Austin Williams has got his career back on track and is targeting the big guns at Middleweight – but first, must battle with Kieron Conway as he looks to claim back-to-back vacant titles on the undercard of the trilogy clash between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night (September 17).
Williams (11-0 9 KOs) picked up his first title in his last outing in April, disposing of Chordale Booker inside the opening round to pick up the WBA Continental Americas title at Madison Square Garden in New York.
‘Ammo’ now meets Conway for the WBA International title and is likely to improve on his #6 rating with the WBA if he can see off the Briton who appears on his second Canelo Alvarez undercard.
Victory for Williams would be the latest step in a positive return to the ring for the Houston talent after he took time out from the sport in April 2021 to concentrate on his mental health. The 26 year old has made some changes to his training team ahead of, but believes he’s in a great frame of mind in and out of the ring and will seize the chance to impress on a huge platform.
“It is my honor and a dream come true to open up the Canelo vs. GGG III Pay-Per-View telecast,” said Williams. “I will deliver an unforgettable experience and capture my second consecutive title in the most sophisticated way imaginable.
“I fought on a Canelo card before and I got a brilliant reaction to my performance that night, so Eddie Hearn knows that the more energy that is in the place, the more I can use it and give it back to the fans.
“Eddie signed me as a young kid, I was just 22, and they introduced me to the world. Everyone has seen my maturation into a man, and the team understand that you sign kids, and you are watching them grow. You learn every day and you learn what you go through and become a man from it.
“I decided to make a change and go back to my regular team. I learned so much from Kevin Cunningham, it was a great place for me to be at the time with the struggles I went through with my mental health, to be with someone that is very structured.
“Kevin was in the military and a police officer; he’s lived in harsh environments and was the right man to polish me up and taught me a lot about the business. He saw I had the boxing ability and talent, he took another route and taught me the game, how much of boxing is in the mind, because he’s been there, and I was receptive to listening to it.
“I’ve had to prove my loyalty back to me team and show that I wanted to keep my ball rolling at a great pace. I was given the chance to go to south Florida and I always said the best thing for me is a great environment to keep me right in mind, body, and soul. So that was a real blessing, and he came into my life at the right time, and it was a mutual understanding to part ways.
“We all have stuff going on. The brain is so complex you don’t really take time to sit with it and understand it. Boxing is the loneliest sport in the world so we’re dealing with something that’s so high level, putting your life on the line for a living. You are out there to be judged in front of a crowd, your heart on your sleeve and showing your art to the world, and your physical health is attached to that.
“If you don’t learn how to manage that it’s so easy to fall into depression and things like that, so I love when athletes, especially boxers, open up and talk about it because acceptance is the first step to heal anything. People can think pushing things to one side and acting like nothing is wrong is the way to go, but it’s not at all and it pushes you to breaking point.
“It can be liberating, that’s how I feel now, because everybody knows me, to say ‘I’m not perfect’. I’m myself, I trust myself. I know what I need to do next, and I feel the confidence and courage to follow your dreams and be the author of your own book is the scariest thing to do, but the most fulfilling.”
Williams’ clash with Conway is part of a huge night of action in Vegas, topped by the trilogy battle between Canelo and Golovkin.