By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
This coming Saturday Streatham bad boy Leon ‘Solid’ Williams defends his Southern Area Cruiserweight title for the first time, at the Graham Earl promoted ‘Redemption Day’ event at York Hall in London.
Leon is one of the Cruiserweight divisions most exciting and talented young stars, not even the controversial split decision loss to Jon Lewis Dickinson on the Prizefighter – Cruiserweights show or the more recent knockout loss to Richard Turba have dulled his sheen one iota in the eyes of his huge legion of fans, or more importantly those of his promoter Frank Maloney.
Anyone that has seen ‘Solid’ in action will understand why, Leon is one of those exciting raw talents that gives one hundred and ten percent each and every fight. His style is best likened to a shark, he circles his prey before striking with ferocious precision, and his defensive tactics are simple – attack, attack and attack.
Earlier today I caught up with Leon at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, where he was undertaking the final preparations for this Saturday’s fight, and managed to pin him down to answer a few questions. So without further ado let’s get down to a serious Q & A session with Mr Leon ‘Solid’
Rio – Hi Leon, I know you are busy preparing for your first defense of the Southern Area title so thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. My first question is what influenced you to become a boxer?
Leon – Iron Mike, definitely Mike Tyson. I think the first fight I see him in was against Frank Bruno. It just pumped me up and gave me the drive. So that’s why I am where I am now, that’s why I’m in the Boxing game and living my dream.
Rio – Whilst your pro career is well documented I couldn’t find much on your amateur career, so could you tell us a little about that.
Leon – I joined Balham ABC originally, I was there for a little while then went to Fitzroy Lodge. I think I had about seventeen amateur bouts. It’s not a lot of amateur experience but I didn’t have an amateur style anyway, I was always more suited to the professional game.
Rio – You beat JJ Ojuederie to win the Southern Area title last year, can you tell us about the fight and how you felt to lift your first title.
Leon- I thought he was coming to fight, but he just kept running. For nine rounds he ran and then tried to have a fight in the last round.
It was a great achievement to win the Southern Area title, so yeah I’m happy about that.
Rio – I understand that a rematch with Jon Lewis Dickinson is on the cards, first give us your thoughts on this and the decision that handed him the victory over you in Prizefighter.
Leon – I wasn’t at all happy with that decision, he scored it like amateur boxing. It’s pro competition you don’t score like it’s amateur with points, you score like professional boxing on pressure, bigger shots. You learn form these and just keep it moving, that’s what I’m doing keep it moving.
The promised rematch is great. I’ll put it on him straight away, break the other end of his jaw.
Rio – Your last fight see you suffer your first knockdown, and have a stoppage loss against you. What went wrong?
Leon – That’s down to preparation, it’s what I done the night before, I wont go into detail but I did something that I don’t normally do the night before and that affected me. I think that affected me and I was too relaxed, but we’ve learned from that you know. It’s a learning curve and I’m still learning. You make mistakes and you learn from those mistakes, quite simple.
Rio – You’re now with Johnny Eames at the TKO Boxing Gym, how’s that going?
Leon – Really good, really good. I’ve got a really good relationship with Johnny, he’s gonna really help build me up. You can’t ask for more from a coach and a manager, so yeah it’s great.
Rio – You’re fighting Danny Couzens on Saturday, please give us your thoughts on the fight.
Leon – I’m gonna crush him, it’s quite simple, I’m gonna crush him like a biscuit.
Rio – What are your championship aspirations after this fight with Danny?
Leon – Climb the ladder and the next title will hopefully be the English or British. Just keep on moving up, whatever works in the boxing game. I want to conquer the domestic division and then look further afield.
A World title is the long term plan, then again that’s what every boxer wants to do. It’s about achieving that.
Rio – Of all your fights, amateur or pro, which holds the fondest memories?
Leon – When I was in the ABA London finals against Richard Needham. Bad Boy fight, proper fight, we were both going really at it. It was a really good fight, anyone that was there that night will remember that fight because it was a really good fight. The fight of the night by far. That was a great fight.
Unfortunately I lost but it was a really great fight, three knockdowns I think, they gave me a count, it was a really good fight, we really went at it.
Rio – Finally is there anything you would like to say to the fans, especially that noisy ‘Team Solid’ mob
Leon – Yeah, Team Solid’s good to go, Team Solid’s the future.
Rio – Thank you so much for talking with me today and the best of luck for Saturday.
Leon – Thank you.
Leon ‘Solid’ Williams defends his Southern Area Cruiserweight title, against Danny Couzens, at the Graham Earl promoted ‘Redemption Day’ event at York Hall this coming Saturday, 7th May.
For tickets, priced £35 (Standard) and £60 (Ringside) call: 07960 850645, book on-line at www.tkoboxoffice.com or call in person at The TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA.