been a slippery slope for some and the beginning of the road to a world title for others. It’s not a program for soft touches and a hungry fighter has to be willing to be matched tough. There’s nothing more than speculation shared by Team Williams on this matter at this time. There are certainly some interesting name opponents in New England alone. However, Williams first must negotiate his next challenge scheduled for February 28.
For this match-up, Williams will travel to Dallas, Texas where he will meet Andre Byrd at Love Field. Byrd, 34, is a stocky welterweight with thirteen bouts. Byrd, 7-4-2 (1), started 2018 going the distance against veteran Lanardo Tyner in a losing effort. He already fought once in January 2019, winning a five-round bout, so he’ll be in shape for Williams. Byrd is no KO artist, so he will be looking to trouble Williams with boxing skills throughout their scheduled eight rounder.
“We’ve been working on my jab, getting it sharper,” Williams explained. [I need] to use it more because I don’t enough and I can make things easier if I do. Keeping a good distance with it as well, throwing different types of jabs too. Camp has been going great. Just a couple weeks out; only a few more sparring sessions and we’ll be fighting the 28th.
In terms of fight video, Williams says he leaves that part of camp mostly to Cichon.
“As far as Andre Byrd, he’s durable, never been stopped,” Cichon shared. “I’m sure he’ll show Mykey things he hasn’t seen, and Mykey will learn from it. We haven’t done too much different; Mykey always trains like it’s a World Title Fight.”
Williams will be fighting farther from home than at any point in the professional ranks. He’s made a home at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, CT, but Cichon is equally confident that the distance will not be a significant factor in the bout.
“The fight being in Dallas won’t be too much of impact on him,” Cichon stated. “Most of his amateur fights were far from home and he has about twenty people flying down. It’ll be fine.”
If Williams can impress against Byrd, that ShoBox dream comes one step closer to reality. If 2019 is to be the year Williams crashes the rankings, it will be interesting to see the moves his team makes come summer time.