It’s Showtime for Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams. Finally.
Williams, the West Haven resident and former Southern Connecticut State football player, will face perhaps the toughest opponent of his seven-year boxing career on Wednesday in an eight-round welterweight fight with Brandun Lee. The bout will open a three-fight telecast at 9 p.m. on Showtime, headlined by a 10-round headliner between unbeaten middleweights Wendy Toussaint and Charles Conwell at Mohegan Sun Arena.
It will mark Williams’ first appearance on Showtime.
“It’s a big opportunity,” Williams said. “This is the biggest stage in boxing, other than Showtime pay-per-view. To be at this level in my career, I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m still here.”
It will be a battle for Williams (16-3-2, 5 KOs), who hasn’t fought in nearly a year. Lee (19-0, 17 KOs) has won his last 10 fights by knockouts, dating back to 2018, and is considered one of the sport’s top young prospects. The La Quinta, Calif. native is a former three-time National Junior Golden Glove champion.
“He’s a rising star, a future world champion, but he’s in my home,” Williams noted. “Mohegan Sun is the place my career started, and I’m ready to give him his first loss. It’s gonna be a tough, hard fight. I belong on this stage, he belongs on this stage. It’s gonna be a good fight.”
Although Mohegan Sun is familiar territory for Williams, the setting will be different. There will be no fans in the arena, due to COVID-19 precautions. Williams thinks that might actually be a blessing in disguise.
“It’s gonna be that much easier to focus on the task at hand,” he said. “I’m not gonna play into the crowd. Sometimes the crowd can be saying things, ‘Knock him out,’ and you lose focus. I’m gonna fight smooth, fight a great fight, take my time in there and get it done.”
Photo: Catherine Avalone / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Willliams, 34, hasn’t fought since battling Jose Medina to a six-round draw on Oct. 11, 2019. Since then, he has used the COVID-19 quarantine to spend more time with his family. He was slated to fight on Fox Sports on Feb. 1, but that was postponed before the pandemic made it tough to get fights. But he remained in shape the entire time, switching to a new diet and dropping a few pounds to 144 — the same weight he was at when he beat Nick DeLomba for the WBC USNBC welterweight title in April, 2017.
“When I got the phone call (for Wednesday’s fight), I was smiling, because I was ready,” Williams said.
Willilams lost his welterweight title in a unanimous decision against Marquis Taylor in 2018 out in Las Vegas and has dropped three of his last six fights overall. Williams, a truant officer at West Haven High, has also become a father to twin sons and ran for a West Haven Fourth District City Council seat (he lost).
A former defensive back at SCSU, Williams fights in memory of his mother, Belinda, who was murdered in 2008 in a case the remains unsolved.
“She’s the reason I’m on this stage,” he said. “Without her, none of this would every have been possible.”
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