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Cory Williams
 

Corey Williams

This is an in depth interview with American fighter Corey Williams. BBad Bulletin writer Andy Juby has excelled himself this time having spent 6 plus hours on the phone to the United States. Cory Williams. Jon P

I have been talking to Mr Corey Williams from America...and in part one of his interview, he tells us all about his early life and career in gloved boxing and MMA.

BBad Bulletin

Q: Hi Corey, thanks for talking to us. Could you start from the beginning by telling us about yourself and your background?

A: I was born in Fontana, California. At the age of eleven, my mother gave me and my younger brother up, and we then moved to an orphanage outside Chicago, where I grew up. That's where I got involve in sports. I played basketball, football and ran track in primary school. Then I went to college to play football, that's where I got into fighting.

Q: With all the other sports that you were participating in, what made you take up fighting as well?

A: Well, I had a black eye the whole time I grew up... me and my brother was the only white kids in our town it seemed. I got jumped everyday, so fighting in the street came natural- it was fight or die!

Q: What made you choose fighting above the other sports that you played?

A: I entered the NFL draft in my senior year, and went undeafted, I was picked up by an arena football team where I played two seasons at offense guard. When football didn't pan out, I went back to college to get a master's degree.

Q: How did you do at college?

A: I got two Batchelor degrees, one in history and one in kinesiology, and a master's in sports marketing and business law. Last year I finished my PhD in women's psychology.

Q: So what happened to a career in football? And how did you actually get your first taste of fighting as a sport?

A: I don't think I will ever fully understand why football didn't work. My little brother Keith was a huge fight fan, and he wanted to box. A friend at school told him about the Longmont Boxing Club in Longmont Colorado.... after class one day, I went down to check the place out and signed up me and my brother.

Q: How old were you both when you first signed up to Longmont?

A: I was twenty, and Keith was sixteen. It was the summer before I started playing pro football.

Q: So you were playing football and boxing at the same time...did you have any preference?

A: I love football, I was good at it, but I always loved hitting people lol!

Q: Ok, so how long did you box at Longmont and where did you go from there? Why did you leave?

A: I was there off and on for two years. I really didn't have any interest in competing, I just liked to hit the bags and got to spend time with my brother

Corey Williams BoxerOne night, I went to a local smoker ( for UK readers, a 'smoker' is roughly the American equivalent to our white collar events ) to watch Keith fight, and the Longmont coach matched me in a fight against an Olympic level amateur! I was mad as hell at him- I didn't even have a mouthpiece, no shorts, no cup, nothing, the only reason I weighed in was so I could get in for free I was a broke college student..... I was in the ring for the first time I had never even sparred- but my opponent had over 100 fights- I had no business in the ring with him!

The guy beat me up good too... but I didn't get knocked out, he definately gave me a boxing lesson though, I came to the corner at the end of the fight and told my coach I would pick him up at 6 in the morning, we were going to the gym, he tried talking me out of it, and told me to take a couple days off, I told him no!!! I wasn't gonna ever get embarrassed like that again and I didnt... I travelled all over the country taking every fight I could get and went to every gym I could to get work... in 2002 I won the college national championship at superheavyweight!

On June 26th 2002, just one month after I won my national title, my brother Keith passed away in a car wreck.

It was his dream to fight professionally not mine, he wanted to get involved in mma- I really had no interest in it, the idea of rolling around on the ground with a half naked man? I still don't find that appealing.

I promoted my first fight December 27th 2002 in Longmont on what would have been his 20th birthday, I had no idea what I was getting into but the State Golden Gloves wanted to give my mom an honorary championship belt in his memory, and I couldn't think of any better way of doing it then to hold an entire event in his honour.

Then in 2004, I qualified for the National Golden Gloves and the US Olympic trials for boxing. I lost in the quarter finals in the trials, and one month later signed a deal with Poor Boys pro boxing in Denver, Colorado, to become a professional boxer.

That was the hardest thing I think I've ever had to do- to realize my brothers' life long dream of becoming a professional fighter without him... the emotion was too much. In my first fight for Poor Boys, I dominated my opponent, Ray Masceranez, the first two rounds, and the referee stopped the fight between rounds because I was throwing up in the corner, I lost control of myself.

Q: I've done some research which shows that Jimmy Smith started Poor Boys in 1979. The man sure has some experience, so how did your pro boxing career turn out?

A: It started under Jimmy smith, yes sir, he's like a father to me. He would be the first to tell you that if I would train like I should, I could have been a top ten heavyweight fighter. As it was, I went on to compile a 15-11-6 record in pro boxing, ( boxrec only shows 4-10- that's not correct they are missing fights).

