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Providence police officer Kyana Williams Captured a bronze medal at prestigious National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions

PROVIDENCE (May 28, 2024) –Providence police officer Kyana “Special Kay” Williams, a 2024 New England Golden Gloves Champion, captured a bronze medal in the welterweight (146-pound) division at the recent National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions hosted by the City of Detroit.

The National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions features a Who’s Who of amateur boxing in the United States. Virtually every great U.S. boxer since 1928 has competed in this prestigious competition.

Williams shutout Zamyla Thurman-Houston in the opening round by way of a unanimous decision, 5-0, and she was edged in the semifinals round, 3-2, by Brianna Gulia, the eventual runner-up.

“I proved that I’m one of the best in the country,” an ecstatic Williams said about her performance. “I’m really excited about it.”

Williams, a resident of Providence, is coached by David Keefe and Joshua Lemar at Bishop’s Boxing in Bridgewater and Veloz Boxing in Providence.

TEAM WILLIAMS (R-L) – Joshua Lemar, Kyana Williams and Dave Keefe

“She came out of nowhere,” coach Keefe explained. “Three years ago, I was training fighters and Kyana was in the gym. I told her that when she was ready to contact me, I’d train her. We started together four months ago and look at what she’s done. She could turn pro right now, but I’d like to keep working on a few more things before she does.”

Williams had several obstacles to overcome to get where she’s at in life as well as boxing. When Keefe first saw her, Kyana wasn’t ready to commit to boxing, largely because of her new career as a police officer. Today, she is in her eighth year as a member of the Providence Police Department, patrolling the North End of the city. She recently made the Detective list, and she expects to be promoted very soon.

Because her work schedule is between 6:45 a.m. ET and 2:45 p.m. ET, she is able to juggle her vocation and boxing. Her typical day starts at 5 a.m. for strength-and-conditioning training, followed by a morning run, and she does her boxing workouts at night.

“I’m an early riser,” she admitted, “so I don’t have any trouble (managing her time). I do have a job to do, rules are rules and laws are laws, and I try to make people’s days easier when I go on call. In the ring, though, I give my opponents a hard time.”

Williams started in combat sports as a kickboxer when she was 13, competed for the first time when she was 15, and she first started boxing in 2013. She took seven years off from boxing, although she always popped into the gym like she did when she met Keefe.

“I was policing, but you can’t play boxing,” she admitted. “I wasn’t all in (boxing). It was like riding a bike. I’ve learned a few things that have helped me in boxing. I have to be calm doing police work like I do in the ring. The level of confidence I have as a police officer helps me in the ring, too.

There were a couple of other issues. In 2015, she and her father were both shot during a home invasion. Williams was shot below the hip, her father in the toe. Doctors chose not to take out the bullet because of potential nerve damage and/or infection, believing exercising would safely move the bullet away from nerve damage. “If I ran six miles,” she noted, “my leg would go numb. I needed to build strength in my left and, as long as I do yoga and stretch, I’m good now.”

During her respite from boxing, Williams added weight and when she was ready to commit to boxing, she needed lose weight and lost 65 pounds.

“When I saw Dave,” the 27-year-old Williams added, “ I knew I had to get back in shape before I contacted him about training me. It was the best decision I ever made.”

One other pertinent question is if she will remain boxing as an amateur or turn pro.

“I’m happy being part of USA Boxing,” she concluded, “but I’ll listen if the right deal is offered. I did open a lot of eyes at The National Golden Gloves.”


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