Two young, hungry, undefeated fighters will throw down for a world title when Angelo Leo and Tramaine Williams go head to head for the vacant 122-pound title Saturday night on SHOWTIME.
Boxing is back!
This Saturday, August 1 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), live from a crowdless Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, SHOWTIME Championship Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions kick off a five-month run of world class boxing.
In the main event of this comeback card, Angelo Leo (19-0, 9 KOs) battles fellow undefeated contender Tramaine Williams (19-0, 6 KOs), substituting for a COVID-19-positive Stephen Fulton Jr. On the line is vacant WBO World Junior Featherweight title.
On the televised undercard, undefeated Ra’eese Aleem faces Marcus Bates in a junior featherweight title eliminator and Joseph George battles Marcos Escudero in a rematch of their spirited light heavyweight clash last November.
Leo, the 26-year-old Mayweather Promotions product, wants to grab his first world title and earn a place on the boxing main stage. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, "El Chinito" is an undefeated and well-regarded young contender with world class potential and the presence of promoter Floyd Mayweather as inspiration. He's looking to become Albuquerque's first world champ since the legendary Johnny Tapia.
Tramaine Williams, meanwhile, was preparing to take on Ra’eese Aleem in a junior featherweight undercard eliminator when Stephen Fulton's positive test for COVID-19 opened the door to this world title shot.
The New Haven, Connecticut native was a 2011 national Golden Gloves champion and a 10-time national amateur champion. Thought to be on the fast track to stardom, a prison stint in 2014 stalled his career. "The Mighty Midget," however, pulled out of his personal nosedive and resumed his place among the highest-regarded young prospects in the sport. He was 4-0 in 2019 and now finds himself one win away from a world title.
At stake is the vacant WBO World Junior Featherweight title and a full step forward on the path to next-level stardom.
Leo is a calculated fighter by nature. The Mexican-American prefers to stay back to pick and probe for openings, looking for good attack angles. His jab is solid and effective, although not always used to maximum efficiency. Among his best offensive tools are the overhand right and a sharp, jarring left hook. He's also adept at working the body of an opponent, prodding with a straight right hand to the gut and causing damage with a left to the liver. Although he occasionally opts to exchange up close, he is more effective from a distance.
Leo is solid defensively, using his reflexes and positioning as his primary tools, but definitely not untouchable. In the heat of battle he can be hit but has not paid too steep of a price for any defensive lapses.
The 27-year-old Williams is a quick, elusive southpaw who, in terms of style and temperament, has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker.
Fighting from a low, lefty stance and in possession of outstanding reflexes, he's tough to hit and difficult to figure out. A blinding left hand is his best offensive weapon and is doubly dangerous because of his ability to draw opponents off balance.
Williams fancies himself a thinking man's fighter, always two or three steps ahead of opposition, and is calm and calculated in looking for scoring opportunities.
“ This is the day I’ve been waiting for and I have to seize the opportunity. ” Undefeated Super Bantamweight Contender - Angelo Leo
"This is something I’ve worked my whole life for, so my preparation has been the best I’ve ever had, both physically and mentally. This is the day I’ve been waiting for and I have to seize the opportunity.
"Floyd [Mayweather] was in the gym with me a couple of times giving me pointers and helping work through my game plan. His wisdom combined with my trainer’s knowledge really meshed together for me. Floyd just told me to just stay calm, treat it like any other fight and do what I do best. I know the mental strength that Floyd has, and I’ve learned from it. I’ve learned from the best."
"It’s a bit of an unusual situation but I take every fight as if it were just another day in the gym or another sparring session, so this will be nothing different. As boxers, as fighters, as humans, we just have to adapt. No excuses, whatever comes our way we’ve got to figure it out and that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday."
Leo will be presented with a much different task fighting Williams than he would've had fighting Fulton. He'll not only have to adapt to facing a southpaw, two-and-half inches shorter than his previously scheduled opponent, but he'll also be up against someone with a very different mindset and skill set.
Unlike Fulton, Williams is fine with fighting up close, using his reflexes and off-putting southpaw angles to throw an opponent off balance and make him susceptible to counters.
Whereas Leo vs. Fulton was a clash of similar styles and temperaments, Leo-Williams is a battle of contrasting strategies. It's an Angelo Leo who works best from the outside, prodding his way into big-shot openings against a Tramaine Williams who's at his best drawing fighters like Leo off-balance and out of their comfort zone.
Expect Leo to channel the Mexican spirit in him and focus on body work to slow Williams down. Digging downstairs, turning a boxing match into a war should be his best path to victory on a few day's notice and without the chance to really nail down timing needed for such an elusive foe. Leo's overhand right may also be of use against his southpaw foe.
Expect Williams, on the other hand, to simply do what he does best. If he's working at 100%, it'll be his opponent who has to adapt and his opponent who will have to disrupt Williams' game.
On paper, Leo will be at a distinct disadvantage this Saturday. But mental toughness and will to win are hard to measure in paper analysis, especially in a fight like this where a victory means everything. Plus, a case could be made that neither has faced anyone as good or as brimming with confidence as the other.
This one should be a treat for fight fans. Winner takes all—the title, the pride, the "undefeated" tag from his rival. It's boxing at its most compelling.
For a closer look at Leo vs Williams, check out our fight night page.
- Leo vs Williams