Q: Did turning pro benefit you financially?

A: Over the years I made more money as a sparing partner then I ever did fighting. I made more sparring because I didn't protect my record. I alway took the tougher fights, and my record never mattered to me- I just wanted to know in myself that it was real!

Q: Is it true that you sparred with Mike Tyson?

A: Yes, I worked with Tyson on two occasions.

Q: So you must have worked with a few other big names too?

A: I worked with Wladimir Klitschko, I knocked Shannon Briggs out in the gym twice in three days, and I spent most of my time in California with James Toney and Rampage Jackson.

Q: So in your opinion, who are the hardest hitters, both in Boxing and MMA?

A: In boxing, Lamon Brewster hits like a truck!!! I was hired for his rematch with Klitchko, and couldn't finish the three week camp... he sparred in 20 minute rounds, and I swear he hit harder in the fourth round then he did in the first four minutes of round one.... he closed both my eyes and broke my jaw- and that was sparring!

In MMA, Rampage Jackson is strong and has a good pop, but Shane Carwin is definitely the hardest hitter in all fight sports.

Corey Williams MMAQ: Talking of MMA, how did you get involved in it? You have already said that it doesn't really appeal to you, so what made you do it? And did you give up boxing or do both?

A: I did both at the same time. I started fighting in MMA when I promoted a show in Wyoming and had a bunch or fighters not show up- so rather the cancel the show I gave it a go!

Q: What happened?

A: I made it an eight man tourney to fill the card, which I won. And I will tell you something about that first MMA experience, I won all three fights, under MMA rules, wearing 10oz boxing gloves!

Q: So it was definitely your boxing skill that saw you through that tournament?

A: Oh yeah- I knocked out three guys! I've done six fights in a cage wearing boxing gloves instead of MMA gloves, and won five of them! It amazes me how little most MMA fighters can actually fight, you hit them in the mouth, they freak out and try to take you down- they want no part in it, I still believe a true boxer dominates an MMA fight, his use of angles is the key- you can't hit or take down what isn't in front of you

Q: So how did MMA pan out for you overall? How would you sum it up?

A: My last MMA fight was in 2010, when I avenged my first MMA loss. My professional mma record is 34 wins and 9 losses.

I've been to UFC twice, held 8 titles, including the "King of the Cage" heavyweight crown which I won in Bejing, China. The guy I fought in China was 7 feet four inches tall! I didn't think they grew Chinese that big- the top of my head didn't even reach his chin!

Q: How did you get the better of him?

A: Got him in an arm lock and he tapped in round one!

Q: Is that why they nicknamed you 'The Whizz Kid' then, because you finished them off quickly?

A: No! The name comes from my old boxing coach, Don "Lucky" Wisner. He's in the rodeo hall of fame as a rodeo clown but road bare back as well. He's the only rider on record to ever successfully ride an American buffalo!

The nick name started as a joke... I was his right hand man, with kids program, with everything... I was at his side until he died in 2005, I've not stepped foot in a gym since.

I'm "The Wiz Kid" old Don Whisner's protege!!! The name has stuck over the years because of my ability to adapt during a fight or sparring... I'm a student, I can physically mimic any fighter I've ever seen, nearly to the point skill level even, granted I don't have Klitchko's reach, but I can give you his style and his train of thought in a ring perfectly. Styles make fights...for example, Evander Holyfield ain't good against guys who use a lot of movement- I've actually signed a contract to fight him TWICE, and they dropped the fight both times. I spent two years in camp with James Toney- that guy is an amazing competitor. I see myself as the white James Toney.

No one will ever replace Don. I will retire with him in my corner and only him.

Q: But you have retired from both boxing and MMA? What has made you stop?

A: I was forced into an early retirement by USA government agency called the "Association of Boxing Commissions". They suspended me from fighting for life for reasons outside the ring which I will not go in to. ( The ABC is the USA version of the BBCB ), That suspension was lifted last year and I have been cleared to return to the ring. Watch out UFC, the Wiz Kid is making a come back Bare Knuckle Style!!!

Corey WilliamsQ: Well now we know a lot more about you Corey, can you tell us how and when you got into bare knuckle fighting?

A: I did my first official bkb fight in Nebraska in 2007. Had a guy running his mouth at weigh ins, so I talked the commissioner into letting me fight him, it was the commissions idea to do it without gloves under kick boxing rules! It was a bloody mess, I cut that guy up bad, beat him so bad they took him to the hospital for observation overnight. Valuable lesson learned, elbows, knees and kicks without gloves on top of it is a BAD idea!!!

