TACOMA, Wash. – If Andre Keys wants to continue his upward trajectory in the sport of boxing, he will have to get passed his toughest test to date in former world title contender Dannie Williams.
Keys, who has won 11 consecutive fights, will face Williams in the main event of Battle at the Boat 125 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash. on Friday, Jan. 17.
Keys brings a record of 12-1 with 5 knockouts into the 10-round welterweight bout, while Williams, who made his return to boxing earlier this year following a six-year hiatus, sports a stellar 23-3 record with 18 KOs.
“This is very exciting for us at Brian Halquist Productions and Battle at the Boat. We have looked at Andre since he was an amateur and now, he is the main event for the second time. This is a big fight for Andre. This is a don’t miss fight for boxing fans,” promoter Brian Halquist said.
“A win against a former top contender would be a big boost for Andre’s mindset and his record rankings. It is very important,” said Keys’ trainer Nathaniel Glenn.
Tickets are available through the EQC box office and all Ticketmaster Outlets. Preliminary bouts will start at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Keys, a native of Tacoma who was a multiple-time national champion as an amateur, is coming off the biggest win of his career, having defeated Manuel Monteiro by unanimous decision in a 10-round bout on Nov. 9.
“(This showed me) Andre is ready to go 10 strong rounds under the pressure of his home crowd. He has always been poised and patient in his temperament, and I think the extra rounds allowed that layers of his game to showcase,” Nate said. “I was most pleased with his 10-roound fitness and stamina. He looked very professional.”
The win over Monteiro, who entered the contest with a strong 7-1 record, was the 11th straight for Keys. He has not lost in nearly four years.
“My team has been working a lot on my 2020 schedule,” Keys said. “This is my biggest match to date. I look forward to January 17 and I’m focused on one fight at a time.”
Keys’ next fight will be against the most experienced fighter he has faced.
Williams grew up in St. Louis and learned how to box at the same gym that produced Devon Alexander. He began his seven-year amateur career at the age of 13, winning 127 of his 154 amateur fights, and was an 11-time national champion, culminating with by winning the 2004 National Golden Gloves title in the 132-pound weight division.
He won his first 12 pro fights with one of his early wins coming at the Emerald Queen Casino in 2008 when he stopped undefeated Gadiel Andaluz by TKO.
Williams suffered his first defeat against Washingtonian Eloy Perez in a bout for the vacant World Boxing Council United States featherweight champion on Sept. 12, 2009. He responded to the loss by reeling off nine consecutive victories, highlighted by a win over Manuel Leyva for the interim World Boxing Council Continental Americas lightweight title in 2011, before losing to Henry Lundy in 2012.
Williams build his record to 22-2 before losing to John Molina Jr in 2013 in a fight for the vacant World Boxing Organization NABO lightweight title.
It marked his last fight since returning to the ring in April when he defeated Ronald Rivas by majority decision in his hometown of St. Louis.
Now with nine full months of training, the ring rust is gone, and Williams looks to climb back into title contention. A win over rising star Keys would go a long way in making that a reality.
“My opponent is a former top contender with 18 KOs to his record,” Keys said. “He has good skills and a lot of experience. I will be in top shape and look to be a technical boxer on fight night.”
In addition to the main event, Battle at the Boat 125 will include a 6-round welterweight semi main event between Antonio Neal and Niko McFarland, a 144-pound undercard bout between undefeated fighters Jose Cervantes and Cody Brown and a 170-pound fight between Juan Jackson and Joe Aguilar.
Battle at the Boat 125 is brought to you by Brian Halquist Productions. For more information, please visit the Battle at the Boat Facebook page and www.halquistproductions.com
Battle at the Boat 125 Card Friday, Jan. 17, 2020
10 Round Main Event – Welterweight
Andre Keys (12-1) vs. Dannie Williams (23-3)
6 Round Semi-Main Event – Welterweight
145-pounds: Antonio Neal (5-12) vs. Niko McFarland (4-5-2)
4 Round Undercard Bouts
170-pounds: Juan Jackson (2-2) vs. Joe Aguilar (0-0)
136-pounds: Louis De Alba (0-3) vs. Marco Garcia (0-0-1)
144-pounds: Jose Cervantes (1-0) vs. Cody Brown (1-0)
Heavyweights: Nick Mills (2-0) vs. Michael Johnson (0-0)