Interim WBC Middleweight Champion Carlos Adames and former unified champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams traded barbs at Thursday’s final press conference before they trade blows in the SHOWTIME main event this Saturday, June 24 in a Premier Boxing Champions event at The Armory in Minneapolis.
Thursday’s press conference also featured fighters competing on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® undercard including super welterweight contender Luis “Cuba” Arias, who meets Erickson “Hammer” Lubin in the 10-round co-main event, plus super flyweight world champion Fernando “Pumita” Martinez and unbeaten Filipino contender Jade Bornea, who battle for Martinez’s IBF world title in the telecast opener.
Here is what Adames and Williams had to say Thursday from Minneapolis:
“I’ve been in the gym training hard with a spectacular team. Williams is bait on a hook ready to get devoured by the big fish. He should know that he’s in a bad spot right now.
“I can feel him shaking. If you’re hesitant, it’s because you don’t know what you’re getting into. I want him to tell us how he really feels.
“I’m here to give a great fight to the fans of Minneapolis. I’m very thankful to be fighting here and to be embraced by the city.
“If you’ve seen me hurt, that’s because you have bad eyesight. I’m right here and I’m gonna be at my best on Saturday night“If you like this back and forth, you’ll love the fight. I’m glad this was fun, but I want everyone to know that I’m bringing my best. Julian has no idea what he’s getting into. I’m gonna overwhelm him.
“I’m going to have to be steady in the ring and work a lot, especially early. I’m going to be patient, follow my game plan and the win is going to come because of how steady I am in the ring.
“Even though the fans in the Dominican Republic are far away, they motivate me to win not just for myself, but for all of them.
“It was great to meet Pablo Lopez at the Twins game. Baseball has always been part of my life, and to be embraced for my accomplishments at the highest level of boxing by a first-class franchise like the Twins meant a lot to me. Minneapolis is a great sports town, and I hope Twins fans come out to enjoy a great fight on Saturday night as well.”
“I’ve watched tape on him and he’s not unbeatable. He’s a good fighter, but I’ve seen him down, I’ve seen him tired and I’ve seen him hurt. He’s no boogeyman.
“This fight can definitely rejuvenate my career. I don’t think people fear him yet. He only hit the scene last year. All that about him being avoided is just talk.
“I’m not letting Adames know anything and I don’t have to say anything. We’re gonna show up and settle it in the ring like men on Saturday night.
“This dude is a bully. I don’t have to go back and forth with him and argue about what we’re gonna do. I’m gonna show up on Saturday night. Believe it.
“I’m locked in. I know what this is and I know what he is. It’s gonna show up in the fight. I’m a man and you cannot scare me.
“I’m going to deliver a spectacular performance on Saturday night. The fans can definitely expect that. I’m getting my hand raised.
Top middleweight Carlos Adames will aim to make his case as the sport’s best middleweight when he defends his Interim WBC Middleweight Title against former unified champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams this Saturday, June 24 live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from The Armory in Minneapolis headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
“My time will come where I will show the world that I’m the best middleweight,” said Adames. “A dominant victory on Saturday night will ensure me a fight with Jermall Charlo to see who the real WBC middleweight champion is. It’s been very difficult to get the big names in the ring with me, but I just have to keep winning.”
The 29-year-old Adames (22-1,17 KOs) has been on a tear since moving up to middleweight in 2021, including a close but decisive decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko and most recently a third-round KO of Juan Macias Montiel in October. The Dominican fighter now training in Las Vegas has thrived in another training camp under top trainer Bob Santos.
“I had an incredible training camp in Las Vegas with my coach Bob Santos,” said Adames. “We put in a lot of hard work and got some excellent sparring with some very good fighters. My road work was taken to the next level, with a lot of running in high elevation. I’m eating the best foods and feeling great.”
Saturday night will see Adames battle perhaps his most accomplished opponent to date in the former unified 154-pound Williams, a Philadelphia-native who defeated Jarrett Hurd in one of 2019’s best fights to capture WBA and IBF titles. Although Williams only made his middleweight debut in November with a unanimous decision over Rolando Mansilla, Adames knows the danger that Williams presents.
