Southpaws Stevenson, Williams set to slug it out in 175-pound title bout

Adonis Stevenson has held onto his 175-pound world title for more than three years, but Thomas Williams Jr. believes it’s time for the “Top Dog” to take down the champ.

Adonis Stevenson and Thomas Williams Jr.

Champion Adonis Stevenson (left) will attempt to defend his 175-pound world title for the seventh time against fellow southpaw Thomas Williams Jr. on Friday night in Quebec City. (Dave Nadkarni/Premier Boxing Champions)

Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs) will end a 10-month ring absence Friday night when he defends his crown against fellow southpaw Thomas Williams Jr. (20-1, 14 KOs) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/PT).

Stevenson, 38, will attempt to make the seventh successful defense of the title he earned with a 76-second stoppage of Chad Dawson in June 2013.

Stevenson, a Haiti-born Canadian, is fighting for the 14th straight time in his adopted country, but Williams said he has drawn surprising support from many fans in the Great White North.

“When I came to Canada for the press conference, I received a good welcome,” said Williams, who weighed in Thursday at 174.6 pounds, while Stevenson checked in at 173.6. “I thought a lot of people in Canada liked Adonis Stevenson, but a lot of people were telling me ‘Knock this guy out,’ and ‘We’re tired of him.’”

The 5-foot-11 Stevenson has won 14 straight fights, 12 by knockout, since losing by second-round stoppage to Darnell Boone in April 2010 in a 168-pound bout.

In his last fight in September, “Superman” earned a third-round TKO of fellow southpaw Tommy Karpency in Toronto. It was just Stevenson’s fourth contest in the last two years after fighting four times in 2013 alone, but the champ said the decreased workload has helped rejuvenate him.

“Sometimes it’s good to take a break and come back stronger,” said Stevenson, who is 7-0 with five knockouts in title fights. “My layoff will be good for me. I needed to recover, but everything is good now and I don’t have any injuries."

And what about those fans from his adopted country whom Williams claims are pulling for the challenger?

“If [any Canadians told Williams] to knock me out, then they’re not my fans," Stevenson said. "But I don’t care what people say or don’t say.

"You have fans who love you, and you have fans who don’t. As soon as I get into the ring, I’m Superman, and the fact is they’re still going to watch my fight.”

The 6-foot-1 Williams earned his shot at Stevenson with a crushing second-round KO of Edwin Rodriguez on April 30. The 28-year-old southpaw from Fort Washington, Maryland, vowed to dethrone the champ with an equally devastating display of power.

“This is the first time Adonis has faced a guy like Thomas Williams. He’s definitely in with a live dog in me,” Williams said. “I can definitely promise you fireworks.

“I have the advantage in height, he has the reach [77 inches to 72], but that has nothing to do with anything. Mike Tyson was 5-10 and had a [71-inch] reach and fought guys who were all bigger than him. It’s about landing the punch, and how effective they are.”

Both boxers have had their chin tested in recent fights, with Andrzej Fonfara downing Stevenson in the ninth round of their May 2014 title bout. Williams was stopped by Gabriel Campillo in Round 5 in his only career defeat in August 2014, and was floored by Humberto Savigne in the first round last November before storming back to gain a second-round TKO.

“I showed that I had heart, could box well and go the distance to win a tough fight [against Fonfara],” Stevenson said. “I know that Williams is a tough guy and a power puncher, but my mentality is to go for the knockout, and I can do it by boxing or going toe-to-toe.

“Anything he brings, I’ll be able to figure out and adjust to it.”

For a complete overview of Stevenson vs Williams, visit our fight page.

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