I shouldn't have agreed to kick boxing rules- that set my chances of getting it legally regulated back a long way. But I was hooked, there's nothing like an old school bare fisted brawl!

Q: So that gave you a taste for for bareknuckle......where did you go from there?

A: At that point I knew very little about the history of bkb... I knew that's where boxing came from but other then that I had very little knowledge on the subject

Q: But you loved the concept......then learnt it had history?

A: Over the next few years I did bkb fights on MMA and boxing shows anytime I could talk the commission into allowing it lol! In 2009, I really began to study the history of the sport... I had been in front of several city councils over the years for MMA which was still trying to survive In the mainstream, and that's really where my interest peaked for bkb.

Q: It's certainly the most raw form of fighting sport....in the UK, it's fairly simple, the sport is accepted in it's current form by most councils and the police. I understand that a huge problem in the States is the difference in Interstate law? What have they got against it?

A: In the USA there is a social perception, the idea that gloves are safest is burnt into the minds of the public now, and to change that is fighting against social ideals, which it tough to overcome.

Q: Do you think that will happen, overcoming the stigma that many associate with bareknuckle fighting today?

A: In 2010, after spending nearly nine months in jail over an event I did with Tommy "The Duke" Morrison, I shut my company down to restructure and focus! I set out to find the one thing in the sport that could change it forever and that's when I ran across an newspaper article dated October 8th 1877 that explained how much more entertaining these glove exhibitions were than traditional bare knuckle boxing, that "any common man could now find success in the ring". I am definately a student of all fight sports, and it was in that article that I found my attack on society. I put together a very in depth, but private, study on the use of gloves vs bare knuckle... and following the conclusion of the study, it was just a matter of finding the right opportunity to expose the public to modern bkb. That opportunity came to me on May 2nd 2014 in Riverton, Wyoming.

Q: What happened?

A: I held the first full show under my modern bkb rules! We had eight bouts, seven of them were gloved, and one completely bare knuckle.... it was my chance to introduce to the state commission what my studies taught me... the event was a HUGE success! We sold out but more than that, I gained the support of the City and State in proceeding with future development of the sport.

Q: How does that leave things at the moment for bkb in America?

A: Well it will eventually win over the publics' perception of the sport, but as it stands at the moment, gloves are still good. Only gloved fights are regulated on a Federal level. The UFC made it harder for me by agreeing to gloves. Bkb is left to the individual States to regulate, however, the Federal regulators still have a lot of influence with States.

Corey WilliamsQ: What about potential fighters, is there plenty of interest in taking fights on a bareknuckle event?

A: I get 20 or more calls a day from guys all over America wanting to fight bare knuckle. I've not had a single bkb fight end by true knockout, yet have had three guys knocked stupid with gloves.

Q: So you have to convince everybody who thinks that gloves make fighting safer that bkb is not as dangerous as boxing?

A: That's where my medical study comes in play. There are 5 times the injuries in gloved boxing then in bare knuckle. And I have a modern medical study to prove it.
That's why I have not been shut down- with the medical documentation that I have, there is no justification.

If I approach it as a whole new sport it isolates it from the existing boxing rules and regulations. That's why it's bare knuckle FIGHTING not boxing When you start looking at it closely it's really common sense.

Medically, I got the bases covered. Now it's a matter of social and economical impact... this summer I report my findings, and if accepted, I have some major plans for bkb.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the BKF?

A: The chain of events that lead to the creation of the BKF is long and complicated, but the bottom line is that the BKF is our independent sanctioning body like the WBC or IBF... it's a private company, run by appointed officials that have no connection to a promotion, fighters, or even a great deal of experience in the sport. It's set up that way so they are impartial in every way. They certify that we follow the rules and standards as prescribed by federal and local law as well as promote the healthy growth of the sport... I organized the BKF legally and turned its operation of to a completely impartial party to run. This is part of the check and balance system that allows us to operate.

Q: So are your rules accepted nationwide?

A: It's up to each State if they allow it, if they do, the BKF is the legitimate and independent sanctioning body wherever an event takes place.

Q: How will that work in the UK- if you came to fight on English soil, what rules would you follow?

A: There's a couple things I would approach differently over there definately, but without being the one in front of Parliament, it's hard to say what they would find acceptable.

Q: What would you change?

A: I believe having rounds are a BAD idea. Rounds were created because the most exciting and appealing part of a fight is the start of it... fighters are full of excitement so they come out fast and attack while they are fresh... rounds were added to recreate that excitement, it allows the fighters to recover and recharge so that they can recreate that excitement as closely as possible. It's also a means for an end, as fighters become more skilled, they they become careful of the chances they take which prolongs the bout.

