Published: July 13, 2004
SHOWTIME PPV NATIONAL CONFERENCE CALL
Former undisputed heavyweight champion and current World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 8/World Boxing Association (WBA) No. 10 contender, Mike Tyson, will take his initial step toward reclaiming a world title when he takes on World Boxing Union (WBU) International Champion Danny Williams in a 10-round showdown live on pay per view, Friday, July 30. The TYSON-WILLIAMS pay-per-view telecast from Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Straight Out Promotions will present the event, which will be distributed by SHOWTIME Pay Per View and carries a suggested retail price of $44.95.
Opening: Do you have some opening comments. How are things going? How is training going?
Williams: I came in two weeks ago, and have been training really hard. I am going to be in fantastic shape. I am just ready to rumble.
Question: What do you think of Mike Tyson these days, and how would you compare him with the Tyson of old?
Williams: Well, obviously, he is not the fighter he used to be. I would say he is probably 40 percent of what he used to be. I think he is one of the greatest heavyweights ever to live, but now I believe he is ready for the taking. He is been out of the ring 16-17 months and I believe I am going take him.
Question: Do you have a plan to try to take Tyson in the later rounds? Or are you going to just see what happens in the ring?
Williams: That is my plan, obviously, to take him to the late rounds. But, as with all fights, you can come with a plan and sometimes things do not work out the way you want them to work out. So whatever happens, I will be ready. I am going to just adjust to whatever comes.
Question: What do you think you have going for you most in this fight? What are your strengths?
Williams: I have an excellent jab and I can punch.
Question: If you feel that Mike Tyson is only 40 percent of what he used to be, then how do you think people are going to feel about this fight should you win? There will be some people saying, Well, whats the big deal? You beat a guy that was past his prime.? How do you respond to that?
Williams: I believe it is a known fact is not what he used to be, but even though he is 40 percent of what he used to be, he is still a world class fighter. He is still one of the best of the greats out there. So I still think it is very much an achievement for anyone to beat him.
Question: What was your reaction when you found out that you actually got the fight against him?
Williams: Oh, I felt like Christmas, my birthday, everything coming up at the same time. I was very happy because it is a massive opportunity.
Question: How have you been preparing for this fight? Can you tell us a little bit of an insight on how training has been going and what you have been focusing on in the gym?
Williams: We did running like I have never run before. You know, pushing my lungs like I have never done before. I have been just doing everything more than I normally do. Inviting some real tough sparring partners like Chevron Williams. He is a Tyson-like fighter who throws vicious punches. So that is the way weve been preparing.
Question: What is your planned weight for the fight? Where do you plan to be at?
Williams: I am going to be about 250.
Question: Is that going to be difficult for you to obtain? Are you going up or down from your last fight?
Williams: I am definitely going down. My last fight, I think I was around 260.
Question: Can a guy who has been inconsistent over the years be totally and utterly focused?
Williams: I will be 100% focused in this fight. You must remember that for many of my fights in England, I am always the favorite and I am never performing at my highest level. The guys I am boxing are raising their game to fight me and I am bringing my game down to them. This time, for the first time, I will actually fight someone who is rated above me and everyone thinks he is going to knock me out. So I am going to raise my game to the occasion.
Question: Can you contemplate defeat?
Williams: No, no, I cannot. I have got a good feeling I am going to be a winner, and I will be a winner.
Fightworld.us: A lot of Americans have not seen you fight and it is easy to basically remember the bad. What has changed since your loss in 2003 when you were knocked down three times?
Williams: Well, I know at that time I was suffering from shingles and I can control my body now. I have to get food down me; I cannot go long periods without food. I cannot let my body get run down or the shingles will flare back up.
Fightworld.us: Where are you training?
Williams: Huntington Boxing.
Fightworld.us: What made you decide to come here and train in New York rather than stay home?
Williams: The sparring out here is much better. That is why we decided to come out here. Plus, I just had a little baby girl and I did not want to be around my house at that time.
Question: As far as with Tyson, his pattern has always been to come out with that early storm of punches. How do you think you can get through that early storm?
Williams: I believe the jab is the key to the fight. Jabbing and good foot movement, are what I hope to bring to this fight.
Question: Do you think Tyson is going to come out fast against you?
Williams: Yeah, definitely. Tyson only knows one way to fight. It is an effective way, but that is the only way he knows how to fight. So we have been training for that.
Question: Do you think that Tyson might be taking you a little bit lightly and that he may be looking past you for the bigger name fights with the belts on the line?
Williams: Yeah, but a little bit lightly is an understatement. I think he definitely is taking me lightly. That is one of things that gives me confidence as well because when he gets in there, he is going to find out I am a true contender and that I am a world class fighter.
Question: Which fight on your record would you point to as proof that you should be taken seriously as an opponent for Mike Tyson?
