FightPost Boxer of the Week: Julian “J Rock” Williams
By Gary Kittilsen
In another busy week of prizefighting the performance handed in by Philadelphian Julian “J Rock” Williams stands head and shoulders above all the other outstanding performances of the week, and there were plenty of top-notch performances to choose from.
Williams entered the Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax Virginia a prohibitive 7 to 1 underdog and given almost no chance, by anyone, in upsetting the WBA/IBF unified 154-pound champion, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd who was universally considered the best in the weight class. Williams was expected to be little more than an opponent for Hurd’s big homecoming defense in front of thousands of his adoring fans. Williams refused to comply and handed in the performance of a lifetime in a fight of the year candidate and captured the unified super welterweight titles, our Fighter of the Week award and handed Hurd his first career loss in front of his hometown fans.
Williams took control early in the fight, outboxing and outlanding the champ in the opening stanza and then scoring a second-round knockdown to set the tone. Williams looked to be the more precise puncher not only landing the cleaner shots but landing more often then Hurd and beating him up on the inside. Traditional logic would have said that a scrap fought on the inside would favour the brutish Hurd. That proved not to be the case in the least, as Williams stayed on the inside and snapped Hurd’s head back with uppercuts and short rights hands.
Hurd rallied in the middle rounds and got the fight close on the scorecards but by the eighth round, the challenger seized control of the fight and refused to relinquish it. Seemingly winning every one of the exchanges in the later rounds and having an answer for everything Hurd had in store. Williams trainer Stephen “Breadman,” Edwards said they wanted “to replicate the Shane Mosley vs Antonio Margarito game plan. We had to stay in his chest and smother his punches” The game plan that was thought up by famed Philly based trainer Naazim Richardson worked perfectly for J Rock who captured the WBA/IBF titles via unanimous decision by scores of 116-111 and 115-112 twice.
Williams was an afterthought in a crowded division after his devastating knockout loss to Jermall Charlo back in 2016. J Rock ran off a couple of decent wins over the likes of Ishe Smith, Nathaniel Galimore, and others but nothing to suggest that he could hand in the nearly perfect performance he did on Saturday night.
The newly crowned Williams is now in control of the 154-pound division and can call his next shot. He will likely choose between rematching with Jarret Hurd, in a fight he and his team insist happen in Philidelphia this time, that Hurd come to his hometown. Or he can wait for a unification fight with the winner of the Tony Harrison vs Jermell Charlo rematch that takes place next month at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.