The goal of keeping fight cards perfectly pieced together during a global pandemic has proven to be as difficult as one would have imagined as boxing slowly works it way back into the world. Premier Boxing Champions was preparing for its return to action on Showtime Championship Boxing, but was tossed a curveball when the planned main event for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title between Stephen Fulton Jr. and Angelo Leo fell apart after Fulton tested positive for COVID-19.
It's always good to have a backup plan, however, and PBC was able to pull Tramaine Williams (19-0, 6 KOs) from a featured undercard spot to face Leo (19-0, 9 KO) on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Showtime) for the vacant belt. Williams was set to face Ra'eese Aleem (16-0, 10 KO) in a bout that may have positioned the winner for a shot at the Leo vs. Fulton winner. In the continuing tumble of the dominoes, Aleem will now face Marcus Bates (11-1-1, 8 KO) -- who accepted the short-notice fight and whose lone loss was to Aleem -- for what has now been deemed a title eliminator.
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While Leo will be the favorite against Williams, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. Fulton is an orthodox fighter while Williams is a southpaw who relies on slick boxing. Without much time to plan for the change in opponent and style, Leo says he's simply ready to go out and pick up a world championship.
"I watched a few films on him [Wednesday] night," Leo said on a Showtime media call. "He's a good fighter. He's a slick fighter. You know, it's gonna be an interesting fight. Styles, they're contrasting. So yeah, that's about it. You know, I seen a little bit of film on him, and pretty much got the gist of him. … I feel like, you know, this fight is gonna be the same outcome [as a fight against Fulton]. He does like to fight on the inside a little bit more. If he wants to box, we can do that, too. Whatever it takes to get the 'W,' you know, I'm ready. I'm in the best shape of my life, like I said, and I'm ready for whoever."
On the same call, Williams brushed off the idea that facing Leo was a big step up from the planned fight with Aleem, saying, "He's a sharper fighter than Aleem. It looks like he has more experience as well. And that's about it."
Leo vs. Williams card
Vacant WBO super bantamweight title
The switch to facing a southpaw is a big red flag for Leo coming into the fight. Williams is a legitimate fighter and is not taking this fight without preparation, given he was already set to fight Aleem on the card. With neither man carrying serious stopping power, it could become a nip-and-tuck battle where every landed punch counts extra. On the strength of the stylistic change, it seems like a solid night for Williams to get things done in this battle of unbeatens. Pick: Williams via UD