Stevenson retains 175-pound title with crushing knockout of Williams

Adonis Stevenson has long claimed he has the most potent left hand in boxing. While a slew of his colleagues would no doubt argue otherwise, Thomas Williams Jr. certainly wouldn’t be one of them.

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Stevenson vs Williams highlights: July 29, 2016

Making the seventh defense of his 175-pound title Friday at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Adonis Stevenson used his big left hand to knock down Thomas Williams Jr. late in the first round. Then “Superman” went to his lethal weapon again to finish the challenger in the fourth, doing so in spectacular Knockout of the Year-style fashion.

The concussive ending to what was a vintage power-punching slugfest gave Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) his 15th consecutive victory, with 13 of those coming by knockout. The native of Haiti and longtime Canada resident is now 7-0 with five stoppages as champion.

“Fire fighting fire,” Stevenson said in describing the all-out brawl in front of his partisan home crowd. “I saw him putting pressure on me, and I said, ‘Yeah, you want to put pressure on me? I’m going to [bring] the pressure, too.’

“We were both going all out. When you have two guys who can punch, this is what you see. You see a spectacular [fight].”

Although out of action for more than 10 months, Stevenson promised in the lead-up to Friday’s fight that the layoff wouldn’t impact him negatively. Indeed, the soon-to-be 39-year-old showed little rust, rocking Williams with his left hand on multiple occasions in the opening round.

Williams (20-2, 14 KOs) stood up against the power until late in the stanza, when Stevenson came over the top with a looping left that cracked Williams on the side of the head, dropping the “Top Dog” to the canvas.

It marked the third time in his last seven fights that Williams had been put on his backside in the first round. However, the Fort Washington, Maryland, native not only beat the count, but began flashing his own power early in the second round as the southpaws threw one big bomb after another.

The power display continued into Round 3 when both fighters had their moments, with Stevenson staggering his 28-year-old opponent with a big left uppercut, and Williams answering back with a left uppercut-right cross combination that appeared to hurt the champion before the bell.

As he made his way to his corner, Williams had visible swelling over his left eyebrow that he seemed to intimate came from a headbutt, but referee Michael Griffin deemed it was the result of a punch. Regardless, with the way both fighters were unloading power shots, it seemed highly unlikely the bout would go the full 12 rounds.

Turns out it didn’t even go another full three minutes.

After Williams took a brief respite because of a low blow early in Round 4, Stevenson stepped up the pressure, landing both punishing body shots and head-snapping uppercuts. Bleeding from under his left eye, Williams tried to counter with big blows of his own, but wasn’t nearly as accurate as he was in Round 2.

Then as the fourth was winding down and both men were fighting in close—as they did for much of the final three rounds—Williams began to throw a left uppercut. However, Stevenson beat him to the punch, unleashing a short left cross that connected flush on the jaw of Williams, who immediately dropped to both knees, then crashed face-first to the canvas.

This time, Williams couldn’t make it to his feet, with the official ending coming at the 2:54 mark.

“The left hand, the knockout punch, it was there all night,” Stevenson said. “But I worked the body to get him to drop his right hand to expose himself more for my left hand, and that is how I was able to finish him off.”

With the knockout, Stevenson handed Williams his second professional defeat, secured his 16th stoppage in his last 18 victories and began looking forward to bigger and better things—specifically, the winner of an expected matchup later this year between an undefeated, former two-time 168-pound champion and an unbeaten 175-pound titleholder.

“I want to unify the titles,” Stevenson said. “So I want the winner of Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev, and nobody else, man.”

In other televised action, Eleider Alvarez (20-0, 10 KOs) of Montreal by way of Colombia punished New Zealand native Robert Berridge (27-5-1, 21 KOs) for 10 rounds, earning a lopsided unanimous decision in a 180-pound clash. Also, 160-pound prospects Immanuwel Aleem (16-0-1, 9 KOs) of Richmond, Virginia, and Demond Nicholson (17-1-1, 16 KOs) of Laurel, Maryland, fought to an eight-round majority draw.

For full coverage of Stevenson vs Williams, head over to our fight page.

Adonis Stevenson and Thomas Williams Jr.

Adonis Stevenson fires a left cross at the head of Thomas Williams Jr. on Friday night in Quebec City. Stevenson successfully defended his 175-pound title with a sensational fourth-round knockout. (Dave Nadkarni/Premier Boxing Champions)

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