You have to love a local newspaper that has its heart in local sport and the Swindon Advertiser would get my vote for local newspaper of the year for its coverage of boxing. When local boy, Phil Williams, 3-24-1, 3 KO’s, was boxing in white collar events it covered him, when he was amateur it covered him, when he went professional it covered him and it keeps so doing.
Never heard of Phil Williams? Well this Paddy Fitzpatrick trained heavyweight has been throwing his weight about in the professional ring since 2018.
In the white collar circuit he fought 17 times, winning 16 of them and you would think that that alone would equip him fairly well for a professional career but white collar can be very different to the amateurs and a world away from the professional game.
His professional debut came in York Hall, boxing’s mecca with a 4 round loss to George Fox – who was also making his debut. Whilst Fox went on to more winning ways, Williams has not been so fortunate. His first year as a pro he was also up against the notorious Kasha li, in Walsall, losing by being stopped in the 6th round.
Then came the first of his fights with Ferenc Zsalek at the MECA, Regent Circus in Swindon. It was not to be a win and Williams felt the draw was very unjust. I defer to the local Swindon newspaper who carrier the followjng interview with his promoter about the rematch due, again in Swindon, at the Oasis Centre this time in 2019.
“He (Zsalek) never gets stopped, and is a horrible fighter to go toe-to-toe against because he keeps coming forward. Last time, Phil got a draw against him. That was a contentious decision over four rounds, the fight was too close to being decisive. Was a draw right? Phil thought he won it easy, some of the crowd thought it was the right call. Since then, Phil has been training with Paddy Fitzpatrick and has lost a stone. He’s been training differently, he has got a lot more technical. He’s now sparring with Luke Watkins and is already noticing the improvements of his performances in sparring with Luke. He believes supporters will see a different Phil Williams this time around. He feels he is a much better fighter because of his sparring work with Paddy. He doesn’t just want to right the wrongs from his draw last time, but he also wants to see decisions go his way when he hopefully gets back on the road after a positive result this weekend.”
The new regime worked as Williams won in a 4 round shutout. The praise from his trainer, Paddy Fitzpatrick was fulsome, “And big Phil (Williams), let me not forget Phil. For him to get that win was just beautiful for him, beautiful.”
In between he has also shared the ring with the likes of Fabio Wardley in the 02 in December 2018, with former Commonwealth medallist Simon Vallily in Newcastle in December 2019 and in 2020 faced Dominic Akinlade and Scotland’s own Jay MacFarlane at the Doncaster Dome.
They all may have been losses but is clear that Williams ducks nothing and is up for taking on whoever in his weight division but with pride as he showed in avenging a draw – not a loss but a draw. He may be our boxing unsung hero but if you have a chance to influence local news, make sure the local papers that carry boxing, like the Swindon Advertiser, get your support – it’s tough out there for us all!