“I see Williams as a dangerous opponent,” said Adames. “He’s a former world champion who has a lot of experience and he has nothing to lose at this point in his career. I’m expecting a tough fight, but I feel I’m the better fighter in every aspect. I feel I can break him down and end the fight in the middle to late rounds.”
Since losing a 154-pound title fight in 2019, Adames has worked his way up the 160-pound division and will now step into the ring for his first SHOWTIME main event on Saturday night, with the goal of closing the show early and in dominant fashion.
“This is another great opportunity to showcase my talent on the big stage,” said Adames. “SHOWTIME is where the stars are born. I can’t wait to show my people back in the Dominican Republic, and here in the U.S., all the hard work that we put into this camp. This is my first main event on SHOWTIME and I’m going to take full advantage of the situation. My goal is to win by spectacular knockout.”
Hard-hitting Interim WBC Middleweight Champion Carlos Adames will battle former unified champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams in the 12-round main event of action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, June 24 from The Armory in Minneapolis in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®telecast will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and featured top super welterweight contenders Erickson “Hammer” Lubin and Luis “Cuba” Arias squaring off in the 10-round co-main event. Super flyweight world champion Fernando “Pumita” Martinez will put his IBF title on the line against unbeaten Filipino contender Jade Bornea in the telecast opener.
Adames (22-1, 17 KOs) has become a force in the middleweight division as he nears a chance to earn a world title opportunity at 160 pounds. Adames scored a career-best victory by overcoming top contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko in December 2021 and followed that up by knocking out Juan Macias Montiel in the third round to capture his interim belt last October. The 29-year-old Adames was born in Comendador, Dominican Republic and now lives in Washington Heights, New York. He established himself as a contender with a slew of victories over the likes of former champion Carlos Molina, Frank Galarza, Joshua Conley and Alejandro Barrera, with his only defeat coming by narrow decision in a 2019 154-pound title fight against Patrick Teixeira.
“I’ve trained hard for this fight and I’m ready to defend my interim WBC middleweight title against Julian Williams, who we all know is a very tough fighter,” said Adames. “I’ve worked tirelessly to earn my way in the sport and I’m ready to prove I belong at the top of the middleweight division. I’m grateful for the opportunity to showcase my skills on SHOWTIME, and I’m determined to put on a great performance for the fans. On June 24 The Armory in Minneapolis will be electrifying. I’m coming to win.”
Philadelphia’s Williams (29-3-1, 16 KOs) became a unified world champion at 154-pounds in May 2019 when he upset Jarrett Hurd in one of the year’s best fights, winning a close-quarters brawl by unanimous decision. The 33-year-old dropped the titles in his first defense, losing to Jeison Rosario in January 2020, before coming up on the short end of a narrow decision to Vladimir Hernandez in October 2021. He most recently returned to his winning ways last November, dominating Rolando Mansilla at The Armory on his way to a unanimous decision.
“Training has been going great and I’m extremely well-prepared for this fight,” said Williams. “I’ve just been grinding and making the best of everything that I have. I haven’t seen that much of him, so I’m preparing for anything Adames can bring. A win on June 24 would mean everything. This is what I strive for. It’s been a little choppy, but I’m just looking forward to a tough fight in Minneapolis.”
The 27-year-old Lubin (24-2, 17 KOs) will return to the ring after going toe-to-toe in one of 2022’s best fights, which saw him trade knockdowns with fellow contender Sebastian Fundora on SHOWTIME in April 2022. Heading into the Fundora fight, Lubin had put together an impressive six-bout winning streak since a loss to unified 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo in 2017, a run that included triumphs over Jeison Rosario, Terrell Gausha and Ishe Smith. A native of Orlando, Fla., Lubin turned pro at 18 years old in 2013 and became one of the youngest prospects to ever appear on the developmental series SHOBOX: The New Generation and soon after was named “Prospect Of The Year” by ESPN and Ring Magazine in 2016.
“I’m looking forward to making my return on SHOWTIME,” said Lubin. “Every fight is important and I treat them all the same. This one is no different because I’m coming in with a chip on my shoulder. I’m planning to dominate Luis Arias so I can get my rematches with Jermell Charlo and Sebastian Fundora. I want to avenge my defeats and that starts with a big performance on June 24. It’s ‘Hammer’ time on SHOWTIME.”
