Boxing: Cornelius White

Rapid Reaction: Williams rallies for TKO

January, 24, 2014
Less than one full month into 2014, it looks like we have ourselves one heck of a candidate for round of the year.

Unbeaten light heavyweight prospect Thomas Williams survived a flash knockdown and scored a pair of his own before finishing Cornelius White by first-round TKO at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Wash.

Williams (16-0, 11 KOs) landed the first significant punch of the fight 25 seconds in and floored White, who was one fight removed from a knockout loss to light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, with a straight left hand.

But just as Williams continued pouring it on, hurting White a second time with a combination upstairs, he got caught with his hands down. White (21-3, 16 KOs) landed a short left hook and knocked Williams down.

"He caught me with a punch -- it happens," Williams said. "It was my first time down in my career. But what matters most is what happens after that."

Williams, 26, got up off the canvas to hurt White and drop him for the second time in the round. White was wobbly after regaining his feet, but was allowed to continue by referee Bobby Howard.

It wasn't long, however, before White was in trouble again, causing Howard to wave it off at 2:49 as Williams unloaded in the corner.

"I wasn't hurt at all. I was more stunned and probably embarrassed than anything,” Williams said of the knockdown. "I believe [the victory] is going to put me closer [to a title shot]. I think by me making a statement after 15 fights and stopping him in the first round, I think that makes a big statement."

Key moment: It didn't take Williams long to steal White's thunder moments after suffering his first knockdown. The southpaw rallied to hurt White with a straight left hand and followed it up with a right hook that sent him to the canvas in what proved to be the beginning of the end.

Final word: Williams did well to bounce back from adversity in what was expected to be the toughest test of his young career. The final verdict, however, remained inconclusive because of how poorly White proved able to absorb punches of any force. White, 32, who was floored by the first legitimate punch Williams landed, suffered his third knockout defeat within three rounds. But whether or not Williams' victory helps give him the push he desires toward a title shot in the near future, he combined with White to provide a memorable 89 seconds of drama.

Williams squares off with White on FNF

January, 23, 2014
In what may be the predecessor of a world title fight, undefeated light heavyweight Thomas Williams Jr. faces Cornelius White in the main event on "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) from the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Wash.

Williams (15-0, 10 KOs), a southpaw, is coming off of the biggest victory of his career, a 10-round unanimous decision against former title challenger Yusaf Mack in November. White (21-2, 16 KOs), meanwhile, is one fight removed from a devastating knockout loss to unbeaten titlist Sergey Kovalev in June.

Williams' manager and trainer, George Peterson, who once guided former welterweight titlist Paul Williams, believes White will be a tough test.

"Cornelius White is a good fighter," Peterson said. "He's taller and experienced. We must respect him, but we are well prepared and we won't have any problem against him."

There's little question Williams is the favorite, and he will enter the ring with plenty of confidence. But White is looking forward to the challenge of facing the promising, unbeaten southpaw.

"This will be my first test against a lefty, but it's a great opportunity to reach the next level," White said. "I've been waiting for an opponent like him to take away his undefeated status. I'm ready for war and on [Friday] you will all know what I'm capable of."

Originally this bout was scheduled to take place on the undercard of a welterweight duel between Javier Molina and former junior welterweight titlist Kendall Holt. Molina, however, suffered a broken right hand, bumping Williams-White into the main slot.

Williams, a Baltimore native, is a quick and aggressive fighter with power in both hands. He has shown a good variety of combinations, but his main offensive tool is the outside hook with either hand. He fights behind a high guard, but tends to dodge most hits by moving his waist.

White is only an inch taller than Williams, but he has a four-inch reach advantage, which he will likely use to set the distance with his jab. His first priority will be to avoid trading shots at close range, a strategy which cost him against Kovalev.

If White can find success from the outside, his height advantage could help him as it did in December 2011 against Cuban Yordanis Despaigne, whom he slowed down with a persistent assault of hooks and straight punches to win by decision.

In the co-feature, former 122-pound titlist Rico Ramos (22-3, 12 KOs) faces Jonathan Arellano (14-2-2, 3 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight bout.