Williams: It is very difficult to pick out one fight because I have never boxed at the class I am going into now. But I showed glimpses of my heart in my fight with Mark Potter when I won the British title, and I was able to knock him out..
Question: Why do you think you were chosen as Tysons opponent?
Williams: I was chosen as Mike Tysons opponent because I have a good record, I am big, I look the part and they obviously think I am going to be knocked out within a few rounds.
Question: How do you explain that you are not in the ratings?
Williams: Because for many years, I have been boxing and defending my British heavyweight title. I have not really stepped into the world class.
Question: If you get past Tyson, who would you like to fight next?
Williams: I would like to fight Chris Byrd.
Question: How have some of your sparring partners been reacting to you, since they probably never really heard of you?
Williams: When I came to America, a lot of people were thinking this is just another English bum. But they have been surprised. I have been constantly stopping my sparring partners and knocking them out. And the people have been impressed with my speed and power. And they are surprised that an English guy can fight like this.
Question: Would you agree that coming to America and getting high quality sparring that you cannot get in London is something that will go with you the rest of your career?
Williams: Oh yes. This is something that you have always got to do. I have never had this type of particular sparring. It can only make me a better fighter.
Question: How are you going to deal with Tysons unpredictability in the ring should he misbehave?
Williams: I think you have just got to roll with the punches. What happens, happens.
Question: How do you feel about Tyson getting the lions share of the publicity and the interview requests and everything?
Williams: I am up for that. I think that is good. Like I say, he is one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. He deserves all of that. But after I beat him, then I should get it.
Question: What did you think of the way Tyson acted at the press conference (in Louisville)?
Williams: I was shocked. I came in expecting him to be shouting and screaming at me. I expected Mike to be growling at me. But he smiled at me and gave me a hug. I was totally shocked.
Question: Have you thought about how you will be preparing for when the first bell goes off and you are suddenly in the ring with Tyson?
Williams: That goes through my mind all the time. I just got to keep mentally strong. The main thing is the mental part. That is why I have been working not only on the physical, but the mental. I have just been trying to keep myself mentally strong.
Question: Are you preparing for a clean fight out of Tyson?
Williams: Yeah, I am prepared for a clean fight, but whatever he gives to me, I will give it back to him.
Question: Is there anything you think you might be able to learn from sparring partner Clifford Etienne?
Williams: I do not think he can tell me much about Tysons technique because he was not in there long. Etienne likes to come forward, so it is going to get me in great condition.
Question: Why do you think so many people still think Tyson can win a world championship?
Williams: Like I said before, he may be only 40 percent of what he was, but his 40 percent is still better than most guys at 100 percent. He is still a world class fighter and he is still has world class punching power. So, yeah, he definitely can still win a world title, but he has to get through me and I do not think he will.
Question: How does it feel to have no pressure on you whatsoever?
Williams: It is a beautiful feeling. This is something that I have always wanted. Like I said, when I am in England, as the champion, I have got massive pressure on me because everyone expects me to win. In this fight, I am expected to be knocked out in a couple of rounds so there is no pressure on me. And that is why I am so relaxed.
Question: Who were some of the fighters you admired or modeled yourself after?
Williams: I used to like the fights in the 50s, and Willie Pep. Mike Tyson is a fighter I have always admired and always thought he was a great fighter, but he is not one of the fighters that I thought I wanted to copy.
Question: When you heard Tyson had back spasms, were you afraid the fight might be postponed?
Williams: No, because I was told that this is something Tysons had many times, and it should not be a problem. So there is no worry.
Question: How did you got involved in boxing?
Williams: From a young age, my dad kept telling me I was going to be world champion. He had the dream that I could be world champion and he forced me into boxing when I was eight years old. I did not want to do it, but my dad is very strict. You have to do what he says. So I have done it for many years reluctantly. Then after awhile, I started to like it. So here I am today.
Question: Is your father still alive?
Williams: Yeah, He is still alive. He should be coming out to the fight.
Question: Did your dad or any uncles fight? What got your dad so convinced at such an early age that you were going to heavyweight champ?
Williams: He said he had the dream that I was going to be champion of the world. He just had a dream. I have got two older brothers, but he never put them in boxing. He just put me in boxing because he said he had the dream. And from a young age, even though I did not like the sport, everyone said I had lots of talent. So maybe he will be right.
Question: What would it mean to your personally and for your career to beat Mike Tyson?
Williams: Oh, it would put me on a different level. Beating Mike Tyson is like winning the world title. It would be unbelievable for me. Words cannot express how I would feel. I would be so happy to beat Mike Tyson.
Question: Have you heard from Lennox Lewis or anyone else in the British boxing community and do you know who might be coming out to Louisville to support you?
Williams: Apart from my family, I spoke with my trainer who spoke with Frank Bruno. Bruno gave him a few tips on Mike Tyson.
