Camp Verde kick-boxing coach trains young talent

Richard Williams holds his championship belt in his trophy room at his home in Camp Verde. VVN/Halie Chavez

Richard Williams holds his championship belt in his trophy room at his home in Camp Verde. VVN/Halie Chavez

photo

Williams poses with his girlfriend, Sandy, in the corner of his backyard ring. VVN/Halie Chavez

CAMP VERDE – Richard Williams was a kid watching a Bruce Lee when he decided: “I’m going to be a kickboxer.”

Thirty-six years ago Williams started taking martial arts classes, which progressed to training in kick boxing with local trainers in pastures, barns and football fields. In 1992 he kick boxed in Hawaii with an audience of 10,000 people.

“When you really want to learn, it doesn’t matter where you go. You’re learning the art,” Williams said.

Williams takes it to heart – he has a full-sized boxing ring, complete with punching bags, in his backyard. He trains Camp Verde kids who want to be kickboxers.

“Thailand, California, Hawaii, wherever – I was fighting the best kids in the world, and I’m from Camp Verde! So I always tell kids follow your heart, follow your dreams,” Williams said.

photo

Williams keeps saved photos, newspaper clippings and photos in a trophy room at his home in Camp Verde. VVN/Halie Chavez

photo

Williams’ children went on to be athletes as well. “I’ve been a natural athlete all my life and my kids were natural athletes,” Williams says. His kids would watch William train fighters in the backyard – “sponges,” William called them. His kids went on to do kickboxing, baseball and other sports. “I think just watching made them wonderful athletes,” Williams said. VVN/Halie Chavez

photo

Williams recalls defeating a New Mexican boxer at the old Camp Verde High School building at a first-time event. VVN/Halie Chavez

photo

Williams holds an award he received from the International Kickboxing Muay Thai Federation for “leadership, passion, dedication, tireless and unselfish work toward the advancement of kickingboxing…in the State of Arizona.” VVN/Halie Chavez

Comments

Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.