According to a report at ESPN.com, Julian "J-Rock" Williams will be in the main event fight of a March 5 tripleheader card on Showtime, facing Italy's Marcello Matano in an IBF title eliminator at 154 pounds, with the winner in line to face Jermall Charlo later this year.
Williams (21-0-1, 13 KO) is a 25-year-old prospect from Philadelphia who has worked his way toward the top 10 of the division after 2015 wins against Joey Hernandez, Arman Ovsepyan, and Luciano Cuello. His last fight against Cuello in September was a statement, a TKO-1 in 1:33 over a solid vetearn fighter who has been in the ring with the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Canelo Alvarez. In 2009, Cuello lost a tight decision to Chavez, and in 2010 he was stopped by Alvarez, but in the sixth round. Williams laid waste to the Spaniard, and put himself in the mix.
Matano (16-1, 5 KO) is pretty much a complete unknown. The 29-year-old Italian, nicknamed "Il Capitano," has never fought outside of his home country, and his best wins have been at the European level, and even that might be a generous description. To give it some perspective, BoxRec have him ranked 49th in the world at junior middleweight, behind the likes of Carson Jones, Glen Tapia, and Jan Zaveck. So try to imagine any of those guys being eliminator opponents for Williams, to give yourself a feel of what kind of matchup this may turn out to be.
Also on the card that night, middleweight prospect Antoine Douglas (19-0-1, 13 KO) will face veteran Sam Soliman (44-13, 18 KO) in a 10-round fight. Soliman, 42, has lost back-to-back fights to Jermain Taylor and Dominic Wade. And the third fight will see Detroit's Tony Harrison (22-1, 18 KO) face Fernando Guerrero (28-3, 20 KO) in a 10-round junior middleweight bout. Guerrero is a busted prospect at 29, and Harrison, 25, is looking to avoid that same tag after a loss last July to Willie Nelson. Harrison returned in October with a victory against Cecil McCalla.
As of now, this card would go up against an HBO event that same night, but that show could be in jeopardy if Luis Ortiz cannot find a new opponent for his main event.