As radio and TV came into use, they needed a means to end the bouts that would give fans resolve before the show was over.... the same reason gloves were added. it meant you needed less skill as you could hit anywhere on the body without risking a broken hand. This promoted more head shots, which in turn increased the number of dramatic knock outs and increased the excitement of the bouts... the more excitement, the more fans- the more fans, the more money for the promoter! It might interest you that on most of my events, on average, gloved fights are 42 seconds shorter than bare knuckles!

You have to look long and hard to find those facts but they're out there.

Q: But in spite of that, you would be prepared to come to the UK if the opportunity arose?

A: I had a very long visit with Jim and Aaron while they were here, both me and my beautiful Mrs, Creek Robinson

Q: Aaron and Jim have said you had a good chat and some exciting prospects were discussed?

A: Yes, and Aaron delivered a respectful challenge by one of your Bbad fighters wishing to test himself against me

Q: Did you accept the challenge?

A: There's no fights online that really do me justice as to my skill level, I held two minor world titles in gloved boxing, was ranked as high as 16th in the world by the IBF at one point and that was without training... I've not been in a gym regularly since 2005! I've got 14 professional gloved championships in boxing, kick boxing, and MMA... I respect the pride your fans have in your fighters but come on... I've seen 5 or 6 of the challenger's fights online, if he wants a shot at me,he's got it! I hope he takes it as serious as I am, because I have no intention of losing this fight! Have you seen james Toney fight? I am the white James Toney!

Q: Would it be over here or in USA?

A: Let's just say that I am working on visas to put a team together to visit the UK

Q: Well that would be unbelievable.....would titles be on the line, and would they have to be created?

A: There are a few fighters that I have in mind to bring over, but at this point, discussions are at a preliminary stage.

Q: I will leave it up to Aaron to disclose the details of the challenge that you received, when he is ready, but if you could choose any of the bouts on a transatlantic card, what would you like to see?

A: I want to fight Ferry... I would retire for good if he beat me, I give him 90 seconds. I've beaten two dozen guys just like him... him and Justin Wrede are mirrors of one another, that would be a good measure for him. No disrespect to what Michael Ferry has accomplished, but even at the end of my career, as I am, I don't see him surviving me. I truly believe that I am the man to beat in bkb right now.

Q: Are there any other UK vs USA fights that you would like to see?

A: I'd like to see Billy Martin fight Ross Chittock. 4-1 vs 4-0 I think is a good matchup. I've seen three of Chittock's fights, he seems to have a big punch and definately looks the part.

Q: We have a good man making his bkb and Bbad debut against Craig Amer in May, Jon 'Chopper' Stone. Chopper fights MMA too, you might find him interesting. Have you seen any of his fights?

A: I've seen Chopper, he's fun to watch! I'm disappointed in Craig, I expected more from him a few weeks ago.....maybe he was just unlucky. I've seen him live, we've been on the same card with K-1, I didn't expect him to lay down like that.

Q: Nobody did- he couldn't breathe- I was ringside, and the punch was heard all over the venue. Who in the world would you say presents you with the biggest challenge then- what bkb fight would you love to take?

A: Amongst current fighters there's no one that interests me really... I joked around with WBC champ Wilder about BKF he's down I think- he might give it a go just for the experience....

Q: But there must be at least one dream fight that you would love to take?

A: I begged Dana White to let me fight Brock Lesner when he went to MMA... he wasn't having it, that was their golden boy! I wrestled against him in high school at university of Michigan wrestling camp and lost 3 to 2 in the camp finals... I want another go at him with hands!

Q: Let's hope that happens lol, one to watch.....before we finish, could I ask you something that I have been curious about- the 'ring' that I have seen that you use is just basically four posts joined by barriers. Could you please tell us a bit about it?

A: I call it what it is, a Pig Pen! I got the idea for my ring from my pig pens lol- I was feeding my pigs and said huh... well alright then I like it!!! The fans dig it! Boxing people freak when they see it- it's kinda funny! They think it's unsafe that it won't work one they see the show they change their tune... it's very effective!

And that's a wrap, Fight Fans! Huge thanks to Corey Williams for his time, and we wish him all the success in the world ( literally ), with all the work that he is doing for the sport of bare knuckle fighting. We will very soon be talking to Corey's wife and business partner, the beautiful Creek Robinson.

Ok Fight fans. that's part one.....in part two, Mr Williams tells us all about his take on bare knuckle fighting, his plans for the future, plans for the UK,and who he wants to fight from the Bbad stable!  Watch this space!


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