Mansfield boxer Jamie Williams had more than just his own reputation on the line in his first professional fight last month. He also had his family name to uphold.
His Dad Stephen was a professional fighter for seven years, winning 13 of his 16 fights. Though initially retiring in 2000, he returned to the ring to record two more victories in 2002 and bow out of the sport on a high.
And Jamie (22) wasted little time in emulating his Dad, stopping Czech opponent Ahmet Kuricaj in the second round to register his first win as a pro.
Stephen’s sporting repertoire includes a stint as a jockey, and he has taken a rather ‘hands-off’ approach with Jamie, despite his experience on the canvas.
“I never encouraged him to take up boxing – quite the opposite, actually – but he grew up in an environment where it was always around him,” says Stephen.
“He tried a lot of other sports, but he wasn’t really happy with anything until he got into boxing. It was his own decision, and he’d tell you the same thing.”
Flawless displays on the amateur circuit have seen Williams jnr. become a Midland ABA champion, and he’s been in the top 10 of his weight-class for the last couple of years.
He has been pitted against the best amateurs in the country, and after 45 fights, he and his team feel that now is the time to step up.
Stephen, who once fought for a British title, is confident his son can do more than just emulate his achievements.
He added:“Nothing would make me more proud of him than to see him fight for, and win, a British title. He always listens, and constantly wants to learn.
“With my commitments as a jockey, I was working between two sports. Jamie is a lot more focused than I ever was. I’d like to think he could go a lot further than I did.”
Jamie’s trainer Carl Greaves, who turned professional at the same time Stephen did, worked tirelessly with the younger Williams to prepare him for the bout with Kuricaj.
Jamie’s blistering start to a professional career played out to a sold-out Newark Showground, and he wowed his fervent fan-base with an uncompromising display.