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Williams defeats Leon in first round in Florida fight

6/27/2008

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.-- Ricardo Williams Jr. needed only
one round Friday night in his first fight since his release from
prison this year.

The 27-year-old Williams, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist who
served a three-year sentence for a cocaine distribution conviction,
stopped Sebastian Hamel at 1:31 of their welterweight bout at War
Memorial Auditorium.

"It's been a big learning experience," Williams said. "I made
a lot of stupid decisions. I'm glad God gave me a second chance."

Williams (11-2), of Cincinnati, immediately showed his
superiority over an outclassed Hamel (9-14-1). He landed stiff
right jabs to the head and follow up lefts.

Midway through the round, Williams caught Hamel with a right and
fight-finishing left to the chin. Hamel fell hard to the canvas and
referee Jorge Alonso immediately stopped the fight.

Hamel eventually reached his feet and before leaving the ring,
lifted Williams in congratulating his opponent's victory.

Williams was tabbed for stardom after his silver-medal winning
performance in the Sydney Olympics. But his arrest and eventual
conviction 12 fights into his professional career halted his title
hopes.

"Today was my boxing debut," Williams said. "As long as I've
been fighting, which is more than 300 amateur and 12 professional
fights, this is as nervous as I've been for a fight."

Williams weighed in at 145 pounds, a pound more than Hamel.