Rising light heavyweight and 2012 U.S. Olympian Marcus Browne racked up his biggest win to date in his pro career, as the unbeaten New Yorker halted veteran contender Thomas Williams Jr. in the 6th round of their Showtime-televised opener Saturday evening at Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Browne scored two clean knockdowns - and one on the illegal side that nearly resulted in a disqualification - in picking up the win. The latter of the two knockdowns produced a 10-count from referee Ken Miner to bring an end to the bout at 0:42 of round six.
Getting to that point wasn't quite as simple. Browne wisely kept the fight at a distance early on, while Williams Jr. sought an opening to land a big shot on his younger foe. The power advantage that was believed to be heavily in Williams' favor gave way to Browne's natural physical attributes and skill set. It surfaced in round two, but also nearly produced an ugly end to the fight.
A stiff jab from Browne had Williams Jr. down on the canvas. The referee was slow to the draw in ruling a knockdown, prompting Browne to protect himself at all times. What followed was a calculated blow delivered while Williams Jr. was on a knee, absorbing a blow to the back of his head that put him down face-first on the canvas.
The foul negated the knockdown and the severity of the blow drew calls from fans in attendance and watching at home and live on Twitter for a disqualification ruling. The referee instead called for a one-point deduction from Browne's tally, while granting Williams Jr. five minutes to recover.
"It didn’t look like he went down, so I made sure he went down," Browne (19-0, 14KOs) told Showtime's Jim Grey after the bout. "He was trying to stand up so I pushed him down a little bit more. I didn’t see his glove on the floor.
Once action resumed, Browne remained in control for the most part. The first official knockdown of the night came in round four, with a dejected Williams Jr. grimacing as he took the mandatory eight count. To his credit, the DC-area light heavyweight battled back hard, absorbing a series of big shots and offering return fire late in the frame and at the start of round five.
Whatever momentum he believed he was enjoying turned out to be his last hurrah. Browne came out swinging in round six, dropping Williams Jr. for the full ten count to end the night and - for the moment - his opponent's chances of returning to the title picture anytime soon.
Compounding the loss was the fact that Williams Jr. (20-3, 14KOs) suffered a fractured jaw, thus rendering his unable for post-fight interviews. As he recovers from the wounds, he sits on back-to-back stoppage losses, having not fought since a valiant-in-defeat bid at World light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. The second-generation boxer - whose father was a TV-friendly heavyweight in his heyday - earned the title shot with a 2nd round knockout of Edwin Rodriguez in their brief-yet-thrilling Fox-televised shootout last April.
After Saturday's win, it is now the rising contender calling for his own title shot, along with the promise of an even better version of himself by then.
We were not 100 percent but we were 85 percent and we’ll gain the rest by the next performance," said Browne, who was far more impressive than his last outing, a controversial split decision win over Radivoje Kalazdjic last April. "I want Adonis Stevenson and I want that strap.”