LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
London’s Jason “Ironhorse” Williams will defend his Kentucky Light Heavyweight title in a boxing match June 18 in Corbin. It will be his first title defense since knocking out Dennis Ogboo for the belt in March.
Dennis Page promotes Williams and is also president and founder of the Greg Page Foundation, a non-profit organization to aid those with disabilities. It has been a little over a year since his brother, Greg Page, died from complications resulting from injuries suffered in his final bout a decade ago.
“One of the things Greg wanted to do when he asked me to get involved with this was to promote boxing throughout Kentucky, not just in Louisville,” Page said. “That works hand in hand with what our commitment is to Jason.”
The commitment Page speaks of is that Williams will fight in his home community. Greg Page was from Louisville, but felt boxing should be viewed statewide. Everyone in the state should have an opportunity to see their state champion, which led to the June fight in Corbin.
“The idea is to get a fan base for Jason established so that when he starts fighting for the bigger titles he will have a fan base to pull from. The goal is to eventually bring one of those big fights here to the Corbin-London area,” Page said.
Fights are scheduled in June, July, August, and September in Corbin. The cards are not set for those fights, other than Williams will be fighting someone for the state title. There will also be other local fighters on the June card. These include Shane Steel, Lester Partin, and Jimmy Haynes. All three are local fighters as well.
Page describes Steel, from Corbin, as a skilled fighter with a 7-1 record.
“He should be further down the road than he is. He’s just been taking his time,” Page said. “If you have a family, a lot of guys don’t have the flexibility to go to a Louisville or got to a Tennessee all the time to work and to train.”
Partin, also from Corbin, will be making his pro boxing debut. He has won a couple of Toughman contests in Tennessee and boasts a solid amateur record.
Haynes, a Williamsburg native, is making a return to the ring after a couple of years off.
“Jimmy has fought everybody,” boxing coach John Foust said.
Haynes’ opponents include current WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, who landed a second-round knockout. Haynes also fought another heavyweight champ in Ray Mercer.
But the main bout in Corbin will be Williams’ title fight. Who Williams fights will be determined on what his team wants him to get from the fight.
“Our plan with Jason is to prepare him for a WBF championship. That’s our next goal. All of the fighters are gauged on what (coach) John (Foust) wants. They are stepping stones,” Page said.
Williams knocked out Ogboo in the fourth round of their title fight in Louisville.
“That was the coach’s plan. Coach predicted it, but we were ready to go eight rounds,” Williams said. “He had all the tools, but coach had a game plan. He said if we just stuck to our game plan he would walk right into something.”
Foust had watched Ogboo’s previous fight against Dereco Murray and knew what to expect.
“You have to prepare for the guy you are fighting and we had seen him enough. He’s a tough guy and durable,” Foust said. “We just kept working with him and he worked his way right into a punch.”
Williams said he looks forward to taking his 7-2 record and state title before a home crowd. The fight will be held at the Corbin Civic Center and should provide a better home crowd than fights in Louisville.
“We’ll have anywhere from 25 to 75 people come to Louisville and watch us,” Williams said. “It’s just like Kentucky playing at Rupp Arena. It helps you push through whatever you need to do.”
One of Williams’ biggest fans is his daughter Jasey, who he says wants to stay in the corner with the coach. His wife, Carla, is also a fan, but as an occupational therapist does have some reservations.
“She’s real supportive, but she doesn’t like it,” Williams said. “She’s one of those people, if you’re going to do it, do it right.”
There will be eight to 10 fights on the card June 18, titled The Hilltop Throwdown. Corbin Civic Center is located on Gordon Hill. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the first fight at 8 p.m.
“They’ll be exciting fights. It will be a good show,” Williams said.
Mitch Howard can be reached at email@example.com.