North Carolina amateur boxing sensation Michael Williams Jr expected and was asked to provide a lot in his pro debut. From his entrance into the ring to his work inside the ropes, the eighteen-year-old boy wonder, with the ease of a future world champion, delivered 150% as promised in his pro debut with a third round TKO of a very tough and game Raquan Best 0-2.
Williams Jr 1-0 (1 KO) entered the ring in fantastic style electrifying a capacity crowd at the Centerstage NODA arena in Charlotte, NC. From the opening bell, the 6’1″ super lightweight showed next level skills using a battering ram jab to open the guard of Best. After quickly establishing the jab, Williams Jr unleashed a number of right hands which forced Best to fall back into the ropes. Williams Jr stayed on top of his opponent delivering calculated hard shots to both the head and body. Best was a beast and showed an incredible chin by eating many of the shots and surviving the first round.
Round two was much of the same as Williams Jr, playing off the excitement of the crowd, began to unleash on Best. Best tried to seize the moment by eating big shots and trying to throw and land big punches of his own. Williams Jr’s defense and knowledge quickly were on display. After a brief wild exchange that was the obvious adrenalin and excitement of an eighteen-year-old making his pro debut, Williams Jr tied up Best and forced the ref to break. After the break, Williams Jr went right back to his jab forcing Best to go back on the defensive. Williams Jr closed out the round in strong fashion by pummeling Best around the ring.
Williams Jr came out fast in round three landing several blows to Best’s body. Best, who was still showing a chin of marble, began to double over from the body blows and stand erect from the hard, headshots. But, like any marble taking multiple blows from a hammer, Best began to crack.
Williams Jr landed a hard jab on Best’s body and as Best dropped his hands, Williams Jr landed a right that put best to sleep and followed with a left which woke up Best. Williams Jr pounced and landed several blows which forced the referee to stop the bout at 1:09 of the third round.
After the fight, Williams Jr was mobbed by friends, family, and fans, and as cool and as committed as he was inside the ring, he was the same shaking every hand, making eye contact, hugging every well-wisher, and trying to take every picture. In his post-fight interview, Williams Jr flashed his Kilowatt smile and said, “This was expected. 150!”
In other undercard action on the Christy Martin promoted Friday Night Fight at CenterStage Noda Arena in Charlotte, NC :
Joshua Draughter, Super Featherweight from New Orleans, LA, mauled his opponent from the opening bell and improved his record to 3-0 (1 KO) with a first-round stoppage (1:58) of Kwatevion Nijee Islom 0-1.
Kyle Harrell 2-1-1 (1 KO), a hometown favorite, stopped Justin Noel Cantres 0-4 at 2:48 of the second round.
Jamaal Gregory 3-1 (1 KO) showed tremendous heart and survived a first round knockdown to win a controversial split decision over a talented, busy, and strong Solon Staley 1-1. Staley had Gregory hurt multiple times in the fight, but Gregory found a way to rally every time Staley was dishing out punishment. In the fourth and final round, Gregory landed a questionable low blow. The referee gave Staley time to recover, but Staley was not the same in terms of aggression.
Cody Bullock 1-0 of Ashville, NC made his pro debut one to remember by coming into previously undefeated Mike White‘s 2-1 (2 KO’s) hometown and handing the hometown favorite his first professional loss by UD.