A native of Milwaukee who now trains out of Las Vegas, Mayweather Promotions’ Arias (20-3-1, 9 KOs) most recently dominated Jimmy Williams in May 2022 on his way to a unanimous decision. Arias had scored a career-best victory in June 2021, as he earned a decision over former unified champion Jarrett Hurd on the Mayweather vs. Paul SHOWTIME PPV undercard. Arias has also battled former champion Daniel Jacobs and owns a draw against veteran contender Gabriel Rosado.
“I’m back on the big stage and this time I’m staying here for the long haul,” said Arias. “I’m planning on bringing an all-out war as soon as the bell rings. June 24 has a great lineup, but this fight will definitely steal the show. I want to thank Floyd Mayweather and the Mayweather Promotions team for getting me this opportunity. I’m coming to make the most of it. War is coming!”
The unbeaten Martinez (15-0, 8 KOs) became the first world champion promoted by his countryman, former two-division world champion Marcos Maidana, with a scintillating victory over Ancajas on SHOWTIME in February 2022. The 31-year-old from Avellaneda, Argentina made the most of the opportunity, landing a division record 421 power shots of the 427 total punches landed to secure a unanimous decision victory over Ancajas. They rematched in October 2022, with Martinez putting on an even more convincing performance to retain his title via unanimous decision.
“This is going to be my first time fighting in Minneapolis and I hope the fans know that I’m coming to put on a show for them,” said Martinez. “My goal isn’t just to win, it’s to show that I’m getting better and that I’m on my way to my goal of unifying the titles.”
Fighting out of General Santos City in the Philippines, Bornea (18-0, 12 KOs) will fight in the U.S. for the second time on June 24 after earning a decision over Ernesto Delgadillo in their January 2020 clash. Since then the 27-year-old has added three victories, including a pair of 2022 triumphs that saw him best Mohammed Obbadi in January and Ivan Meneses in August. A pro since October 2014, Bornea is part of a boxing family as his twin brother Jake also fights professionally.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity ever since I turned pro,” said Bornea. “I have watched Martinez twice fight against my friend and countryman Jerwin Ancajas, so I know his style well. On June 24, I am going to win that title and bring it back to the Philippines where it belongs. I’m thankful to my whole team for this opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.”
A jam-packed three-bout lineup of exciting undercard attractions featuring a longtime contender, a former unified world champion and a pair of unbeatens will stream live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel and Facebook page this Saturday, November 5 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Armory in Minneapolis preceding SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Andre Dirrell will battle Yunieski Gonzalez in a 10-round light heavyweight clash.The action also includes former unified champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams taking on Argentina’s Rolando Mansilla in an eight-round middleweight affair, plus unbeatens Kent Cruz and Enriko Gogokhia will duel in an eight-round super lightweight rematch of their split-draw in February kicking off the streaming presentation.
The streaming fights lead into SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT headlined by WBA Super Middleweight Champion and Minneapolis fan-favorite David Morrell Jr. looking to thrill his hometown crowd against unbeaten mandatory challenger Aidos Yerbossynuly.
A bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games, Dirrell (28-3, 18 KOs) rose to the top of the super middleweight division during an impressive run in his career that included a victory over then-unbeaten Arthur Abraham and decision defeats to Carl Froch and James DeGale. The Flint, Michigan-native has won back-to-back fights via knockout since moving up to light heavyweight, stopping Christopher Brooker most recently in July 2021. He takes on Cuba’s Gonzalez (21-4, 17 KOs), who has challenged top light heavyweights including Gilberto Ramirez, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Jean Pascal. Now fighting out of Miami, Gonzalez won three-straight bouts before losing to Ramirez in a December 2021 slugfest.
Philadelphia’s Williams (27-3-1, 16 KOs) became a unified world champion at 154-pounds in May 2019 when he upset Jarrett Hurd in one of the year’s best fights, winning a close-quarters brawl by unanimous decision. The 32-year-old dropped the titles in his first defense, losing to Jeison Rosario in January 2020, before coming up on the short end of a narrow decision to Vladimir Hernandez in October 2021. He will take on Mansilla of Parana, Entre Rios, Argentina, Mansilla , who looks to rebound from back-to-back defeats against Cesar Mateo Tapia in May and Derrick Colemon Jr. in September. Mansilla (18-11-1, 8 KOs) has fought professionally since 2013 and was unbeaten in his first 11 fights.
