On Saturday night, Maryland native, ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) defended his IBF, IBO and WBA Junior Middleweight World Titles against challenger and Philadelphia native Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) in what was Hurd’s first championship fight in his hometown. As the undefeated favorite, many expected Hurd to stop Williams in the later rounds as Williams typically runs out of stamina and has a questionable chin.
From the opening bell, Hurd in stereotypical fashion, had a very slow start. Williams came out with a accurate jab, mixing his shots and easily out-landing Hurd. He troubled Hurd with tricks and did not let Hurd back him up. Instead, Williams kept turning Hurd and throwing punches off of his pivots, which frustrated the champion.
In the second round Williams turned Hurd and threw a mixture of punches dropping Hurd for the first time in his career. From that point on it was clear that Hurd was in for a real fight. Hurd, being the champion and warrior that he is did come back and win some of the middle rounds and had most of his success when Williams became inactive. Hurd could rattle off combinations keeping Williams on his back foot. But unlike other opponents, Williams never let Hurd take control of the fight for long. He outclassed him on the inside, digging his hook into Hurd’s body followed by a left hook to the head or even an uppercut. Williams kept the fight at a comfortable distance using his jab and did not stay at a long range like Hurd wanted him to. That would have allowed Hurd to control the range and distance.
We’re used to seeing opponents tire out against Hurd due to his size, physicality and punch output but not this time around. It looked to be Hurd who was the one slowing down, losing stamina from taking too many big shots, and being completely outclassed.
At the final bell of the 12th round, it was evident to all in attendance and watching at home that they had just witnessed the coronation of a new junior middleweight champion. Julian Williams, the heavy underdog, had pulled off the unanimous decision upset victory over the hometown kid Jarrett Hurd. Williams won 116-111, 115-112 x2.
It was truly amazing to see Julian Williams put on what was his best performance to date and become the champion, with all that he had gone through since his devastating defeat to Jermall Charlo in December 2016. After being knocked out in the fifth round to the then IBF champion, many fight fans and boxing critics wrote J-Rock off. Instead of folding, Williams went home and began to rebuild his career. He hired a new strength and conditioning coach, and rattled off four straight wins over Joshua Conley (14-1-1, 9KOs), Ishe Smith (29-8, 12KOs), Francisco Javier Castro (28-8, 23KOs), and Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1-1, 17KOs).
Now the question we all want to know is who’s next for J-Rock?