Jeison Rosario is still holding the clubhouse leader for Upset of the Year for his Jan. 18 win over Julian Williams in Philadelphia, when the unheralded Dominican went to the backyard of the WBA/IBF 154-pound titleholder and definitively took the belts via fifth round stoppage.
The 25-year-old Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KO) shot from outside most independent top 10s into the top two or three in the division with that victory, and says it was every bit the life-changer and big win for him that you’d think it was.
“It was very emotional,” he told PBC’s Ray Flores, who also translated the interview. “You all saw I couldn’t hold back the tears, I was overwhelmed by emotion. It was a very momentous occasion for me. It was just such a joyous occasion.”
Rosario said he didn’t have concerns about fighting in Williams’ backyard, feeling he could win by decision, but that he prepared to not leave it in the judges’ hands. He also said he wasn’t surprised that a confident Williams fought aggressively.
“It didn’t surprise me that he came forward and was trying to be aggressive,” he said. “I know that Julian Williams was very confident heading into that fight against me. So it did not surprise me whatsoever that he was aggressive and walking forward, but I was prepared for it.”
The 154-pound division has proven to be unpredictable in the last couple of years, with nobody truly emerging as the standout top guy in the division. The best argument goes to WBC titleholder Jermell Charlo, whose only loss was both controversial and avenged.
And if he had a choice, Rosario says Charlo is the man he’d face next, looking to further and eventually fully unify the division.
“I’m familiar with Jermell Charlo. He wants my titles, I want his title. I want to be able to unify the junior middleweight division,” he said, adding, “My objective, if I had my choice, is Jermell Charlo. He is the best in the division and I want to prove that I am truly the best at 154.”
One thing he doesn’t have to worry about for the moment is a rematch with Williams, who passed on exercising the clause in his contract. Williams also had underwent a surgery to have some scar tissue cleaned out from around both eyes, and has said he’ll be coming back with a tune-up, but then will focus on trying to regain the belts he lost.