William “Baby Face” Silva—Chasing the Dream

By Marc Livitz on March 2, 2018
William “Baby Face” Silva—Chasing the Dream
“The distance is sometimes uncomfortable. They know that I’m going after my dreams.”

American audiences may remember him from early 2016, when he squared off against unbeaten Puerto Rican contender Felix Verdejo on HBO…

The pressure to succeed is often determined by one’s surroundings as well as personal circumstances. A decision to work towards becoming a professional athlete is for many more than just wishing upon a star or a vivid daydream. It’s often doing so with your eyes wide open. Couple these factors with the idea of striving for greatness in the prize fighting business and also hailing from a land which has undoubtedly produced the finest soccer players the world has ever known. Brazil has given us the likes of Garrincha, Pele, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, just to name a few.

Likewise, the path towards the life of a world-renown musician is far more subjective and is seen sometimes as a ticket out of one’s past, yet not always far from their humble background. Somewhere in between falls the appeal of combat sports in a country which has made a name for itself by going above and beyond in team sports.

This is where lightweight hopeful William “Baby Face” Silva can be found. The 30-year-old is a native of Sao Paolo, the financial hub of the land which gave us Jogo Bonito (the beautiful game) and one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

Since he began his journey as a professional prize fighter in the summer of 2006, Silva (24-1, 14 KO’s) has fought the majority of his ring years as a lightweight, despite standing 6’1” in height. The first step was taken as an adolescent. “My father was a boxer and he took me to the gym for the first time when I was seven years old,” said “Baby Face” during a recent telephone interview.  “He fought, as did my brothers.”

This coming Saturday, March 3, the dozen-year professional will face Arkansas fighter Rogelio “El Loco” Casarez (13-6, 5 KO’s) for both the vacant IBO Continental North American Lightweight as well as NBA World Lightweight titles at Banquet Masters, a private party venue which plays host to events of all kinds in Clearwater, Florida.

Although Silva has fought a handful of times in the United States, all of which were in his adopted home state of Florida, American audiences may remember him from early 2016, when he squared off against unbeaten Puerto Rican contender Felix Verdejo on HBO. Terence Crawford defended his WBO lightweight title against Henry Lundy in the main event. The contest took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City and though William fell short in his quest for the WBO Latino Lightweight championship, the South American pugilist admitted that taking part in an event in ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’ was still a night to remember. “It was beautiful,” he said. “It’s very much where every fighter wants to fight.”

William was more than willing to relocate thousands of miles from home if that was what it would take to help him chase down a lifelong goal of one day becoming a champion. However, he readily admitted that knowing each and every day just how far away his family is from him can at times make him a bit uneasy. He commented, “My family supports me, but the distance is sometimes uncomfortable. But they know that I’m going after my dreams.”

Saturday’s contest, which will be streamed live on Fite TV, is just the second contest for Silva in over two years. After his loss to Felix Verdejo, contractual matters kept him out of the ring. “Top Rank wouldn’t re-sign me and they let me go,” he said. “I’d been with them for two years.”

He has since been signed by Fire Fist Promotions of the Tampa Bay area and has used his time alongside trainer Jose Rodriguez to go as far away as Canada to train for Saturday’s contest. Among the multiple sparring partners his camp enlisted was Montreal fighter Yves Ulysse, Jr., who recently handed New York area fan favorite Cletus Seldin his first professional loss at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.

“I sparred twenty to thirty rounds in Canada with some great fighters such as Ulysse (super lightweight contender) and since I got back here, I’ve used about fifteen different sparring partners,” said Silva.

Since returning to the United States, William understands the task in front of him and his definite chief aim for the remainder of 2018 and beyond. He’s found the Sunshine State to be very accommodating and an ideal place to train in comparison to his home nation of Brazil. “I’ve been in the United States since last November and I love it here,” he said. “It’s a perfect place to train and make a living. It’s different from back home. Here, there’s much better gyms and improved sparring. I always have a place to train and the equipment is a big upgrade.”

The third of March isn’t the only big day William Silva has on his agenda. He’s getting married on March 17. In the meantime, he only has his American opponent on his mind. “We need to win this one,” he said. “I want to fight for a bigger championship by the end of 2018. All I want is for people to know that I’m one of the best boxers from Brazil. I’ve been training all my life for this.”

The night of fights from Clearwater will be available for purchase on Fite TV on Saturday, March 3. (7PM ET/4PM PT).

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