"Shake 'em Down" Williams, a 5'5" policewoman from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada is a fine example
of the new breed of women boxers who step into the professional boxing ring
after first getting a thorough schooling in the fundamentals as amateurs. Kathy is a two-time Canadian
national amateur champion who also represented her country in international
tournaments in Sweden and Finland.
Kathy was born on 8 September 1967 and grew up in Montreal,
Quebec. She attended Bishop's University where she graduated
with a Bachelor of Arts (double major in Business and Psychology and a minor in French).
She began her boxing training at age 11, at a sports camp, when she was living in Montreal.
She discovered that she really enjoyed it and continued for three years, but she quit because
"there wasn't much women's boxing happening at that time". Her interest in competing was rekindled in 1993
while she was attending police college and saw a boxing and kickboxing show
that included two women. "I was watching them thinking I could beat them" she says.
When she returned to Thunder Bay, she called up Tony Pimentel, the trainer she has been
with ever since. At that time there was only one other female at his Doggs Gym, so she
sparred mostly with men. Kathy says they were very supportive when she started, and
were always giving her tips and pointers.
She had her first amateur bout in Cambridge, Minnesota in May 1994.
She went on to win Ontario Provincial titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996 and Canadian national
titles in 1995 and 1996. Her winning performance in the first women's nationals in Canada
got her into the Canadian edition of Sports Illustrated, and won her an award for best
prospect at the tournament.
She fought as an amateur in Minnesota again in May 1996. In May 1997 she was on the
Canadian national women's team that competed in Sweden and Finland. The Canadian
boxers won both of these dual meets and Kathy won both of her bouts. She defeated
Erika Långström of Sweden 8-6, and also won an award for
best Canadian boxer.
Kathy was joined at Doggs Gym in Thunder Bay by Tracey Stevens, who also competed as an amateur
before turning to professional boxing. Kathy told me they were the only girls in the gym for
three years but were joined in 1997 by Katie Burton and two other female amateurs.
Kathy says the gym is a close knit club who do lots of activities together,
which makes it easier in the gym where they all spar together. Trainer Tony
Pimentel is also the Canadian national team coach.
By 1998 Kathy had compiled a 25-6 record and had no mountains left
to climb as an amateur boxer as Olympic boxing seemed a
long way off. "I love the sport and just want to keep competing", she says,
adding "at my age and not knowing when Olympic
women’s boxing would become sanctioned, turning professional was the best option for me."
It was time for her to enter the pro boxing ring!
Her pro career began with a return to Minnesota,
where she TKO'd Jamie Blair in the second round in Minneapolis on July 31, 1998.
Kathy's second fight
live on ESPN, in Atlantic City on September 11, 1998.
She easily defeated Jayla Ortiz of Santa Fe, New Mexico by a six-round unanimous
decision. Ortiz, who had no answer for Kathy's reach advantage, fell to
3-4-2 with 3 KO's in a fight that was totally dominated by Kathy.
Kathy's first two professional opponents had not been stiff competition.
But that changed in her third pro fight. Kathy faced
former IFBA bantamweight champion Yvonne Trevino
for a Miller Time Texas Championship at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio on November 17, 1998.
A crowd of 1836 saw
Kathy use her superior ring generalship, hand speed and movement to score a convincing six-round unanimous (60-54, 59-55, 59-55) decision
in a fight where she put Trevino on the canvas twice,
at the end of the 3rd and midway through the 5th round.
Kathy suffered a slight cut in the
fifth round from an accidental head butt but used her ring skills
to handle Yvonne's pressure and earn the clear decision in
front of a highly appreciative crowd. The crowd was on its feet throughout the
contest and the bout stole the show on the otherwise all-male card.
[See Kathy's own account
of this exciting fight.]
Kathy stated after the bout that being relaxed for the fight and
maintaining her cool even when Yvonne stepped up the pressure were the
keys to allowing her to distance and then to use her deceptive punching
power to offset Yvonne's superior professional experience.
"With Kathy being a lefty, I
knew she had good skills and the experience to take on a fighter like
Trevino," Kathy's trainer Tony Pimentel said. "A fighter like Yvonne was made for
Kathy, because they both had very similar styles of fighting and both of
them are very aggressive. It was more than 50-50, and Kathy was
"A fight like this was very good experience for us, especially to fight
and to win," Williams said.
On February 27, 1999 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washingon,
a capacity crowd of 1400 saw Kathy take a four-round unanimous decision over
Tawayna Broxton (118½ lbs) of Forest Park, Georgia, who fell to 1-8.
On March 25, 1999 at the Jacob Brown Auditorium in Brownsville, Texas,
Kathy weighed in at 113 lbs and won a first-round TKO over
Maribel Ocasio Soto (110 lbs) of Puerto Rico.
Kathy spent most of the first round chasing Soto),
connecting on a solid overhand combination to the head and peppering
her with shots to the midsection. After the round was over, Soto returned
to her corner but was unable to answer the bell for the second round.
Soto fell to 3-6 with this loss.
On April 8, 1999 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada,
Kathy TKO'd Donyale Williams of Ashtabula, Ohio at 1:40 in the first round.
The American was knocked down twice in the round, leading to the
On May 2, 1999 at the Day's Inn and
Conference Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Kathy lost a 4-round
decision to Jamillia Lawrence of Atlantic City, who moved her pro record
to 3-0 with the win.
On June 24, 1999 at the Arena in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Kathy weighed in at 115 lbs and won a six-round unanimous
decision over Suzanne Riccio-Major (also 115 lbs) of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The first three
rounds were a tight battle, until Williams began to have success using her hand speed to catch Riccio-Major coming in.
Kathy began to find the range in the last three rounds, and buckled Suzanne's knees just before the final bell. (The
result matched the prediction by the 95 visitors who took our Women's Boxing Page poll: 53% said Kathy on points, 33%
Kathy by KO ... only 12% called the fight for Suzanne, but it was closer than this in the ring!) The win earned Williams
a North American Professional Boxing Council junior bantamweight trophy and dropped Riccio-Major's record to 6-7-1. (See
Kathy's own view of this fight!)
On July 22 in Dallas, Texas, Kathy was set to defend her Miller Light Texas State Championship in a rematch with Yvonne Trevino (8-4-1) but Yvonne suffered a broken nose and had to cancel just four days before
the bout. The promoter found a substitute at 2 a.m. on the day of the fight, but Angel Brown of Cleveland, Ohio was out
of her league ... she came in with a 0-2 record and was TKO'd at 0:15 of the first round.
On August 14, 1999 in Sturgis, South Dakota she won a hard fought 10-round unanimous decision over Albuquerque, New
Mexico's Brenda Burnside for a "Great Northern" title. Kathy's well-honed boxing skills and
reach advantage were more than a match for Burnside's charging style in the early rounds, but Burnside came on strongly
in the late going and gave the Canadian star all she could handle on the inside. Burnside fell to 5-8-2 (but her record
is deceptive as she has taken on only top-flight opponents this year).
On November 18, 1999 at the Radisson Astrodome in Houston, Texas, Kathy advanced to 10-1 with an eight-round
unanimous decision over Jamillia Lawrence of Atlantic City, who fell to 3-2. The judges scores were 77-75, 78-74, 78-74
for Williams after a defensive bout with both staying on the outside and boxing. Kathy told us "I started off slow but
after the third round got into my rhythm. As the bout went on I felt stronger ... I was happy that I won but not as happy
with my performance as I could have been. I felt that some of the stuff I had been working on in the gym I didn't do, but
there were some I did." This win avenged Kathy's only pro loss, the four-round decision that she dropped to Lawrence in
On February 5, 2000
at the Rhein-Rhur-Halle in Duisberg, Germany, Kathy weighed in at 115 lbs and challenged Bulgaria's
Daisy Lang (115 lbs) for the WIBF Junior Bantamweight title Lang won by a 97-95, 98-91 and 97-94 tally on the
scorecards, but our correspondent felt that Kathy was the victim of a hometown decision (see the
fight report). Kathy
stumbled in the fifth round and her glove touched the canvas, after which she
received a standing eight count. Kathy said "Once
I slipped and the ref counted it as a knock down I new that I would probably
have to knock her out or at least down to have a chance in winning." Lang moved to 10-1 with 5 KO's, while
Williams fell to 10-2 with 4 KO's. (See the WBAN
interview with Kathy for more details
about what took place before and during this
On August 29, 2000 at Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii, Kathy won the IBA Junior Bantamweight title with an easy
ten round unanimous decision over Tracy Moulton of Denver, Colorado. A correspondent told the Women's Boxing Page
"Williams was cut under her right eye in the first round. It appeared to be from a clash of heads but was not ruled as
such. On two separate occasions Williams was awarded rounds by the scores of 10-8 without scoring a knockdown, but this
seemed fair as Moulton was often sent reeling. In the end it was the sharper punching of Williams dominating the wild and
less effective swings from Moulton. This was the first women's professional boxing match in the state and the crowd loved
it." Williams moved her pro record to 11-2 with the win; Moulton slipped to 4-3. The bout was the main event in the
inaugural Hawaii Tuesday Night Fights series.
On November 2, 2000 at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas,
Kathy moved to 12-2 and successfully defended her Miller Lite Texas Bantamweight title
by a narrow decision over IFBA Junior Featherweight Champion
Leona Brown of Pawling, New York,
who fell to 8-5. Esteban Erik Stipnieks told me that it was "ugly ... wrestling, holding, not breaking when told to. Leona Brown's camp was adamant they were
robbed. The fight was close down to one point. Kathy Williams had moments of
brilliance while Leona Brown found a home for her overhand right."
On January 19, 2001 at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant,
Michigan, WIBF North American Junior Featherweight champion Ada Velez
(117 lbs) from Puerto Rico won a unanimous
10-round decision over Kathy (117¾ lbs) for the IBA Bantamweight belt.
The scorecards were 97-93, 99-91 and 100-90.
Velez, who is trained in Florida by former world boxing and kickboxing champion Bonnie Canino,
advanced to 7-0 with 4 KO's. Kathy, who had taken the bout on six days' notice when
another bout was cancelled, wasn't able to overcome Velez's tricky southpaw style and
speed and Velez controlled the action in the later rounds.
(Read the round-by-round report from ringside.)
On April 12, 2001 at Jacob Brown Auditorium in Brownsville, Texas,
a crowd of 1,844 got their money's worth as Kathy defended her Miller Lite Texas Bantamweight
title with an eight-round unanimous decision over Delia Gonzalez
of Chamberino, New Mexico in a hard-fought Main Event. Williams moved her pro record to
13-3-0 (4 KO's) while Gonzalez slipped to 11-6-3 (3 KO's).
On May 15, 2002 at Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana,
Lisa Foster (121
lbs) of Washington, D.C. stunned Kathy (119¼ lbs) with a knockdown in the opening round and went on to win the
vacant IFBA Junior Featherweight title by TKO at 1:19 in the ninth. Foster advanced to 5-3-1 (2 KO). Foster looked
according to my correspondent, and the bout was stopped with Williams looking wobbly on her feet.
On May 31, 2003 at Sky Ute Casino, Ignacio, Colorado, Adriana Delgado of Albuquerque, New Mexico won the IFBA Bantamweight title with a ten-round unanimous
(97-93,97-93,97-94) decision over Kathy. Williams carried the fight to Delgado in the early going but was tagged
repeatedly by the hard-counterpunching Delgado. Delgado staggered Williams with a right to the head in the fourth but
Williams survived and came on strong again in the sixth. Delgado mounted a strong counterattack in the seventh and eighth
but Williams rallied again and Delgado needed a big final round to make sure of the decision. Delgado advanced to 10-2-1
(3 KO) with the win while Williams fell to 13-5-0 (4 KO).
Kathy emphasizes that there are many benefits for female boxers competing at the amateur level to get ready for the
pro's and recommends this to any female who is contemplating a pro career eventually.
"The experience you can gain from
the amateurs is remarkable", says Kathy.
Her advice to youngsters:
"If they want to box, go for it!"
Like many other successful pro female boxers, Kathy is an all-round athlete.
She has been playing sports since she was five years old, including track, boxing, gymnastics, volleyball,
softball and basketball, which she played for three years at Bishop's University.
She also studied ballet (which may account for some of her grace in the
She works as a policewoman in Thunder Bay and told me: "I get lots of support from the guys and girls I work with. They joke about me fighting
but they are always there congratulating me. My boyfriend is also very supportive.
He makes me train sometimes when I don't want to. He is great. A lot of times people
recognize me from being in the paper. That is the only drawback from the job.
In the paper it is always mentioned that I am a boxer and police officer."
Kathy works hard to keep in tip-top shape.
She trains six days a week, at least four of those in the gym. She runs four to six
days a week and works out with weights three times a week. She says she never takes more than
a week away from training, so she is always ready for a bout.
Her goal? "To win world titles in all three federations", she says.
Kathy can be contacted by email at email@example.com
Other Kathy Williams Links
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to
the WBAN Records Member Site
Page last updated: Sunday, June 7, 2004