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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Plenty at stake in Williams-Campillo

By Dan Rafael

Williams
Thomas Williams Jr. puts his unbeaten record on the line Friday against former titlist Gabriel Campillo.
Light heavyweight Thomas Williams Jr. is one win away from moving a step closer to a world title shot and former titleholder Gabriel Campillo is one win away from moving a step closer to getting another opportunity.

That's what at stake when Williams (17-0, 12 KOs), 26, of Washington, D.C., and Campillo (23-6-1, 9 KOs), 35, of Spain, meet in a title eliminator in the main event of this week's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes, 9 ET).

A victory will move the winner into the No. 2 ranking for a shot at one of the belts held by Bernard Hopkins.

Williams, who scored knockouts of Cornelius White and Enrique Ornelas on "FNF" already this year, is the much younger man and the fighter on the rise while Campillo is just 2-3 in his last five fights and has looked like an old man, especially in knockout losses to Andrzej Fonfara and Sergey Kovalev during the stretch.

"I've seen Campillo fight in person," Williams said. "I fought on the undercard when he fought [light heavyweight titlist] Tavoris Cloud [in 2012]. I sat and watched because it was a championship fight in my weight class, and I just wanted to look at him."

Campillo lost a controversial split decision to Cloud, but Williams said he was not impressed.

"He didn't really impress me, he's definitely beatable," Williams said. "He's going to try to run around, but he won't run around for that long. If you negate everything and cut the ring off, he won't be able to move too much. I'm going to catch him. They can run, but they can't hide. I'm going to catch up with him and when I do, I'm going to put the work in."

Campillo and his team are aware this is a must-win fight if he wants to get back to a title shot at his age and given the recent slump.

"For Campillo, it's the last tango. He has got to do his best and win, or it could be his last time in boxing," adviser Sampson Lewkowicz said. "Campillo feels the same way and has said so, but he is confident that he can win this fight and then go on to win the world title."