On Saturday, May 11, 2019, the Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia played host to a Jr. Middleweight world title clash between unified IBF, WBA and IBO champion, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) as he defended his undefeated record and titles against Philadelphia native and top contender, Julian “J Rock” Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs).
The championship matchup, which aired live on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox, ended via unanimous decision with the challenger upsetting the hometown hero and champion with scores of 116-111 and 115-112 twice.
The fight was billed as a homecoming for Hurd, who calls Accokeek, Maryland home, which is only a short drive down the road from Northern Virginia.
Going into the fight, Hurd had won 10 out of his last 12 fights by stoppage. The local kid with the ridiculous motor and cumulative power that wears the best of fighters down said all the right things in the build up to this bout and was fully embraced by local fans and organizations alike, including the Washington Redskins and DC United.
It was a lot of pressure and fanfare to live up to, and although he didn’t look for any excuses after losing, it could have been too much for the young champion.
For Williams, he was able to deliver something that local football fans have unfortunately grown accustomed to when the Redskins face their divisional rival, the Philadelphia Eagles–a primetime defeat.
The game plan seemed pretty clear cut beforehand in terms of what each man had to do to get the victory. It was believed that Hurd would start slow, while Williams built a points lead on the cards. But many thought that eventually, the champion would wear his opponent down like he’s down so many times in the past.
The people who thought that were dead wrong.
Instead of retreating and boxing, Williams came out pressing forward and as early as the second round had Hurd in trouble. Much to the dismay of the home crowd, Williams manhandled the champion against the ropes and scored a knockdown.
From there, Williams showed that he is as high energy and tactful on the inside as any 154-pound fighter in the world.
The only way to describe what unfolded in the next few rounds is that the bully got bullied. Even when Hurd unleashed his offense, Williams would come back and land the cleaner and harder blows.
Not to be completely shut down, Hurd began having some success fighting on the inside midway through the fight. Although the crowd rallied behind their champ, the Philly native was not deterred and came back with his own attack.
Williams surprisingly kept taking the fight to Hurd, who had to deal with two cuts as well as precise uppercuts from Williams all night.
After 12 hard-fought rounds, most of the media ringside were in agreement that Williams had done enough to earn the victory–the judges saw it the same way.
Williams rejoiced after the scores were announced and reflected on just how far he’s come since his first pro loss against Jermall Charlo.
“Maybe I wasn’t ready for the title the first time I got the shot,” said Williams. “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. The only people that believed in me were my team, but all I can say is ‘and the new’!”
Hurd was gracious in defeat and thanked his hometown fans for all of the support while acknowledging just how well Williams fought.
“I want to thank everyone who came out. J Rock was the better man tonight,” said Hurd. “He put me down for the first time in my career.”
As for what’s next, only time will tell but the 154-pound division seems wide open with tons of exciting matchups between the likes of Julian Williams, Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Tony Harrison and more.
One thing is for certain, Hurd wants a rematch and vows to come back better.
“I definitely want the rematch,” said Hurd. “They can stitch me up right now and I could go out there and do it. But there’s definitely a rematch clause in our contract and I’m going to go for it. I’m going to come back better than I was tonight.”