April 27, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Jason Williams'' professional mixed martial arts career is off to a rousing start.
The Columbus native knocked out Roy Davis 10 seconds into round one of their fight Thursday at the Gladiator Challenge at the Pauma Casino in Pauma Valley, Calif.
Williams saw an opening for the knockout after Davis threw a left-handed punch. He said he was surprised Davis was going to try to stand with him and punch, and he countered with a left hand.
Davis'' reaction to the punch created an opening Williams used to deliver a punishing right hand that caught his challenger, who also was making his professional debut, on the chin.
"The punch sounded loud, like a firecracker," Williams said. "The knockout is satisfying. It was pretty much just natural. I did so much work with my boxing coaches and my martial arts coaches. It wasn''t rehearsed. It is a tribute to good coaching."
Williams started his mixed martial arts career training with Oliver Miller in Columbus. In February, he received an opportunity to go to California and train. He spent the past two months there training six to eight hours a day with five coaches who helped him in the martial arts, boxing, wrestling, and yoga.
Williams expects to return to Mississippi today to be with his family and to be here for his kids'' birthdays. He plans to stay a week or so before returning to California to begin preparations for his next professional fight May 31 in Nevada.
Williams also said he has another fight scheduled for the summer in California.
"My goal in the first year is to go 5-0 and get a good start," said Williams, who earned a four-figure payday for his victory. "I have good management and some fights in some good venues lined up."
Williams competed at 154 pounds in the lightweight division. He said a daily training regimen that tests him physically and mentally will prevent him from getting overconfident after earning a knockout in his debut.
"It is not going to be hard for me to stay humble because some of the guys who work with me bust me up every day, and I feel like I have to get to the level they are," Williams said. "It was a good knockout, but the guys on my fight team are way better fighters, wrestlers, and kick boxers.
"I am going to have to take that victory and push myself even harder. After this knockout I am going to face a lot more competition and better competition, so I am going to have to step up now."
Williams said he took his beatings and all of the knots he absorbed on his head as motivation with him into the ring. He said the training, the adrenaline he felt before the fight, and the cameras and the crowd he saw on his way to the ring created an exciting atmosphere that helped him focus for his first fight.
Williams hopes he will be as ready for his second fight.
"I don''t second guess the time I put into it," Williams said. "(Getting a knockout) is a good feeling because it gives me confidence to know I I put in the work. I am not going to try to bite off more than I can chew. I am going to take it one step at a time and, eventually, move to championship status."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.