The 29-year-old Cruz (16-0-2, 10 KOs) and 31-year-old Gogokhia (13-0-1, 8 KOs) fought to a split draw in their February clash, with Cruz hitting the canvas twice, as they both look to leave no doubt in the rematch. The St. Louis-native Cruz had bounced back from a 2018 draw to Carlos Mohamed Rodriguez with triumphs over Travis Hartman and Erik Humberto Castillo before the Gogokhia fight. A former kickboxing pro, Gogokhia is a native of Georgia but now resides stateside in Woodland Hills, California and had stopped five consecutive opponents before facing Cruz.
The non-televised undercard will also include unbeaten super featherweight Demler Zamora (9-0, 8 KOs) battling Texas-native Clay Burns (10-13-2, 4 KOs) in a six-round fight and unbeaten Cuban prospect Yoenis Tellez (2-0, 2 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight attraction against California’s Dario Guerrero-Meneses (1-2-1).
Rounding out the lineup is Kazakhstan’s Ablaikhan Zhussupov (2-0, 1 KO) facing Arkansas-native Demarcus Layton (8-3-1, 5 KOs) in a six-round welterweight bout, a four-round super featherweight duel between Jose Perez (10-1-2, 4 KOs) and Angel Luna (15-11-1, 8 KOs) and welterweight prospect Maximus Garland (2-0, 2 KOs) in a four-round contest taking on Alex Cortez.
Brooklyn’s newest young knockout prodigy and a former unified world champion from Philadelphia will see action Saturday, Oct. 9 at T-Mobile Arena in preliminary bouts before the highly anticipated heavyweight trilogy grudge match between WBC and lineal heavyweight world champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury and former heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga will fight former world title challenger Marcelo Esteban “El Terrible” Coceres in a scheduled 10-round showdown for the vacant NABO super middleweight belt, while Julian “J-Rock” Williams will face Mexico’s Vladimir Hernandez in a 10-round junior middleweight bout in his first fight since losing his title belts.
Berlanga-Coceres and Williams-Hernandez will be televised live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, FS1 and FOX Deportes, and simulcast on ESPN+. Preliminary bouts will stream live on the ESPN App and FOX Sports App starting at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.
The all-heavyweight Fury vs. Wilder III ESPN+ and FOX Sports PPV bonanza begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features 2016 Nigerian Olympian “The One and Only” Efe Ajagba squaring off against fellow unbeaten Frank “The Cuban Flash” in the 10-round co-main event; the highly anticipated 12-round rematch between Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius and Adam “Babyface” Kownacki; and the eight-round PPV opener featuring 21-year-old sensation Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson versus Russian veteran Vladimir Tereshkin.
Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs), the Brooklyn-bred puncher with Puerto Rican roots, became one of boxing’s most talked-about fighters by scoring first-round knockouts in his first 16 fights. The 2020 Prospect of the Year, he’s walked to the ring with mentor and multi-platinum hip hop artist Fat Joe and become a social media sensation with his highlight-reel stoppages. The knockout streak ended in April, as Berlanga knocked down Demond Nicholson four times in eight rounds and had to settle for a unanimous decision. Coceres (30-2-1, 16 KOs), from Argentina, challenged Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO super middleweight world title in November 2019 and was nearly level on the scorecards before being knocked out in the 11th round. He last fought in June, knocking out Nelson Nicolas Rosalez in the second round.
Berlanga said, “I am thrilled to be fighting on the Fury-Wilder III card, and I am coming do what I always do, which is to steal the show and knock out my opponent in devastating fashion. Coceres is in for a rude awakening on October 9. Do not get up for a snack when I’m fighting. It’s going to be a short, brutal night. Count on it.”
Philadelphia’s Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs) became a unified world champion at 154-pounds in May 2019 when he upset Jarrett Hurd in one of the year’s best fights, winning a close-quarters brawl by unanimous decision. The 31-year-old dropped the titles in his first defense, losing to Jeison Rosario in January 2020. Williams had been riding a five-fight winning streak going into the Rosario matchup, in which he added victories over former champion Ishe Smith and hard-hitting contender Nathaniel Gallimore to his ledger. He returns to action on Oct. 9 against the 32-year-old Hernandez (12-4, 6 KOs). Originally from Durango, Mexico, Hernandez now lives in Denver, Colorado, and most recently earned a decision victory over longtime contender Alfredo Angulo in August 2020.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to compete on this amazing card,” said Williams. “I’m excited to be getting back in the ring and starting my journey back to the very top of the division.”
