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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 10:27 GMT
Exposed Williams hits Klitschko wall
By Alex Trickett

If Danny Williams' rise to world stardom was rapid in 2004, his demise was startlingly quick.

The brave Briton's bid to become WBC heavyweight champion effectively ended after just 140 seconds against the impressive Vitali Klitschko.

At that instant, Williams was sent crashing to the canvas by a savage combination.

And as he fell, all of the confidence he had discovered in July during his shock victory over Mike Tyson ebbed away.

But his courage stayed with him as a one-sided first round became an eight-round beating dished out by Klitschko.

Williams showed bottomless resolve to clamber off the canvas four times, forcing referee Jay Nady to stop the fight when it became clear that he would not quit.

By then though, Klitschko's assault had turned Williams "the Tyson-tamer" back into the lumbering figure who surrendered his British crown to Michael Sprott in January.

Born: 13/07/73
Home: Brixton, England
Record: 32-4-0
Trainer: Jim McDonnell
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6ft 2in
Key wins:
Tyson: 30/7/04
Potter: 21/10/00 (British title)
Senior: 18/12/99 (Commonwealth title)
Key losses:
Klitschko: 11/12/04 (WBC)
Sprott: 24/1/04
The Brixton fighter's preparations for his big shot in Las Vegas had included large helpings of footage from his boxing hero Rocky Marciano.

"Marciano is my man," he said.

"I saw him against Ezzard Charles when he had all those cuts and fought on and against Jersey Joe Walcott when he was a proper warrior, not like today's fighters who get out of the ring if they damage a fingernail.

"I like Marciano because he didn't stop punching. He was a warrior and he had heart."

Williams replicated Rocky's heart against Klitschko, and he should be applauded for that, but he failed dismally to punch, being outscored by a staggering 99-6 in the jabs column.

So where did it all go wrong?

Critical fingers will be wagged at his weight, and there is a case to be made that his 19st 4lb bulk slowed him down enough to make him a sitting duck for Klitschko.

But Williams dismissed those claims, telling BBC Radio Five Live that he "probably would not have survived the first round" if he had come in lighter.

I want to continue - look at Frank Bruno, he lost a few but then beat Oliver McCall
Danny Williams
The unavoidable truth is that the Ukrainian would have been too good at any weight, and a tough decision now has to be made about Williams' future.

Promoter Frank Warren hinted at retirement, calling on his charge to have a serious think before fighting again.

But Williams is adamant that he will keep fighting, after being given a clean bill of health by doctors during a precautionary trip to hospital for a brain scan.

"I want to continue. Look at Frank Bruno, he lost twice and finally got his title," he said.

The wisdom of those words can only be judged in the years to come and Williams' heart may earn him a crack at one of the lesser heavyweight champions.

For now though, he appears to have reached his level and it falls a long way below that of Klitschko, who should now be considered the best in the division.

The British public owes Williams a big debt for his courage, for beating Tyson and for his refreshingly affable nature.

But it will have to wait a while longer for its next heavyweight champion of the world.

Interview: British boxer Danny Williams

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