Titus Williams carried a heavy burden into the ring on Saturday night at Barclays Center. At stake was his future in boxing, but since the death of his friend Patrick Day, he also has pondered his commitment to pursuing a future in the sport.
Williams, from Elmont, was dropped and then stopped in the sixth round of his featherweight bout against undefeated Cobia Breedy. The bout was scheduled for eight rounds.
This was Williams’ first bout since Day died on Oct. 16. Day suffered a traumatic brain injury during a fight against Charles Conwell at Wintrust Arena in Chicago and died six days later. Williams and Day trained and sparred together at the Freeport PAL Boxing Gym for 10 years.
In the immediate aftermath of Day's death, Williams wondered if he would ever fight again. He recently was inspired to fight on to honor Day.
“Every boxer deals with a tragedy differently,” said Williams’ manager, Keith Connolly. “Some people it can ruin them forever, some people it can implore them to be better than they would be.”
In a series of text messages on Sunday, Williams said that physically, "I am doing OK." As to his future in the sport, he added, "I am trying to figure it out."
His co-trainer, Joseph Zagarino, said Williams, "Is OK, he's just upset. He really is so much better than that. He's heartbroken.”
The fight was a contrast in styles, with Williams trying to sharpshoot his opponent while Breedy’s strategy was to smother Williams with pressure.
After getting wobbled in the second round, Williams (9-3) fought back hard in the third and dropped Breedy in the fifth round.
But the fight changed quickly. Williams was dropped late in the sixth and the bout was stopped by the referee at 2:16 of the round. Breedy, who is from Barbados, improved to 15-0.
In the first of three world title fights on the card, Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3) stopped Marlon Tapales (33-3) in the 11th round to win the IBF junior featherweight crown. At 34 seconds of Round 2, Chris Eubank Jr. (29-2) was declared the WBA interim middleweight champion after southpaw Matt Korobov (28-3-1) was unable to continue because of an injury to his left shoulder. It’s officially a technical knockout for Eubank.
In the main event, Jermall Charlo scored knockdowns in the fourth and seventh rounds and retained his WBC middleweight title with a seventh-round TKO of Dennis Hogan. Charlo is 30-0 with 22 knockouts. Hogan dropped to 28-3-1 with seven knockouts.