By Ken Hissner: Brazil’s unbeaten South American Cruiserweight champion William “Thompson” Bezerra ended his career with a 41-0 record with 40 knockouts in March of 2016.
(Photo credit: Boxrec)
In May of 2010, Bezerra, in his debut, fought for the interim Brazilian Cruiser title scoring a second round knockout over Leonardo De Moura, 3-1, who had scored knockouts in his last three fights.
He would fight fifteen more times, including a rematch with De Moura. He had wins over nine unbeaten opponents with only one with a losing record which was in his second fight.
In October of 2010, Bezerra won the vacant South American title with a second round knockout over Ernesto Carnesse, 7-0. In November, he won by DQ over Hierro Salcedo, 5-0.
In his fourth title defense in February of 2011, he also won the Inter-American Latino title along with defending his Brazilian title with a knockout in one over Vanderlei DeOliveira, 11-1. In 2011 he went 9-0, making his ninth title defense.
In 2012 Bezerra went 8-0 including winning the vacant WBA Fedelatin title, stopping Manoel Rodrigues, 17-2, in six rounds. In 2013 he only had three bouts but defeated Jose Robson Dos Santos, 17-0, Ricardo Augusto Souza, 17-2 in two of them.
In 2014 Bezerra went 2-0 with wins over Souza again and Mauricio Bueno de Morias, 8-1. In 2015 he went 2-0 with wins over Austreberto Perez Maranon, 5-0, in his only fight outside of Brazil with this one in Mexico and Romildo Dos Santos, 7-0.
In his career-ending bout, he stopped Francisco Marcelo Duarte Sobrino, 13-2, retiring at age 31. Overall he had fifteen title defenses in twenty-eight fights after winning the South American title.
His opponents were 355-68. During his career, his two trainers were Joaquim Orlando 1999-2005 and Jaime Sodre De Franca 2009-2016.
His manager was former South American Heavyweight champion Eduardo Corletti 2010-2014, having fought Jerry Quarry in the US and Joe Bugner in the UK. Bezerra’s matchmaker was Mohammad Sanir 2010-2015.
I contacted Bezerra recently about why he stopped boxing. He got back with some information, and I asked him to do a Q&A.
KEN HISSNER: “What kind of amateur record did you have, and was there a chance to compete in the Olympics?”
WILLIAM BEZERRA: “I was 78-29 with 36 knockouts. Competing in the Olympics in Brazil is complicated. It’s not that simple even if you are a good boxer or even the best in Brazil, and so, you don’t have the financial resources to take an amateur career here in Brazil.
You work to avoid starvation, and the time you have left, it makes light amateur practice so that the people are really passionate about the sport.
So, you turn professional so you can make money to support your family. If you want to make your amateur career here in Brazil, you go hungry and live with nothing in your life.”
KEN HISSNER: “Only one of your 41 wins went the distance, winning by disqualification in the twelfth and final round. What happened?”
WILLIAM BEZERRA: “I remember this fight though it was 11 years ago. It was a good fight of exchanges of blows, and I had a large advantage at the end. It was his third low blow warning that disqualified him.”
KEN HISSNER: “What was your reason for retirement?”
WILLIAM BEZERRA: “My removal from the ring was for medical reasons. In 2012 I was fedelatin WBA champion, for which I reached No. 3 in the rankings.
“I made title defenses and was in the rankings from 2012 to 2015. I was called to dispute the WBC world title by the WBC, WBA, and WBO. My life was great until 2014, when I realized I didn’t have 100% vision in my right eye due to it being blurry.
“I went to the doctor’s and discovered I had aggravated retinal detachment. Then my dream to fight for the world cruiserweight title was lost.
“I still had five professional fights, but my vision was not the same, for it was only 30%. You fear you have the possibility of losing the other eye. So, I decided to hang up the gloves in 2016, and I did more unsustainable treatments.
“I didn’t know how I dislocated my retina, but I have a memory of a hard workout with gloves that at the time I did twenty rounds in that training and got my eye swollen, but I didn’t call the next day and try to get an exam. This was my reason for retirement!!!”
KEN HISSNER: “In our initial conversation back in 2017, you mentioned having two bouts lined up. What happened?”
WILLIAM BEZERRA: “Even with only 30% vision in my right eye, I was with my team with four signed contracts, but I was advised by a friend to stop fighting because of my health.
“So I decided to retire for a second time. I was very sad and upset with my life and wondered, “why me?” Then I saw that it was the end of my entire career.”
KEN HISSNER: Are you still involved in some way in boxing?
WILLIAM BEZERRA: “I considered doing some exhibitions but have gained 100 kilos. I have a company here in Brazil about amateur and professional boxers and am an editor for BoxRec. And am very proud to work on the BoxRec system.
I’ve been a civil servant for twelve years, working in public security. Unfortunately, I didn’t dispute a world title, but I got very close and lived my glory in the ring. I’m very happy with what I achieved in my life, and I appreciate your contact and hope to someday see you in person.”
Bezerra’s record was quite impressive, and the caliber of opposition record-wise very good. He also served as a judge for five fights and in 2018 as an inspector twice.