Preliminary bouts include a 10-round featherweight bout between two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez (7-1, 4 KOs) and unbeaten Puerto Rican prospect Orlando “Capu” Gonzalez (17-0, 10 KOs), heavyweight phenom Viktor Faust (7-0, 5 KOs) in an eight-rounder against Mike Marshall (6-1, 4 KOs), the pro debut of former U.S. amateur star Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington in a four-round featherweight contest against an opponent to be named, and junior welterweight standout Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) versus Victor Vazquez (11-5, 5 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
Jeison Rosario captured the WBA and IBF Super Welterweight World titles with a shocking fifth round stoppage of hometown favorite Julian “J-Rock” Williams Saturday night in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
“As soon as I stepped into the ring, I knew he could not hurt me,” said Rosario. “I knew that my power was affecting him right away. This is a big victory for me and for the whole Dominican Republic.”
“Rosario was the better man tonight,” said Williams. “It was a great homecoming for my fans and I’m sorry I let them down. What went wrong tonight needs to and will be fixed. We’re going to an immediate rematch and we look forward to returning the favor.”
In his first world title fight, the Dominican Republic’s Rosario landed power punches from the outset and opened up a cut on with a punch over Williams’ right eye in the second round. Williams was landing power punches of his own, but was unable to stop Rosario from coming forward.
Watch round two highlights where Rosario opens the cut over Williams’ eye here.
“I’m so emotional in this moment right now,” said Rosario. “When I lost my last fight I said I will never lose again until I become champion of the world and that’s what happened tonight. I came prepared. I knew before the fight that I was going to win it.”
In round five Rosario landed the punches that would ultimately lead to the end of the fight, hitting him with hard straight right hands that immediately slowed Williams.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my team,” said Rosario. “I had a 16-week training camp and that prepared me for this. My life is changed forever and I can support my family in a whole new way. I realized that I was going to win, once I was offered the fight. I knew that if I made the sacrifice, that I would do what I did tonight. I knew it 16 weeks ago.”
Rosario sensed his moment and came forward with big punches, while Williams tried to hold and survive. Eventually the onslaught proved to be too much, and referee Benjy Esteves halted the bout 1:37 into the round. At the time of the stoppage, Rosario led 39-37 on two cards, with the third card scored 38-38.
“I wasn’t surprised he was so good,” said Williams. “I told everybody he’s a real fighter. I have to accept it. The cut blurred my vision a little bit but it wasn’t the reason why I lost. He was the better fighter tonight. We’ve got a rematch clause. I’ll see him again soon. I’ll be back.”
Former unified 154-pound champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd shared his thoughts on his ring return taking place Saturday, January 25 against Francisco Santana live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
“This fight isn’t about making a statement,” said Hurd. “I just want to get the win and fight a great fight. I’m going to remind the boxing world what it’s like when I bring a storm to Brooklyn.”
The January 25 co-main event will be Hurd’s first fight with new trainer Kay Koroma. While Koroma trains fighters at the Alexandria Boxing Club in Virginia, not far from Hurd’s Maryland home, he is also an assistant coach for the USA amateur boxing team, having helped various boxers win Olympic medals.
“Camp has been going great with my new trainer Kay Koroma,” said Hurd. “We’ve been working on a lot of head movement and jabs. We’re strictly focused on boxing and working on all the areas where I have room to grow. He’s really opened my eyes to a lot of things.”
For the Accokeek, Maryland native, this will be his first fight training outside of his home area as a pro fighter. He has been in Colorado Springs training since January 2 and has experienced both the positives and negatives of camp away from home.
“The positives are that there’s literally nothing to focus on out here except boxing,” said Hurd. “No distractions at all. The only negative is you can get homesick. I miss my girlfriend and my family. Also, I just got a new puppy named ‘Bolt’ and I miss my little guy too.”
Hurd will be fighting again after losing his WBA and IBF 154-pound titles in May 2019 against Julian Williams. It was one of the most exciting fights of last year, and one that Hurd will hope to be running back soon, after a victory on January 25.
