Ex tarmac toughie Darryll Williams attributes the scuffles and scrapes of a troubled adolescence on the lethal lanes of the London Borough of Lewisham as paramount to his English title triumph in Leicester last April writes Glynn Evans.
‘Ferocious’ from Forrest Hill, SE23, claims his prep was compromised by illness and he was sliced above the left eye in round three, then the right eye in round eight. Nevertheless, he still rumbled to an impressive ten round split decision against hometown hero Jahmaine Smyle in a frontrunner for domestic Fight of the Year.
‘I’m used to stressful situations since being young. It was fun. By the end, all his home crowd were cheering for me,’ recalls the 5ft 9in slab of black marble who carries a scowl that could freeze volcanoes.
‘The first cut was the worst and affected me for two rounds. I was slipping his shots but blood was running into my eye. God bless, (cutsman) Frank Greaves!
‘I can’t really explain how I came through. Just sheer determination and heart. When the lights are on, I’m a guy that has to perform. This built up aggression is homemade, a mentality paved on the mean streets of south London. Trust me, I’ve been in far worse situations but I’ve always pulled myself through!
A late starter at 18, the one-time doorman triumphed in less than half of his nine amateur bouts but has won 15 straight since he began punching for pounds in January 2012.
‘Boxing has changed my path,’ acknowledges Williams.
‘I never planned to be a boxer. I just went to the ‘Double Jab’ gym to do some weights so I could look mean for the streets but I heard some guys caning the bags upstairs so investigated. I’ve only been boxing for nine years so to have achieved what I have, I must have a gift. I’m just starting off.’
Whirlwind Williams halted just two of his first nine opponents – both first round countouts – as he acclimatized to the profession but latterly has routed four of his last six foes inside schedule. Four of his six stoppages have come in the opening session.
He explains: ‘I shouldn’t have turned pro as early as I did. I only had nine amateur bouts and didn’t possess the basics. I didn’t punch correctly and repeatedly hurt my hands. Now I’ve really found my feet.’
Formerly with Al Smith’s iBox crew in Bromley, the 27 year old expects his progression to accelerate yet further since teaming up with new trainer Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton in Manchester last month.
‘There’s never been anyone better in this country at front foot aggression, pushing through people,’ insists Williams.
‘Everybody knows, Ricky was the master at finding the space, working his way inside and landing the body shots. His game is my game.
‘And I’m shocked by his tactical brain and how technically knowledgeable Ricky is. He’s also got me moving my head more, getting hit less. I’m very happy with the move.’
With Southern Area and English titles in his locker, the south London strongman is already on the cusp of a domestic title shot so didn’t need to oblige Smyle with a rematch. Nevertheless, the rivals will renew hostile acquaintance on the talent stacked Copper Box card on July 8th.
‘Personally, I’d have preferred to fight Rocky Fielding for the vacant British but I was advised by my management to take the Smyle rematch because the first fight was so explosive; great TV,’ he says.
‘Last time, I delivered whilst I was ill so this time I know I’ll be even better. Besides, I want him to leave the ring utterly convinced that I’m the better man.’
After the 10 rounds of pure savagery that Williams shared with Smyle in April, it’s customary for feuding protagonists to accord each other admiration in the aftermath. Warmonger Williams breaks from that tradition.
‘I couldn’t give a f*** about Smyle as a person,’ he scoffs.
‘I respect every fighter but I don’t have to be their friend. I don’t like anyone I fight. My mentality is always ‘FU’! I need to create a competitive edge.
‘This is the fight game. Afterwards, I want every opponent I face to be hurting, I want thoughts of how hard I punch constantly going through their heads!’
‘It’s nothing personal, that’s just how I have to channel my mind. Being in camp deprives me of time with my daughter. That makes me mean.
‘I think Jahmaine intimidated previous opponents. He looks like a machine who can do serious damage but he can’t.
‘I don’t rate him as a fighter. He’s not the worst but once you get past that jab, there’s not much there. He’s got no ‘Wow!’ Last time, he just tucked up, stick in lots of elbows, forearms and heads and hoped I’d punch myself out. Once he realised my energy levels, he didn’t know what to do.’
And with BT Sport and BoxNation screening live, the ‘Ferocious’ one knows he has a gilt edged opening to expand his fan base and cement his standing as a viable British title contender.
‘I’m finally high up on a televised Frank Warren undercard and a destructive performance can really benefit me,’ he concludes.
‘I intend to make a statement before my support. I win because I’m the better man; stronger, quicker, punch harder, better looking!
‘I want to plant my feet and hurt Smyle. I intend showing last time was no fluke. This time, no splits, no majority…. He’s having a proper slap!’