Full name: David Desmond "Des" Williams
Born: February 5, 1928 in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Died: May 3, 2011 in Weltevredenpark, Gauteng, South Africa
Country: South Africa
Johannesburg native Des Williams first took up boxing as a schoolboy at the city’s Marists Brothers College, eventually joining the Mayfair Amateur Boxing Club and later the Booysens Amateur Boxing Club. At the latter he met his future Olympic teammates Duggie Du Preez and Dennis Shepherd while competing in the bantamweight division. Williams won several local and provincial championships, but soon realized that he would never be able to defeat Vic Toweel, a rising star in the South African boxing scene. He therefore began competing as a flyweight and it was in this division that he succeeded in making the national Olympic team. At the 1948 Summer Games he made it to the second round, but the starvation diet required to maintain his flyweight status left him too weak to defeat eventual gold medalist Pascual Pérez.
Williams continued amateur boxing until 1951, when he returned to the bantamweight division and went professional. He lost or drew all four of his bouts at this level and retired from the sport by the end of the year, electing to take a job as a sales representative and holding it for over 50 years.
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