So much for the hometown advantage. Julian Williams shocked the world tonight, upsetting Jarrett Hurd to win the WBA and IBF junior middleweight titles in Hurd’s backyard, taking the belts on scores of 115-112, 115-112, and 116-111.
Bad Left Hook scored the fight 117-110 for Williams.
Williams (27-1-1, 16 KO) proved he was not only able to outbox Hurd (23-1, 16 KO), which many expected that he could, but that he could also hang with the bigger, more physically imposing defending titleholder, who came in with the reputation of breaking opponents down even when they had more skill than he did.
Williams dropped Hurd in the second round, and was able to bang it out with Hurd throughout the fight, doing more damage and never seeming in any notable trouble himself.
Hurd did rally a bit in the middle rounds, but just when it looked like he had momentum, Williams shut it all down and took the fight over once again, both starting fast and closing strong.
It was the fight of Julian Williams’ life, a deserved victory and confirmation that he is indeed one of the best in the world at 154 pounds.
Williams was tearful in his post-fight interview, having achieved his dreams and come back from defeat when he was counted out.
“They told me I was done, told me I had no chin,” Williams said, referring to his 2016 loss to Jermall Charlo. “I’m just so blessed. Jarrett’s such a great fighter and he pushed me. The boxing world, they make it seem like fighters take a loss and can’t come back. I just knew that wasn’t the case. Boxing world, stop condemning fighters when they take a loss. Keep supporting Jarrett, because Jarrett is a great fighter.”
Williams was asked if he wanted to do a rematch next, or fight the winner of the June 23 WBC title rematch between Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo, but he put that to the side for now.
“That’s not my business right now. I’m gonna just enjoy my win,” he said. “If Jarrett wants a rematch, we can do it in Philadelphia. I’m sure Philadelphia will welcome him just like I was welcomed.”
Hurd made zero excuses after the fight, denying that any nerves fighting at home played a part.
“J-Rock was the better man tonight. He put me down for the first time in my career and he came out with the victory,” Hurd said. “No nerves or anything. I suffered two cuts, but I was able to finish the fight. J-Rock was just the better man tonight. I’ll be back, baby. You know I’ll be back.”