Local teen wins third consecutive World Champion Belt

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Mon., Aug. 20, 2012
Manchester R.O.C.S. President Kathleen Nicholas (left) and Boxing Director Paul Cichon (right) flank Mikey Williams, holding his 2012 Ringside World Champion belt.
Manchester R.O.C.S. President Kathleen Nicholas (left) and Boxing Director Paul Cichon (right) flank Mikey Williams, holding his 2012 Ringside World Champion belt.

Mykquan “Mikey” Williams of the Manchester Ring of Champions Society boxing club won his third consecutive World Champion Belt at the Ringside 2012 World Championship in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday, Aug. 4. Williams, a resident of East Hartford, boxes in the Manchester R.O.C.S. youth program. Coached by Paul Cichon, he is 14 years old and weighs 132 pounds. He has been boxing for five years, and loves it.

“I like the competitiveness,” Williams said. “There's more to it than just fighting. Friendships, the bond with the coaches, the trips and the people you meet there.”

The positives that come with competing, however, are hard earned.

“It's fun, but at the same time, it's all about business,” said Williams.  Practices are not taken lightly by the youth program boxers. Manchester R.O.C.S. is packed with heavy punching bags and speed bags. Strength conditioning is an important part of practices. And it's all done under the guidance of Cichon.

For Williams, Cichon is more than a coach. He's a father figure. During his time coaching Williams, Cichon has recognized him as a highly gifted athlete. “He's probably one of the better ones I've ever had,” said Cichon. “He loves to work hard, he loves the challenge. I'm just lucky he turned to boxing and not some other sport, because he really could have made it in any other sport he played.”

Cichon is well known for being a mentor to kids, especially those at risk. He's been a boxing coach for about 23 years. He coached at PAL Boxing in Manchester for 16 years, but when the club was lost due to flooding, he co-founded Manchester R.O.C.S. about a year ago with the club's president, Kathleen Nicholas.

According to Nicholas, Manchester R.O.C.S. is a small non-profit that struggled to find the funds to send its team to the 2012 tournament. “When I put out the word that we weren't sure if we could send these kids, the whole town came together and gave money to make sure that they went,” said Nicholas. “It was to the point where when I was making deposits, I was tearful. It was so moving how business people and individuals in the town came through for these kids.”

She too has great admiration for Williams. “We are looking at a possible Olympian here, heading to the 2016 games,” she said. “He's a tremendous athlete, but also a great kid.”

She recalls a time when at a tournament last May, 23 of his teachers from the Noah Webster magnet school which he attends in Hartford arrived to support him. “That says a lot about the person, that so many teachers think so highly of him,” she said.

During the tournament in Missouri, Williams and the other fighters from the youth program were able to watch some of the 2012 Olympics. “It was so inspiring,” Williams said.

By time the 2016 games at Rio de Janeiro come around, he will be old enough to compete. “That's what I'm shooting for,” he said. “Hopefully I'll make it.”

Does he think he'll make it? He smiles. Nods. “Yeah.”

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