Wrestling superstar Doug Williams is set to return to the Worthing stage next week.
And he plans to walk to the Assembly Hall for his comeback bout on a huge half-term grappling spectacular on Tuesday (May 31) that will sound the bell on his first appearance for 14 months.
The reason: After years of globe-trotting and living out of a suitcase in towns and cities in America, Japan and around Europe, Williams has decided to put down some roots. And he has settled in Worthing.
“I’ve always liked Worthing, ever since I first came to wrestle here in 1998,” he explained. “It’s a great place to live, and I’ve always had a special relationship with the fans here.”
It has not taken long for the former American TNA and Ring of Honour champion to become one of the most recognisable personalities in Worthing. “I frequently get stopped when I’m out and about in the town by people who know me from the wrestling shows,” he said.
Living in Worthing is ideal for Williams, who has now reverted to his job as a quantity surveyor while continuing to wrestle part-time.
Currently he is working in Brighton for a Horsham-based company, an arrangement that allows him to still get to grips with some of the best grapplers in the business when he competes, mostly at weekends, in Germany and France as well as the UK.
Does he miss the full-time involvement in the ring game? “No, not really. America especially is a 100 per cent commitment. It takes over your life, and the wear and tear on the body is tremendous.
“At the end of the day, it was a great experience, and I got what I wanted out of it. Now I wrestle two or three times a week, and it’s nice to be able to pick and choose what shows I do and where I go.”
As well as his championship triumphs in the States, which earned him global recognition, Williams has held Japanese and European titles, while in this country he is a former British judo champion, seven-times Wrestler of the Year and multi-winning Premier Wrestling Federation title holder.
The Assembly Hall and Pavilion Theatre have staged many of his most important matches, including a record six victories in the Worthing Trophy event, the most recent being in 2014 when he defeated another top international star in Zack Sabre Jr.
Tuesday’s star-studded card will also include two PWF titles bouts, including a battle for the heavyweight championship between Southern Area title-holder Kris Kay and former Young Wrestler of the Year Josh Faulkner, plus appearances by “Wonder Kid” Jonny Storm, former European junior-heavyweight champion Rob Cage and “Dazzling” Darrell Allen.
Tickets for the show, which starts at 7.45pm, are available from the box office, 01903 206206, or on line via the Worthing Theatres website. There are special reserved ringside seats and reduced prices for advance bookings.