Julian “J-Rock’’ Williams knew he was walking into the lion’s den when he traveled from Philadelphia to Virginia to face undefeated unified super welterweight champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in his backyard.
But Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) wasn’t afraid.
He came. He saw and he conquered Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs), scoring a 12-round unanimous decision, handing Hurd his first loss and taking the IBF, WBA and IBO championships before a hometown crowd at the EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University.
Here is what the fighters are trainer had to say:
“He is a lot sharper than I expected. I knew he had great inside game. It was a little better than I expected. He landed some great shots inside. I thought the close fight was going to benefit me, but it went to both sides.
“I was surprised when I went down because the punch really wasn’t on my face or chin, it was on the side of the head and I fell over. I wasn’t dizzy, but it did surprise me.
“The pressure didn’t get to me. I just feel like J-Rock truly was the better man tonight. I kind of think hearing my hometown with my name being chanted, it caused me to try a little harder instead of just staying relaxed and take my time. That could have played a part, but no excuses.
“I felt like they had a game plan that worked better tonight. We also had a game plan and it was to keep the pressure on him, but he came in shape and he came out the victor.
“I definitely want the rematch. They can stitch me up right now and I could go out there and do it.
“If I could do it differently, I would have taken my time more. I was trying too hard to land big punches. I saw that I started to hurt him in the sixth round. I had him on the ropes. I was trying to keep that momentum in the middle rounds. If I had kept that momentum, I would have won the fight.”
“I am just overwhelmed. This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him. I am one of the best fighters in the world. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the title the first time I got the shot.
“I took the loss. I took it like a man and the whole world doubted me. I went into this fight a five to one underdog. I
“He wasn’t easier to hit than I thought. He was crafty and he had heavy hands. I just stayed poised. I listened to my coach and I just worked.
“He couldn’t hurt me. I saw everything he was throwing. I knocked him down.
“The game plan was to win however I could. I adapted on the fly. We knew he had certain tendencies and worked on his tendencies.
“This is a dream come true. I have been waiting for this for years. I never ditched the gym. I never got into girls or left the gym. I am from the streets, but I was never in the streets. I was in the gym practicing my craft.
“The only people that believed in me were my team, but all I can say is ‘and the new’!”
ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ, Hurd Trainer
“It was J-Rock’s night. There is nothing you can say about it.
“He was humbled by a tough defeat. Won three or four fights and then did his job.
“I realized after the third round, I could see he was thinking and doing what I expected.
“It wasn’t the pressure of being home for Jarrett. J-Rock was the better fighter tonight.
“We want the rematch. Our preparation will be better.”
STEPHEN EDWARDS, Williams Trainer
“I am not shocked. I am just happy. We just knew that we were going to win. There are certain things that you just know. He trained so hard and he was so ready, I just knew.
“We studied him. Both me and Julian. We had him down pat. We knew Julian was stronger.
“I don’t know if Hurd underestimated Julian. That is for him to know. I am just happy.”