Williams aims to seize ‘bittersweet’ opportunity

Tramaine Williams is aiming to make the most of a last minute world title opportunity after stepping in to face Angelo Leo for the vacant WBO super-bantamweight title at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut on Saturday.

After main event fighter Stephen Fulton tested positive for Covid-19, Williams was upgraded from an undercard spot against Ra’eese Aleem into an unlikely world championship bid. He feels sympathy for Fulton, but believes this will be his moment.

“When I got the news that I would be stepping up the main event, it was bittersweet,” said Williams (19-0, 6 KOs). “It was bitter because Stephen Fulton prepared eight weeks to fight for a world title. He’s been dreaming of that his whole life and he didn’t get that opportunity so my heart goes out to him. It was sweet on my end because I get to fight for a world title and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do my whole life.

“About a year ago, I started [to look at the] top-five or top-ten fighters I had on notice. I always paid attention to all of the fighters in my weight class. I’ve been prepared for the chance to face Leo for a while. I’ve had my eye on all of these guys for a year and some change now. It’s not like he’s a random opponent for me, I’ve had my eye on him.”

For his part, Mayweather Promotions fighter Leo feels more than capable of dealing with a sudden change of opponent in the most unusual of circumstances.

“These things happen in boxing, so you just have to stay focused and prepared for anything,” said Albuquerque’s Leo (19-0, 9 KOs). “Luckily, Tramaine isn’t too much of a different fighter from Fulton. He’s got [a] similar style, the only difference is he’s southpaw. We’ll make some small adjustments but I’m in shape for whoever. I’m in the best shape of my life and once I get in that ring, I’ll make the necessary adjustments.

“I definitely want to paint a Picasso-like painting for the fans on Saturday night. Something really nice. I want to leave the fans happy with a great performance and I want them to know who the real Angelo Leo is.”

Williams-Leo will be broadcast live on Showtime in the US on Saturday (9pm ET, 6pm PT).