Joseph Williams doesn’t discriminate. He beats boxers or brawlers. He chops down taller guys or hammers out shorter ones. The fact is, he doesn’t care much about who is standing across from him in the ring.
The light heavyweight from Far Rockaway, is 10-0 as a pro with seven knockouts and makes his national television debut Friday night on Showtime. Williams fights undefeated former Dominican Republic Olympian Lenin Castillo, who is 15-0-1 with 10 knockouts. The eight-round bout will be televised live at 10 p.m. from Buffalo Run Casino & Resort in Miami, Okla.
“As a pro, Williams has faced limited competition and is making a huge jump up in class against Castillo,” said Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood. “It’s a classic ShoBox type of fight. We’ll find out whether Williams is a legit pro prospect on Friday night.”
While Castillo fought in the 2008 Olympics, Williams nearly represented the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Games. Williams is a three-time New York Golden Gloves champion but lost in the Olympic box-offs to Michael Hunter. He was eventually selected as an alternate for the U.S. team.
“For a fighter who started boxing relatively late, at age 20, Williams was quite an accomplished amateur,” said Farhood.
Williams launched his pro career in 2013 and is anxious to get the next level.
“People from Queens and New York City know who I am,” said Williams, who is 28. “But now it’s time for the rest of the world to know. I am from Far Rockaway and I coming to show off.”
Castillo is a tall, rangy, boxer-puncher but Williams has not spent a lot of time studying his opponent.
“Whatever my opponent gives me, I will take and adjust my style,” said Williams. “I will know that first time we get in close and I hit him to the body. Fighters make little noises in the ring that the crowd can’t hear and you can’t hear on TV. But I can hear it, I can hear their weakness.”
Williams usually allows his trainers — Kenyatta Harris and Anthony Santiago — and his management team to devise a strategy.
“Joseph is extremely versatile, he can adapt to whoever is put in front of him in the ring,” said Joe Quiambo, the director of operations for Split T management, the team that represents Williams. “He reminds me of a combination of Joe Frazier and James Toney. He can take an opponent out if he has to or he can be slick and box.”
Part of the reason he doesn’t spend much time watching film is that he has so little of it. When he’s away from the gym he picks up work with Local 78 as an asbestos handler and he tries to spend his down time with his daughters, Heaven 9 and Nevaeh 10.
“I’m on a strict schedule,” said Williams. “I don’t have a lot of time to have fun. My fun is when I spend time with my daughters. But winning Friday night, that’s going to be fun too.”