Despite their 40 years age difference, undefeated, 21-year-old “Marvelous” Mykquan Williams and his head trainer, Paul Cichon, enjoy a special relationship that started 14 years ago.
Their unique journey could very well result in a storybook ending with a world title belt put around Williams’ waist and Cichon smiling by his side.
The humble, unassuming Williams and Cichon, a heavily tattooed trainer who looks more like a biker than boxing trainer, form boxing’s odd couple.
Williams has not only survived the life-altering murder of his father, when Mykquan was only eight days old, and the family house burned to the ground when he was 10. Instead of being just another victim of the streets in East Hartford, either a gangbanger, drug dealer, incarcerated or even worse; instead, the 15-0 (7 KOs) Williams is arguably the top 21-and-under prospect in boxing today.
“I’m not the average 21-year-old when it comes to street stuff,” Williams explained. “I want to buy my mother a house outside of the environment we’ve lived in. She didn’t want something to happen to me or for me to be a member of a gang. She lived scared for me, but kept me on the right path.
“I’m smarter and a better person because of the people around me like my mother, Aunt Addy (Irizarry) and Paul. He is family and plays a big role in my life. He’s been more of a father figure for me and he looks at me as a son, until it’s time to take care of business.”
At the tender age of seven, Williams attended his first boxing show with his Irizarry at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Mykey told his mother that he wanted to start boxing, so Aunt Addy, who was trained by Cichon at that time, brought him to Cichon in nearby Manchester.
Williams went on to become a five-time national amateur champion, compiling a 45-13 amateur record, highlighted by three Ringside World titles, in addition to gold medals performances at the National PAL and National Silver Gloves championship.
“Today,” Cichon quickly states, “Mykey is my best friend. Why? I put a lot of emphasis on loyalty. I lost the PAL gym (pipes burst, and boxing program was eliminated) 10 years ago, but he stayed with me. I’d pick him up and we’d go to gyms all over Connecticut for workouts until I opened my gym (Manchester ROCS). He kept calling. Mykey drives me. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Mykey, I probably wouldn’t be in boxing anymore. He keeps me young.
“We bonded right away, just clicked. I can’t explain why, but we’re together all these years later, and we have a very, very special relationship. When he was young, he was an angry boy, they called him ‘Mad Mykey’. But I’ve watched him grow into a humble, happy, grown
Williams will defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) United States super lightweight title this Thursday, headlining a DiBella Entertainment show streaming live on UFC FIGHT PASS®, live from Generoso Pope Athletic Complex on the campus of St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Williams, who is promoted by Lou DiBella and managed by Jackie Kallen, will defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) United States super lightweight title against challenger Tre’Sean Wiggins (11-4-2, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event.
“Mykquan and Paul have one of the best fighter/trainer relationships I’ve ever seen,” Kallen commented. “They respect each other and trust one another totally. Paul is more than just a trainer. He is also a teacher, confidante, and father-figure. Together they make magic. I’m proud to be part of this wonderful team. We’re going all the way together.”
“I believe that we’re together for a reason,” Cichon concluded. “I’ve been telling people for 10 years that he’ll be world champion. We’re in no hurry, though, he’s only 21. We’re enjoying this ride, but we never lose sight of what we both want: winning the world title.”