Boxer delivering a blow of hope to troubled kids

Paul Williams says the kids in custody can turn tragedy into triumph.

Columbia (WACH) -- A local boxing champion made a stop in the Midlands to deliver a blow of hope to hundreds of kids at the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Boxing champion Paul Williams is all too familiar with fighting for change and overcoming obstacles.

"Having people around you that care, it's real good," said Williams.

Friday the South Carolina native was back in the Palmetto State for one reason; to deliver a hard-hitting message to the boys at DJJ.

"You don't have to rob somebody, hit them in the head, take it and get it," said Williams. "You just have to work hard for it. You know it's blood, sweat and tears. There are sacrifices that you're going to have to put up."

"Paul has a similar background," said Ginny Barr with DJJ. "He's been a tremendous success.

Barr says many of the kids in state custody have started down the wrong path, but it's never too late to turn that path around.

"They have to want it for themselves, and that's what this was about," said Barr. "Giving them a sense that they too have what Paul Williams has."

"A lot of people usually forget about the youth behind the wall," said Lexington County Deputy David Nieves. "So this is a way we wanted come and reach the message of hope to these youth.

Nieves says having role models like Paul Williams talk about overcoming challenges and controversy, packs a powerful punch.

"You may not reach none of them, but you may just reach one," said Williams. "So that's all you want to do is reach one, and he may reach to another one.

Williams stepped out of the ring to talk about the life lessons. He says you always have to be prepared. Secondly in life and in boxing, you're going to have battles. But sometimes you're going to have to roll with the punches.

It can all be a hard fight, but can result in great success as long as you keep your eye on the prize.