By Doug Ottewill, Mile High Sports Magazine
Boxer DaVarryl J. (“Touch of Sleep”) Williamson wasn’t born and raised in Colorado, but the centennial State proudly claims him, now as the latest member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
A childhood spent in poverty-stricken Washington D.C. didn’t deter Williamson from reaching unthinkable heights. He made his way out of the nation’s capital by earning a college football scholarship – first at Rochester Community Technical College and later at Wayne State College in Nebraska where he earned his bachelor’s degree – and ultimately an invitation to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a boxer. Later, USA Boxing paid for the master’s degree he earned at Northern Michigan.
A member of the Golden Gloves Hall of Fame, Williamson was a national Golden Gloves Champion in 1996 and 1999 and a United States National Amateur Heavyweight Champion in 1996, ’97 and ’98, becoming the first and only heavyweight to win three times in a row. In total, he was a 10-time national amateur boxing champion. In 1997, he was honored as the nation’s “Best Amateur Boxer” by Boxing USA, and in October of 1998 he was named the UsOC’s Olympic Athlete of the Month, topping the likes of Lance Armstrong. As an amateur, Williamson compiled an impressive record of 120 wins, 17 losses and 1 draw, with 103 wins coming by knockout. His powerful right hand earned him the nickname “Touch of Sleep” en route to his impressive 88 percent knockout rate.
Training in Colorado, Williamson made his professional debut at the age of 32 in 2000. He went on to win 27 times as a pro (23 by knockout), while losing only eight times. Thirteen years after his debut, Ring Magazine called Williamson the “Hardest Puncher in the World.” Over his pro career, he earned title shots on four separate occasions, claiming the WBC NABF/WBO Latino Heavyweight Title and the WBC Continental Americas/WBO NABO Heavyweight Title along the way. Among his most notable fights were wins over Oliver McCall and Derrick Jefferson at Madison Square Garden, and losses to Wladimir Klitschko at Caesars Palace and Kali Meehan at Madison Square Garden. Williamson lost to Chris Bird in Reno for the IBF World Heavyweight Title in 2005. His final fight as a professional took place in 2014 at the age of 46.
Though retired, he certainly wasn’t done growing the sport he loved in Colorado. In the years leading up to his retirement as a fighter, Williamson quietly built one of the most successful boxing gyms in Colorado – “TOS Boxing” located in Englewood – which he still operates today. Through TOS Boxing, Williamson has devoted his life to teaching athletes of all types and ages the sweet science. In 2021, Williamson sent nine boxers to the Colorado Golden Gloves Championships, six of which won their weight class. He has also become an integral part of the community forming “Touchstone Youth Boxing”a non-profit teaching kids boxing and life skills; Englewood Public Schools partnered with
“TVB” busing in hundreds of kids to participate in Williamson’s program, an effort that earned him the honor of Englewood School District Volunteer of the Year. Williamson is only the third boxer to be enshrined into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.