The “Quiet Storm” has endured every drought and downpour life can throw at you during his high-profile, seven-year career in professional boxing. Now Jimmy Williams faces his toughest to date, a fight that, if victorious, could lead to bigger and better opportunities.
The West Haven, CT, resident and veteran welterweight makes his Showtime debut next Wednesday, October 7 live from Mohegan Sun Arena in a televised showdown against hard-hitting, undefeated, 21-year-old Brandun Lee (19-0, 17 KOs), a La Quinta, CA, native and one of boxing’s brightest prospects.
The eight-round Williams-Lee bout, which will be contested at a catch weight of 144 pounds, opens a three-fight telecast beginning at 9 pm ET and presented by Premier Boxing Champions in association with CES Boxing, one of five remaining events scheduled for 2020 at Mohegan Sun that will air live on Showtime.
The October 7 event is headlined by a 10-round showdown between unbeaten middleweights Wendy Toussaint and Charles Conwell, both of whom boast 12-0 records. Williams’ opponent, Lee – a former three-time National Junior Golden Glove champion – has won his last 10 fights by knockout dating back to 2018.
“It’s an honor to fight on this stage,” Williams said. “I’m prepared. I was born for this.”
Williams (16-3-2, 5 KOs) – promoted by the legendary Jimmy Burchfield Sr., and CES Boxing – faces another tall order next Wednesday against the electrifying Lee, though it’s merely par for the course in what has been a tumultuous journey both in and out of the ring over the past decade and a half. Born and raised in Plainfield, NJ, the 34-year-old Williams began boxing at the age of 8, introduced to the sport by his uncle, but he found his calling on the gridiron, where he starred as a defensive back at Southern Connecticut State.
Though boxing was his first love, Williams didn’t step through the ropes again until after his mother, Belinda, was murdered in 2008, a case that remains unsolved to this day. Williams also lost his father due to cancer. Belinda had always dreamt her son would become a fighter, so, to honor her memory, he stepped away from football following a series of injuries and instead picked up where he left off with boxing, making his professional debut in 2013.
Williams’ career in the ring has featured a number of highlight-reel finishes and right-place, right-time moments. Earmarked as the swing bout in his debut – otherwise known as the bout that gets pushed in front of the TV cameras in the event of an early finish – his knockout victory over Noel Garcia made it onto the NBC Sports telecast, giving fight fans an early glimpse of Williams’ irrepressible talent. Two months later – again as the swing bout – Williams found himself on ESPN2, outworking Ray Younger by decision to improve to 2-0. In February of 2015, once again at Mohegan, Williams earned another spot on ESPN2 and flattened regional rival Eddie Caminero, a knockout that landed on the network’s weekly Top 10 highlight reel.
The pressure of the bright lights? That’s not a factor for Williams, whose pro career was essentially “born” on network television, so it’s only fitting that his biggest, most difficult challenge will meet a similar fate in front of millions of watchful eyes on Showtime’s global platform. Physically, Williams feels great; 34 might as well be 24, and he’s almost a year – 361 days, to be exact – removed from his last bout, allowing his body to recover from the usual wear and tear associated with constant training and weight-cutting.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the landscape of professional boxing with fighters showcasing their craft in front of empty arenas, provided a small silver lining for Williams, who used the quarantine to spend more time with his family.
Equally important was the opportunity to “reset” mentally and focus on what lies ahead. He has fought his entire career under Burchfield’s guidance, winning 14 of his first 15 bouts and reaching the pinnacle in 2017 by capturing the WBC USNBC Welterweight Title. Though he may have discovered the proverbial fountain of youth during his time away from the sport, the reality is this may be Williams’ to climb the ranks and land the signature bout that eludes so many talented fighters. Perhaps this is the aforementioned signature bout.
In any event, Williams – with no hesitation – is stepping back into the fire next Wednesday on an a rather unusual, unconventional platform, fighting just a stone’s throw from his home in Uncasville, CT, but without the rabid fan base that usually follows him to every arena. What may seem odd from some might just be what the doctor ordered for the unflappable Williams, whose journey in professional boxing has been anything but conventional.
“He’s a great fighter,” Williams said of Lee, “but we’ll see what he’s made of October 7.”