Khiary Gray Aims For Strong Comeback Win After Two-Year Layoff

Boxing Scene

Worcester (MA) super welterweight Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray (17-6, 13 KOs) will fight for the first time in two years in his comeback bid against New Haven (CT) veteran and divisional gatekeeper Jimmy “The Quiet Storm” Williams (18-13-2, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout on the December 9th “Pandemonium at the Palladium 2”, presented by Granite Chin Promotions (GCP), at the famed Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts.

All the action will be streamed live on BXNGTV.com. GCP has partnered with Project New Hope, a Worcester-based charity that supports veterans and their families.

“This is going to be a tremendous fight that has been in the makings for a few years,” GCP president Chris Traietti proclaimed. “I remember grumblings about this fight happening, but it never materialized. Once I connected the dots that Khiary wanted to fight on this show and Williams didn’t have anything scheduled, I immediately went to work to try and make this fight finally happen. It didn’t take much convincing on either side, both guys jumped on it and worked with me to make it happen.”

A 2012 New England Golden Gloves Champion, Gray is anxious to get back in the ring and he’s not necessarily concerned about being rusty after being inactive for two years.

“It definitely feels right and great to get back to fighting,” Gray said. “I’m preparing to put on a show to let Worcester and everyone in the boxing world that I’m back and coming to get back where I’m supposed to be, top contender. I’m looking at this fight and every fight from now on as critical in terms of me needing and wanting to win at this stage of my career.

“I’m avoiding being rusty by staying active in sparring in training camp, but I like to say that I’m like gold because gold doesn’t rust. All I need is some polishing up. It seems right to have my comeback fight in my hometown. I’ve only fought in Worcester once. I am comfortable fighting at home. It doesn’t stress or bother me, it just pushes me to show my city that I’m not done, I still have a lot left in this fight game. I know I can hold my own in my division. I am and will show it with this comeback fight. I will show that I’m coming to break down the doors and in 2024, I want to make a huge mark in the 154-pound division.”

Gray certainly could have picked an easier opponent than Williams, a former college cornerback on Southern Connecticut State University’s football team, as well as the former holder of three titles – World Boxing Council (WBC) USA welterweight, as well as the ABF USA and UBO International super welterweight.

“I am a gatekeeper,” Williams explained. I got in this game late but had success, winning three titles. Now, I’m fighting guys who have to get past me to get to a champion. Eight or nine years ago there was talk about me and him (Gray) fighting. He was dropping down to welterweight, but I knew local fights would always be there, and I wanted bigger fights. We’re going to get it on now. He’s coming back and I test people.”

Williams is more than capable of pulling off an upset. Only two years ago, Jimmy defeated former world champion Yuri Foreman to capture the ABF USA and UBO International titles.

This isn’t Gray’s first comeback, either. He’s officially at the crossroads and he needs to defeat Williams to make a long final run.

“I’d tell him (Williams), don’t let the layoff fool you. I could have picked anyone less risky for my comeback fight, but at the end of the day, that’s not me. I take risks to get where I want to be. I had a 3 ½ year layoff during COVID. My first fight back, I fought Bakhram Murtazaliev, who was 18-0 at the time. He was and still is Jermell Charlo’s mandatory for the IBF World title. I lost to Murtazaliev (currently 21-0, 15 KOs) by decision, but I wasn’t hurt and stayed in there.  

“From the first bell to the last, I’m not scared of taking risks. I was smiling ear to ear when asked to fight him. I had wanted to fight him (Williams) since 2017 after my fight with Nick DeLomba. In all honesty, I thought it was all hype. No disrespect, he can fight. I give him that but at the end of the day, he’s just a tough journeyman, I know I can beat him in dramatic fashion. I expect Jimmy to come out and fight. We are going to put in a show for my city.”

Gray vs. Williams could steal the show.  Another hometown fighter, light heavyweight Kendrick “Peppa” Bell, Jr. (21-1-3, 12 KOs), and International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas Super Middleweight Champion Steve “The Savage” Sumpter (9-0, 7 KOs), of Pittsfield (MA), are also fighting on the card in separate matches. 

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