Sunday, June 17, 2001

Austin, Williams win KOs

By By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tim Austin celebrates with family and friends.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        Cincinnatians Tim Austin and Ricardo Williams Jr. each scored technical knockouts before 2,600 fans Saturday night at Cintas Center.

        Each rocked their opponents with solid lefts to the chin, knocking them down, Austin's in the sixth round and Williams' in the third round.

        It was Austin's seventh title defense as the International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion, his first in Cincinnati. Austin seeks to unify the title, and he said his next fight will be in China in August against an unspecified opponent.

        Williams (3-0-1) and his convincing victory over John Lopez (6-5) sparked talk about an eventual fight against the man who beat him in the Olympic gold medal match last September in Sydney, Muhamad Abdullaev of Uzbekistan.

        Austin landed solid lefts to the head of Steve Dotse (18-4-2) and softened him up with consistent body shots throughout. Austin (23-0-1) was faster, stronger and much more accurate with his punches.

        “He was stronger than I thought, but I was able to land a lot of punches,” Austin said. “I was not disappointed by the crowd because I was here to do my job, which was win the fight.”

        Williams also outclassed his opponent.

        “I could tell the way I was landing my jab early in the first round that I was quicker to the punch than him and that it was going to be a good night,” Williams said.

        Williams landed combinations at will during the fight, especially in the third round when the corner men for Lopez threw in the towel.

        “In a fight like this, you just want to make sure you don't get caught by a big punch,” Williams said. “In front of the hometown crowd, you don't want to get caught up in the excitement and punch yourself out.

        “You just have to hold back a little bit.”

        Williams was ducking a punch and threw his own left hand when he caught Lopez right on the chin, knocking him down.

        “As I threw my punch, I was slipping away from him to make sure I didn't get hit, and when I looked around, he was on the mat,” Williams said.

        Lou DiBella, who is Williams' matchmaker, said it was the best he has seen Williams look as a pro. DiBella said Williams will co-headline an HBO fight in Little Rock, Ark., this summer.

        “I'm really looking forward to that fight because the star of the show is my Olympic teammate, Jermain Taylor, who is from Little Rock,” Williams said.

        IBF junior bantamweight champion Felix Machado retained his title in a 12-round unanimous decision over challenger Mauricio Pastrana.

        Ringside at Williams' fight was his first cousin, Jason Cornelius, 24, who was shot in the head four weeks ago. He had confronted some young men who he believed had broken into Williams' Lexus in Winton Terrace last month.

        “I dedicated this fight to Jason, who is my best friend,” Williams said. “I wanted to cancel the fight, but Jason told me that he wanted me to get in the ring and take care of business. So that's what I did.”

        The bullet entered Cornelius' head a quarter-inch in front of his right earlobe and exited a quarter-inch in front of his left earlobe.

        “God was with me, and that's why I wanted Ric to fight this fight,” Cornelius said. “Somehow that bullet passed behind my eyes but in front of my brain. It fractured my jaw and affected my breathing, but otherwise I'm going to be fine.”

        At one point late in the second round, while in a clinch with Lopez, Williams winked at Cornelius, who was delighted to see that Ricardo was thinking about him.

        In the break-in of Williams' car, three TV sets were stolen.

        “I'm not worried about the car or the TV sets,” Williams said. “That was a dark day and this is a bright night. Everything happens for a reason and I'm thrilled I was able to win this fight for Jason.”

        Promoters blamed the sparse crowd on competition from the Outback Steakhouse 300 at Kentucky Speedway and the Reds game at Cinergy Field.


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