(WTNH)–“The worst thing that ever happened to me was the best thing for me.”
Tramaine Williams knows what he wants to be. The New Haven native has been training to be a champion boxer since he was 9.
But on January 23rd, 2014, his dream turned into a nightmare.
“I was asleep at my grandmothers house. 4-5 in the morning they raided the house found drugs and a tech 9,” Williams said.
The 22 year old old, nicknamed “The Midget,” spent the next year in prison. He was convicted of using an automatic weapon with aggressive purpose.
“It was for semi-protection. I wasn’t in anything deep. I like to walk around and be around people. They say if you have to have a gun to be somewhere you shouldn’t be there.”
Prison is some where he never thought he’d be.
“I would lay there and think dag, I thought this would never happen. It was the worst dream.”
Sitting in jail may have been just what the 22 year old needed. He got his GED, and unlocked other answers while he was locked up.
“I re-evaluated my life, career , family, friends, people that wasn’t friends,” he said. “The first week of jail, court dates, a few people did a few things. It shows you who was really there [for you].”
He saw his circle of family and freinds shrink real quick. But his Ring One family– guys like Brian Clark and Josh Crespo– stayed in his corner.
“I knew him since he was a 50 something pound kid,” said Josh Crespo. “If he doesn’t learn from this, shame on him.”
“He’s got people here that genuinely care about him, and he has fun here,” said longtime trainer Brian Clark.
“I learned how to say no in jail, it was the biggest things, I learned to say no,” Williams said.
He was released early, under the condition that he lived above the gym he trains in, under the wing of Clark, a man who took him under his watch as a 9-year old.
“I think he’s getting better, sharper than he’s ever looked. He has to stay focused. Realistically, i wish i had the money to move us out of here,” Clark said.
WIlliams will get back in the ring next month. That’s the easy part. Fighting the fight outside of the ring will be the challenge.
“Prison was the bottom, there is no where else to go after that except dead,” Williams said.