“The rematch with Julian Williams is what I always wanted,” said Hurd. “I had no intentions of moving up in weight. Unfortunately, the rematch just couldn’t happen sooner because of my circumstances.”
For his first fight back, Hurd will be facing a tough veteran in Francisco Santana, one who has faced other top 154-pounders, including Williams and Jermell Charlo, and who always comes forward and brings the fight to his opponent. If Hurd is unprepared, it will show against his hard-charging opponent.
“We just wanted a matchup to get back in the groove of things,” said Hurd. “I’ve been inactive for the better part of the last year. Santana being a smaller fighter, he will stay close and try to outwork me. I know he’s coming to win, so I’m not thinking about anyone but Francisco Santana. We’re going to work behind strategy and skills to get the victory.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DSG Promotions, are on-sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Unified 154-pound champion and Philadelphia native Julian “J-Rock” Williams showed off his skills and previewed his upcoming hometown title defense at a media workout Wednesday, as he prepares to face hard-hitting Jeison Rosario Saturday, January 18 in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
After winning the title in one of 2019’s best fights against then unbeaten Jarrett Hurd, Williams will fight in his hometown for the first time since 2011 when he competes on January 18. Here is what Williams had to say Wednesday from James Shuler’s Memorial Boxing Gym in Philadelphia:
On training and fighting in his hometown…
“I try to just block myself from the world… Especially with a hometown fight, people are pulling you 50 different ways, tickets, asking me stupid questions. It’s crazy, so I just try to block myself from the world.
“It’s not about enjoying, it’s about winning. I don’t care about enjoying. You’re not supposed to enjoy camp. It’s supposed to be a grind.”
On what he expects out of Rosario…
“Rosario brings ambition to the table. I think he’s an ambitious kid. I don’t think it’s a difficult fight (for me), to be quite honest. I just think it’s a matter of being focused and on top of my game, and I think I’ll take care of him. I don’t think it’s difficult, though. He’s a decent fighter. We’re not going to make him out to be Ray Robinson.
“He has put together a good string of wins, and he’s tough and he’s coming to win. So that’s more important than anything. He has the ambition to win, so you can’t underestimate him.”
On growing up in Philadelphia…
“Seeing all the stuff that I saw growing up (in West Philadelphia) made me hungry, made me want to get out and make a better life for myself. All you have to do is walk outside and go down Lancaster Ave. If that’s not motivating for you then nothing will.”
On his celebrity now that he’s a world champion…
“I’ve got a little more notoriety now. To be honest, I stopped thinking about it because I want to stay focused on the task at hand. The task at hand is being pound-for-pound best in the world. I’m not satisfied with just being the best super welterweight in the world. I’m just not satisfied with being unified champion of the world. Why sell myself short when I have the drive and the ability to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world? I’d be selling myself short. I’d be leaving millions of dollars on the table.”
On the history that he made for himself and Philadelphia when he defeated Hurd…
“I’m one of three men (from Philadelphia) who can say they’re a unified champion of the world.”
Unified 154-pound world champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams will defend his WBA and IBF titles in a Philadelphia homecoming against the hard-hitting Jeison Rosario on Saturday, January 18 in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes live in primetime from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
The action will also feature undefeated rising star Chris “Prime Time” Colbert taking on former champion Jezreel Corrales for the Interim WBA Super Featherweight Title as the co-main event of the broadcast that begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Philadelphia’s Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) captured his world titles in a FOX main event in May when he upset Jarrett Hurd’s homecoming defense in a fight that is a frontrunner for 2019 Fight of the Year. Williams took full advantage of his second title opportunity with a spirited performance and an impressive game plan that negated the hard-charging and physically bigger Hurd.
The 29-year-old will now headline in his hometown, marking the first time he’s fought in Philadelphia since a 2011 victory over Eberto Mendoza. Williams earned his title opportunity by winning four-straight fights after a defeat to Jermall Charlo in 2016, including wins over former champion Ishe Smith and Nathaniel Gallimore.
