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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Richard Williams
POSTED ON June 11, 2020.
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FEATURE   Photo: Richard "The Secret" Williams (right) winning the World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Welterweight title against Andrey Pestryaev. 

Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


When an already twenty-six year old Richard Williams lost his third professional bout to Michael Alexander (13-22), on points in September of 1997, one would be hard pressed to find many who believed he would eventually develop into an exciting fan-favorite world champion.

Londoner Williams probably found it hard to believe himself, and that may have played a part in the fact that he would not box again for over two years. But when he returned, he did so with a vengeance, demolishing eight straight opponents inside the distance in just over a year.

Between October of 1999 and December of 2000, only one opponent, former IBF world title-challenger Howard Clarke (26-14-2), managed to see the fourth round, while tough adversaries such as Kevin Thomson (13-7), Piotr Bartnicki (8-1-3) and Aziz Daari (13-4-1) were blown out in one, three and two.

Nicknamed “The Secret”, it would not be long before that moniker came across as somewhat ironic, as more or less every British boxing fan couldn't help being mesmerized by the power and aggressive style Williams brought to the ring.

The executives at Sky Sports television also loved Williams, so promoter Barry Hearn found it easy to get him prime TV slots. Such was the case when Williams was set to challenge Tony Badea (24-3-1) for the Romanian-born Canadian´s Commonwealth Super Welterweight title in January of 2001.

Badea was, at least on paper, by far the biggest challenge of Williams career at that point, but he posed the Englishman few problems and was impressively halted in the third round. At 11-1 (10), “The Secret” was well and truly out!

Tough-as-nails UK-based Syrian Hussain Osman (8-2) became the first man since the loss to Alexander to go the full distance with Williams, when Williams won a closer than expected ten round non-title-fight decision the following June.

But three months on, Williams restored whatever hype he may have lost against Osman, when Andrew Murray (27-6-1) from Guyana, a former WBA world title-challenger, was disposed of in the third round of his first Commonwealth title-defense.

Now a regular headline act on Sky Sports, Williams dismissed durable Ukrainian Viktor Fesechko (34-22-3) in the sixth round of a rare undercard-appearance a month later, staying busy before a planned clash with world class Australian Shannan Taylor (29-2-1) on the first day of December 2001.

Besides being a second Commonwealth title-defense for Williams, the vacant IBO World title was also on the line, and Taylor, who had challenged Shane Mosley for the WBC world welterweight title eight months earlier, was expected to give him all he could handle.

That was not the case, however, and Williams made a big statement when he stopped Taylor in the fourth round, one round quicker than hall-of-fame-bound Mosley had done. His first world championship secured, the world appeared to be his oyster.

On June 29, 2002 at the Brentwood Centre, just outside London, Williams made his first IBO world title-defense against Welshman Paul Samuels (16-1-1), and retained his belt with a technical draw in round three, as the fight was halted due to an accidental clash of heads.

Williams stopped Samuels in the tenth round of the rematch five months later, lining up a March 2003 unification showdown with Uzbekistan-born Russian World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Champion Andrey Pestryaev (29-4).

Pestryaev, a former European Welterweight Champion, had won the WBF World title in July of 2002 in Birmingham, with a majority decision over then unbeaten Steve Roberts (29-0), and he returned to England with clear intentions to again defeat the local hero.

But Williams was on another level, and while he didn't get Petryaev out inside the distance he won every round on all three judges scorecards for a land-slide unanimous decision. He was now the WBF and IBO World Super Welterweight Champion!

Williams was clearly among the best in the world in his weight-class, but he met his nemesis in Argentinean Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (28-1-1), who beat him by relatively close decision on June 21, 2003 in Manchester.

In January of 2004 Williams regained the Commonwealth title when he stopped colorful Ghanaian Ayitey Powers (9-2-1) at London´s York Hall, but in his next fight he was stopped in the ninth round of a rematch with Martinez.

A move up to Middleweight followed, and Williams won three low-profile bouts before taking on Howard Eastman (40-4) for the vacant British title in December 2006. Eastman won by twelfth round knockout, effectively pushing Williams into retirement at 35 years of age.

Five-and-a-half years later, in June of 2012, Williams began what can only be described as an ill-advised comeback at 41. He could probably have won a few so-called easy fights, but instead he took on Lithuanian contender Virgilijus Stapulionis (18-1) and was stopped in the first round.

His final record 21-5-1 (17), and a former WBF and IBO World Champions, as well as two-time Commonwealth Champion, Richard Williams is still involved with boxing as a trainer, and continues to live in London. He is an instructor at, and co-founder of, “The Secret Boxing Gym”.

  Part 77: John Scully
  Part 76: Joseph Agbeko
  Part 75: Jenifer Salinas
  Part 74: Sven Hamer
  Part 73: Rob Calloway
  Part 72: Nedal Hussein
  Part 71: Irma Sanchez
  Part 70: Moses James
  Part 69: Cornelius Carr
  Part 68: Zolani Marali
  Part 67: Nicky Bentz
  Part 66: James Hare
  Part 65: Anne Sophie Mathis
  Part 64: Earl Butler
  Part 63: Dave Russell
  Part 62: Tony Dodson
  Part 61: Pete Taliaferro
  Part 60: Fredrik Alvarez
  Part 59: Ajose Olusegun
  Part 58: Chevelle Hallback
  Part 57: Evander Holyfield
  Part 56: Peter Culshaw
  Part 55: Rolando Toyogon
  Part 54: Joaquin Velasquez
  Part 53: Steve Molitor
  Part 52: Nadya Hokmi
  Part 51: Bert Cooper
  Part 50: Alfred Kotey
  Part 49: Yosuke Nishijima
  Part 48: Wayne Rigby
  Part 47: Jesus Chong
  Part 46: Renata Szebeledi
  Part 45: Lester Ellis
  Part 44: Patrick Vungbo
  Part 43: Patrick Washington
  Part 42: Ric Siodora
  Part 41: Guy Waters
  Part 40: Natascha Ragosina
  Part 39: Nicky Cook
  Part 38: Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym
  Part 37: Felix Camacho
  Part 36: Homer Gibbins
  Part 35: Joe Bugner
  Part 34: Myriam Lamare
  Part 33: Darrin Morris
  Part 32: Suwito Lagola
  Part 31: Aaron Zarate
  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson

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