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Save Danny Williams

Danny Williams
Action Images/Paul Harding
Danny Williams, the conqueror of Mike Tyson, now desperately needs saving from himself, writes Matt Christie

DANNY WILLIAMS continues to fight at the age of 45. The greatest night of his career, when he knocked out Mike Tyson 15 years ago, hangs around his neck like a leash, inviting the unscrupulous to drag the ageing boxer this way and that with the promise of a payday. But the man who once beat Mike Tyson is so far removed from the man who once beat Mike Tyson, it’s a depressing spectacle.

On Friday (July 5), at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the remnants of Danny Williams were beaten up by Ruslan Myrsatayev, a crude 34-year-old heavyweight with a record of 6-0 (6). After taking a sustained pummelling, Williams, who sat on a stool for the entirety of the pre-fight introductions, dropped to his knees in round three. The referee, Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov, incorrectly ruled a slip and demanded that the veteran rise. Despite Williams sagging into a corner upon doing so, Mrsatayev was allowed to tee off on the veteran’s head and body. Whoever was acting as Williams’ trainer forcibly slapped the Briton’s cheeks several times during the minute breaks rather than calling the whole thing off. The end came in the fourth with Williams in no state to continue after being floored again by a meaty left hook. The bout was commissioned by the Kazakhstan Federation of Professional Boxing and promoted by Darkhan Mukhtarbek.

Last year, Williams fought on a card commissioned by the British and Irish Boxing Authority and was knocked out in 10 rounds by former lightweight, Lee McAllister, in Aberdeen. After that gruelling loss, Danny – aware of his deep deterioration – told the Scottish press that he had started to fear for his life as he waited in changing rooms before his fights. Williams vowed he had reached the end.

Danny Williams
Danny Williams is horribly faded Action Images/Paul Harding

Nobody wants to see him fight anymore. His career came to a halt in 2010 when he was effortlessly thrashed by Dereck Chisora in a British heavyweight title fight. Williams went into that contest after telling more than one Boxing News reporter he was “shot”. A whole decade ago, he knew that his body was no longer capable of boxing at a decent level.

The brief retirement that followed was snapped by the need to earn money to put his daughters through private school. After a brief spell working in security, the Londoner returned to boxing, despite being told by the British Boxing Board of Control they would never again issue him a licence to box.
The chaotic situation in the sport, with myriad governing bodies operating everywhere in the world without uniform rules and regulations, allowed Williams to get a licence elsewhere. He has been fighting on the continent since, amassing 30 contests according to BoxRec, including 18 losses.

Countless punches have been consumed as his record, which now reads 53-27 (40), has swollen out of shape. He has also taken part in fights that were not sanctioned by recognised organisations. After every bout he tells those around him that he won’t fight again. After every bout comes another offer to do so.

Williams, it seems, now needs saving from himself. Like a hopeless drug addict who knows that his habit is going to kill him, Williams carries the look of a man all but resigned to his fate. The vacant expression on his face last weekend, as he waited for the opening bell, barely mustering the desire to acknowledge his own name when he was introduced by the ring announcer, makes for upsetting viewing. Go to YouTube and you will find the footage. This isn’t scaremongering or dramatising the truth; Danny Williams must not fight again.

Easy for me to say. Easy for anyone who doesn’t have to pay Williams’ bills or put food on his table. Easy for anyone who doesn’t want to see Williams end up in hospital or worse. Not so easy for Danny Williams, though. Which is why he needs help. Those close to Danny must do all they can to stop him from taking any more punches.

The man who once beat Mike Tyson cannot take any more.

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