“This is going to be great having a homecoming fight back in Philadelphia,” said Williams. “I’m excited for the crowd that’ll be at the Liacouras Center and to be back fighting on FOX. I haven’t fought in Philadelphia since 2011, so I can’t wait to get back in the ring in front of all my people. Rosario is a good fighter and I’m very familiar with him. I know he packs a solid punch and that he’s been on a tear ever since his lone loss to Nathaniel Gallimore. So he’ll be a stiff test for me, but I’m prepared to win. Most of all, I’m just excited to defend my titles and as a unified champion in front of my hometown crowd.”
Born in the Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, Rosario (19-1-1, 13 KOs) will take an eight-fight unbeaten streak into his first world title fight on January 18. The 24-year-old has taken down a slew of contenders and rising prospects including Jamontay Clark, Justin DeLoach and Mark Anthony Hernandez, all of whom were either stopped or knocked down against Rosario. Most recently, Rosario won a decision over veteran contender Jorge Cota in April.
“I’m very thankful and excited for this opportunity,” said Rosario. “I’m going to take advantage of it. I plan to bring these titles back to the Dominican Republic by knockout, but if I have to go 12 rounds, I’m ready. I learned a lot from my first defeat, and it will never happen again. I also want to thank PBC, my promoter Sampson Boxing and my manager Caesar Mercedes for putting in this position. I can’t wait to make the most of it.”
One of boxing’s top rising prospects, Colbert (13-0, 5 KOs) showed off his emerging power with a sensational one punch knockout of Miguel Beltran Jr. in the first round of his most recent fight in September on FS1. The 23-year-old from Brooklyn, New York had an impressive amateur career and has already taken down three unbeaten fighters in his short pro career. He will look to kick off a big 2020 on January 18 after earning four wins in 2019.
“This is the stage that I’ve been waiting for,” said Colbert. “My last fight was the co-main event on FS1 and now we’re moving up to FOX. It’s time to show out! I’m going to show the world what the hype behind me is all about and prove that I’m a soon-to-be champion of the world. All I know about Corrales is that he’s a former champion who’s going to bring his A-game, but I’m looking to get him out of there. I’m excited to be back in Philly and I’m definitely going to have my crew and fans coming down from New York to show support.”
The 28-year-old Corrales (23-3, 9 KOs) will look to rebound after a narrow split-decision defeat to Ladarius Miller in July. Fighting out of San Miguelito, Panama, Corrales won a super featherweight title in 2016 when he went to Japan and knocked out Takashi Uchiyama before winning a decision in their rematch. He also owns victories over current 130-pound champion Rene Alvarado and Robinson Castellanos.
“Colbert is a good fighter but he’s not ready for what I can do in the ring,” said Corrales. “I’m going to show that I’m still one of the best in the division. This is a great opportunity to prove that. I’ve been training hard to be the best Jezreel Corrales. Thank you to my whole team for helping me get this fight. You’re not going to want to miss my performance on January 18.”
The beauty of boxing is the unexpected can happen at any time. For example, look at the 154-pound division. In 2018, the thought was that then undefeated champions Jermell Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd would battle it out in unification fight. However, Tony Harrison happened. He beat Charlo by unanimous decision last December in Brooklyn to take Charlo’s WBC belt, and on Saturday night in Fairfax, Virginia, Julian Williams happened.
Williams shocked Hurd by unanimous decision, including dropping Hurd in round 2 to capture the IBF, IBO, and WBA belts.
Both Charlo and Hurd were headliners in their bouts against Harrison and Williams, which may have been something that overwhelmed them. There is a lot of things a fighter has to do when headlining a show: the appearances, the media, family, and more.
The 28-year-old Hurd said he didn’t feel like himself in the fight against Williams. Fighting in front of a raucous hometown crowd filled with family and friends as he hails from nearby Accokeek, Md.
“I wasn’t able to get off. I can’t really call it right now. I have to go back and watch. I was loading up on my shots instead of just letting my hands go,” Hurd said. “J-Rock was just the better man tonight. There’s definitely a rematch clause in our contract, and I’m going to go for it. I’m going to come back better than I was tonight.”
The 154-pound division is very deep. Besides the champions, you have Erislandy Lara, Erickson Lubin, Brian Castano, and more.
Charlo and Hurd won’t happen anytime soon, and in reality, if Harrison beats Charlo in their rematch in June, there is a chance we could see Williams-Harrison in a unification bout sometime in 2019. No one would have ever expected that one, but that’s boxing for you, the “theatre of the unexpected.”