Tramaine Williams stands between Elijah Pierce and junior featherweight contention

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by Francisco Salazar | 

Elijah Pierce is a win away from becoming a legit contender at 122 pounds. That win will have to be against a fighter who fought for a world title belt.

Pierce will face Tramaine Williams Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The 10-round bout, with a regional title belt on the line, will headline a CES Boxing card and will Spectation Sports (7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT).

At Friday’s weigh-in, Pierce weighed in at 116.5 pounds. Williams weighed three pounds over the contracted weight of 122 pounds. Williams did not make weight on his second attempt. Williams was fined $1,000 for each pound for a total of $3,000, which was added to Pierce’s purse. 

The clash between the hard-hitting Pierce (16-2, 14 knockouts) and Williams is a compelling fight between southpaws. The winner would become a major player in a very competitive division.

The 26-year-old, who resides in Midwest City, Oklahoma, last fought on November 19, stopping Juan Carlos Pena of the Dominican Republic in the second round. The win over Pena took place five weeks after Pierce knocked out Daron Williams, also in the second round.

Pierce has won his last seven fights since a debatable majority decision loss to Sulaiman Segawa in September 2019. 

His resurgence in recent months has built momentum to arrive at this point of his career. Pierce faces a talented fighter in Williams (20-1, 6 KOs), who resides in nearby New Haven and fought for the vacant WBO world junior featherweight title in August 2020, losing by unanimous decision to Angelo Leo. 

Despite the setback against Segawa, Pierce’s team believes he has improved and can come out victorious Saturday night.

“This is the biggest fight of Elijah’s career and he’s more than ready to take advantage of the opportunity,” Trifon Petrov, who co-manages Pierce with Jessie Tanksley, told The Ring Friday morning. “I’m extremely confident that he’ll get a stoppage (win) over Tramaine Williams and put the division on notice.”

Tony Jeter, who promotes Pierce, added, “This is Elijah Pierce’s time to shine (and) show the world what he’s made of.”

The 30-year-old Williams defeated Jetro Pabustan by unanimous decision in his last bout on August 12. It was his first fight since the loss to Leo.

In the co-feature, junior middleweight Chordale Booker of nearby Stamford will square off Daniel Aduku in an eight-round bout.

Booker (18-1, 7 KOs), an amateur standout, defeated Angel Hernandez by unanimous decision in his last bout on January 21. The win came almost nine months after Booker was stopped in the opening round by Austin Williams in a clash of unbeaten fighters. 

Aduku (15-2-1, 11 KOs) won by knockout after the end of round 5, stopping Kofi Manu. Aduku, who resides in Accra, Ghana, has won his last five bouts since losing to Justice Addy in August 2018. 

Hard-hitting welterweight Anthony Velazquez (12-0, 11 KOs) of Springfield, Massachusetts will face off against Los Angeles’ Rashid Stevens (6-1-1, 5 KOs) in a six-round bout. 

Carlos Vanegas Nunez (6-0, 5 KOs) of Port Chester, New York will square off against Dominique Griffin (4-3-2, 2 KOs) of Irving, Texas in a six-round bantamweight bout. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]



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