Question: What did Bruno say?
Williams: Frank said something we knew already. That Tyson has awesome punching power, but we knew that one. But he did say that when Tyson dips, move off. He said when Tyson dips, get ready for the power, so just step off.
Question: Some of the politicians in Kentucky have been complaining about the fact that the commissioner gave Mike Tyson a license to fight. Do you want to comment on any of that?
Williams: I believe he should be able to fight. He did his time. He paid the price for what he has done and he should be able to move on with his life. He is making a living like everyone else. I do not see what the problem is.
Question: Also at the press conference, he was more friendly than he even had to be. It is interesting that they made these comments right around that time when he did absolutely nothing wrong and was extremely personable and sportsmanlike at the press conference.
Williams: Yeah, he totally changed the way he acts because Mike now realizes that there is no point in being vicious outside the ring. Save it for inside the ring and that is what He is going to do.
Question: What weapons in Tysons arsenal most concern you?
Williams: He is still a very intimidating character and also he is very good on speed and has great punching power.
Question: What difference does it make that Tyson has been out of the ring for so long now?
Williams: I believe it is going to make a big difference.
Question: Do you think you have a physical advantage in terms of actual strength, maybe punching power?
Williams: I can punch, and my punching power is improving but I would not go as far as to say mine is better than his. But physically, I do believe I am stronger than Mike Tyson and I am like a secret. These guys have never seen what I can do.
Question: Should physical power not be important in terms of tying him up on the inside?
Williams: Yeah, definitely. We watched the Holyfield fight. When Holyfield, who has a lot of strength, would tie up Mike, Mike could not get away and that is exactly what we have been working on, to have the physical strength to hold him.
Question: When you step into the ring for this fight, do you expect to be more nervous than you have in the past when the bell rings?
Williams: No. In fact, I expect to be less nervous. I have got nothing to lose, but everything to gain. I am going to go out there and give everything I have got and I know everything I have got will be enough to be victorious.
Question: What is the difference mentally between fighting in the gym and fighting in an actual fight?
Williams: In the gym, it is a relaxed atmosphere because you have got nothing to lose, whereas when it comes to the real fight, you lose everything. So there is a lot of pressure on real fights.
Fightworld.us: When you got the call to fight Mike Tyson, were you already in the gym training for a possible fourth fight with Michael Sprott?
Williams: No. I was in the gym thinking, but I was not thinking about fighting Sprott again. I feel as though I have grown out of that stage. I was looking to move onto the world stage. I was hoping the opportunity would come. I did not think an opportunity this big would come, but, praise be to God, this opportunity has come and, like I said, I am going to take it.
Fightworld.us: If you win, there is going to be a tremendous amount of pressure on you. Can you handle that and what are we going to see if you win?
Williams: Yeah, if I win, you are going to see the best Danny Williams ever. I am going to be more confident. I am just going to be a better fighter.
Question: Can you describe what an everyday training day is like for you?
Williams: I get up in the morning at 5:00, do my run. Sometimes we may run for an hour and a half. Sometimes we may do sprint work, a lot of sprint work. Go home, eat breakfast, rest, go out to the gym. We spar a different amount of rounds all the time.
Question: You mentioned that you just had a baby. How long ago was that and is it sort of bittersweet that you cannot be around at this time?
Williams: Yeah, we just had our second daughter. She is now six weeks old and it is hard being away from her, but it is something we have got to do. It is a sacrifice I have to make in order to better myself and hopefully make it better for her future.
Question: Do you stay in touch with your wife or talk to her or have you just totally separated yourself?
Williams: I phone now and again. Not too often. I phone now and again to make sure my two daughters are all right. But I do not have much contact with them. I want to keep my mind focused on this fight.
Question: Do you prefer fights to be judged by one person or three?
Williams: Definitely the three judges. I think it is safer if you have got three guys judging the fight than one. When I lost the British title, everyone, apart from the referee, thought I won the fight. In fact, they go so far as to say it was not even close.
Question: Would you be willing to trade punches with Tyson or are you just going to try to outbox him for the decision win?
Williams: I am going to look to outbox him because of my height. I am looking for war and I am looking to box him as well in this fight.
Question: Do you feel that you have the power to hurt Tyson or take him out if that opportunity should present itself?
Williams: Definitely, I have got a lot of power and I have got a lot of speed and I believe that is going to surprise Mike Tyson and definitely hurt him because I believe Mike Tyson is a guy who you have got to get respect from him. My power is going to get respect from him.
Question: What is your prediction?
Williams: By any means necessary, I will win. I believe I have the power to knock him out. But if I have to do it with points, I will go with points. That is why I have been training really hard, running for a long time, doing my sprint work, training very hard. So whatever comes, comes, but I believe I am going to be victorious on that night.