ORLANDO – Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams prevailed versus his most notable opponent to date.
The 27-year-old southpaw turned away the challenge of middleweight gatekeeper Steve Rolls in a hard-fought, unanimous decision victory. All three judges scored the bout 97-93 for Williams in the opening bout of DAZN’s main card Saturday from Caribe Royale Orlando in Orlando, Florida.
Both fighters spent the opening round largely behind their respective jabs. Williams was quicker to the draw and the more effective, as minor swelling developed under Rolls’ left eye.
Williams mixed in power shots in round two. A straight left hand landed for the Milwaukee-born, Houston-based southpaw which briefly backed up Rolls. Action remained at a deliberate pace as both proceeded with caution. Chants of ‘Ammo’ briefly broke out as Williams landed a right jab and just missed with a left hand behind it. Williams also made a point to target the body and connected with a straight left.
Rolls was cornered at the start of round three but managed to pick off most of Williams’ punches. Williams landed a right hook at center ring but Rolls came back with a double jab and right hand. Rolls blocked a three-punch combination by Williams and split his guard with a straight right.
Williams landed a right hook early in round four. Rolls took the shot well but was again forced to rely on his chin as Williams landed a pair of left hands. A right hand by Rolls managed to get through, which caused Williams to briefly stop punching.
The first trip to the canvas by either boxer came late in round five. The only legal blow from the sequence was a left to the body by Williams, who then inadvertently pushed down on the back of Rolls’ head and pulled him to the canvas. The sequence was correctly waved off, after which Rolls landed a right to the body.
Williams connected with a left hand along the ropes early in round six. He continued to enjoy success from that weapon, as Rolls was left to fight from the outside and paw with his punches. Williams landed a right hook and then darted out of harm’s way before Rolls had a chance to respond.
Momentum remained with Williams through round seven, largely controlled by his jab. The unbeaten middleweight picked up the pace early in the eighth and landed a body shot along the ropes. He continued to take the lead, though Rolls managed to slip a straight left and land a counter right. Williams was again short with two more long left hands which Rolls dodged and came back with a right hand to the chin.
Williams rode out a right hand to land a left to the body in the tenth and final round. Rolls tried to turn the tide but failed to land anything of consequence. Williams landed with a right uppercut but was subsequently warned for hitting on the break when he connected with a right hook.
Both fighters raised their arms after the bell but it was Williams who left with the win and his perfect record still intact. He improved to 15-0 (10KOs) with his third unanimous decision verdict in his past four fights.
Rolls fell to 22-3 (12KOs) with the defeat. All three career losses have come within his last six fights—more infamously his June 2019 fourth-round stoppage to Gennadiy Golovkin at Madison Square Garden and a ten-round decision in favor of Edgar Berlanga last March at MSG’s Hulu Theater.
Headlining the show, Brooklyn’s Richardson Hitchins (16-0, 7KOs)—a 2016 Olympian for Haiti and rising contender—and former title challenger Jose Zepeda (37-3, 28KOs; 2NC) meet in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox