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One of the best boxers to come out of Ohio in the last twenty years is "Prince" Charles Williams of Mansfield, who held the IBF light-heavyweight title from October 29, 1987 to March 20, 1993.
Williams turned professional on June 27, 1978, dropping a four round decision to Henry Bunch. His career moved slowly over the next couple of years as he boxed mostly in the Ohio area. In 1981 he was halted by future IBF cruiserweight champion Jeff Lampkin. He reached a low point on March 1, 1983, when he was stopped in one round by Reggie Gross. At this time he looked to be anything but a future champion.
Turning It Around
In his very next bout, Williams scored an upset eight round decision over Anthony Witherspoon. Two fights later he met former light-heavyweight king, Marvin Johnson. Although Johnson won a ten round verdict, Williams won a ton of respect with his gutsy performance. Thirteen months later he outpointed Lampkin in a rematch. In 1986, he put together victories over Arthel Lawhorne, Eric Winbush and James Salerno to solidify his status as a contender.
The Prince Becomes A King
When Williams entered the Las Vegas ring to face defending IBF light-heavyweight champion Bobby Czyz he was a decided underdog. In the early rounds the oddsmakers seemed right as Czyz knocked down and battered Williams. As the bout progressed Charles showed the heart of a champion coming back to close the eye of Czyz and forcing the bout to end and the title to change hands.
The rest is well documented history. The constant and nagging hand injuries. The inability to get a high profile match with Michael Moorer or Virgil Hill. Even Tommy Hearns was mentioned as a possible foe at one time. After losing his crown to the talented German Henry Maske, Williams dropped in weight to challenge James Toney. With Toney at his peak, Charles was stopped in the twelfth round. Then came the two brutal wars with Marqui Sosa. Williams left the ring on a stretcher as he left his faded skills in the ring after the second Sosa battle. One final victory in Paris over Norman Bates ended his career with an impressive 37-7-3 record with 28 knockouts. Now Charles is hoping to work with young fighters at local gyms.
By Jim Amato
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