This Friday, March 25th at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma 13-1 Super Welterweight prospect Justin DeLoach takes to the ring to face undefeated 16-0 Dillon Cook in one of the feature fights set to air on Showtime.
At 22 years old, the Augusta, Georgia native DeLoach is coming off a win this past December in a fight that saw him take out the experienced Santos Benavides of Nicaragua, who had a 25-8-2 overall record heading into the fight. Despite the “0” in the loss column, Cook has only fought one fighter with a winning record in his entire career. The combined record of his opponents is 76-162-12 so look for Deloach to enter the fight favored at the books.
DeLoach has a lot of inspiration heading into this fight, as he is being coached by former 2 weight class World Champion and fellow Augusta native Paul Williams.
The presence of Williams on DeLoach's team marks the first time the former champion has been back around professional boxing since the tragic May of 2012 motorcycle accident that left him wheel-chair bound, paralyzed from the waist down.
In a sport replete with tragedies, Williams' story definitely qualifies as such. In May of 2012 Paul Williams was a fighter on the verge of the big-time. Sporting a gaudy 41-2 record, Williams was preparing for his PPV debut, which was scheduled for that September against “Canelo” Alvarez.
On May 27th however, Williams was riding his motorcycle when he swerved to avoid a car and crashed. His body was sent flying more than a dozen meters, and he landed head first, folding his body like a “suitcase” and damaging his spinal chord. Though there is hope that he may one day walk again, Williams is still in a wheel chair. The talk of overcoming the injury and boxing again has died down over the years and Williams has faced the physical and psychological challenges largely out of the public eye.
Coming up on four years since the accident, Williams has been working as a trainer with DeLoach, passing on the knowledge he may no longer be able to use himself. It is a role that may have been hard to accept, but Williams has taken to it quite well. Everyone who knows Williams talks about the jokester and the vibrant personality he always brought to the table. There were times in the past four years where he said himself “he had to have conversations with God” about what he was going to do with his life. As he settles into his role as a trainer, he may have gotten his answer.
For his part, DeLoach has been boxing since he was a kid, and throughout the early part of his career he was trained by Ronnie Shields, one of the most prominent and respected trainers in boxing. But DeLoach wanted a more personal touch, as Shields was spread thin working with his stable of fighters.
Enter Williams. The two shared a lot in common, and DeLoach certainly knew and respected Williams, who is about a dozen years older. When he was young, Williams is said to have been reluctant to box, not enjoying the sport that he was such a natural at. Now, when it was all almost taken away from him, Williams cannot just stay away and when asked, he accepted the task of taking DeLoach under his wing.
Come this Friday night on Showtime, Justin DeLoach faces the first 8 round bout of his career with Paul Williams in his corner. It is feel good stories like this that Boxing just doesn't seem to have enough of.