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Story by Frank Bartolini
Photos by Stephanie Trapp / TGB Promotions & Leo Wilson / PBC


[EDITOR'S NOTE]  West Philly's Julian "J-Rock" Williams turned in a brilliant and determined performance in his second try at a world title Saturday night. The 5-1 underdog was magnificent in a dominant victory against the rugged and streaking WBA & IBF champion  Jarrett Hurd. Many thought Hurd would be too strong for the talented Williams, but J-Rock left no room for doubt in this one. He out-boxed, out-muscled, and out-punched the betting favorite with a fight plan designed by trainer Stephen "Breadman" Edwards that was as impressive as J-Rock's performance. Williams won the fight to become boxing's newest star and Philly's latest champion. Boxing scribe Frank Bartolini was at ringside for the big night in Fairfax, VA when Julian Williams and Philadelphia's Stephen Fulton both struck gold. He posted the following report...

In a fight for the WBA & IBF junior middleweight championship, Julian "J-Rock" Williams came to Jarrett Hurd's home turf of the EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University, and crashed the local champion's homecoming party. Williams scored a 12-round unanimous decision and returned to Philadelphia with Hurd's belts.  

At the start, all those in attendance loudly cheered Hurd as he entered the ring decked out in Washington Redskins inspired-gear. Moments later, there was a collective gasp when ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced that the beloved boxing judge and broadcaster Harold Lederman had passed away earlier in the day.

From the opening bell, Williams applied pressure on the champion. Expecting Williams,153.8 lbs, to box from a distance, Hurd, 153.8 lbs, looked baffled when the challenger employed an in-your-face approach. Unable to quickly adjust to Williams, Hurd hit the deck in the second round after absorbing a quick combo to the head followed by a left hook. Once Hurd regained his faculties, he may have realized that Williams' strength was almost equal to his. Unable to employ his customary bullying tactics, Hurd was behind the eight ball. He admitted this afterward saying, “He was a lot sharper and a little better than I thought. They had a game plan that worked better”.

As he gained his bearings a few rounds into the contest, Hurd tried to employ whatever limited physical superiority he possessed, but to no avail. During round eight, Hurd was cut over his left eye. He battled with true grit and determination, and was able to bag a few rounds. But J-Rock never let go of the momentum he set in round one, and repeatedly snapped Hurd's head back with uppercuts.

Throughout the affair, Williams utilized a nifty move when he backed Hurd against the ropes. There along the ropes, he stepped to his right, as if he was throwing a right hand, and instead released a blind-side left hook to Hurd's chin. This tactic caught Hurd several times and buckled his knees more than once. Closing the show, Williams dominated a worn out Hurd in the last round.

Just looking at the expression on Hurd’s cut and bruised face left no question about the outcome. Judges Steve Weisfeld and Robin Taylor scored the fight 115-112. Alfred Polanco's score was more in line with my score at 116-111. All three totals favored the new champion Julian J-Rock Williams.

Exuding nothing but class the former champ, Hurd said, “I”m going to come back. He was the better man tonight”. Losing his belt and undefeated record, Hurd is now 23-1 (16 KOs). 

Raising his record to 27-1-1 (16 KOs), the new king J-Roc said, “The whole world doubted me. I outclassed him. I was a five to one underdog. The only people that believed in me, were my team”.

Following this effort J-Rock surely accumulated more believers. 


Prior to winning the title in the main event, Williams left the sanctity of his locker room and indiscreetly sat alone in a chair behind press row to watch his stable mate Stephen Fulton capture the International Boxing Organization junior featherweight title.

Turning in a splendid performance, Fulton, Philadelphia, PA, outfought, outclassed and outright beat IBO champ Paulus Ambunda, of Namibia, to garner a twelve round unanimous decision. Weighing in right on the button at 122 lbs, Fulton fought flawlessly.

Regulated to nothing more than the canvas Fulton painted his masterpiece on, Ambunda hardly landed a punch. Floored by a right to the head in the eighth, Ambunda continued to press forward, even as his chances of victory thinned. Unscathed and appearing as if he did not even fight yet, Fulton's hand was raised after twelve heats. Without contemplation all three judges' scores called the fight a 120-107 shutout for Fulton.

Fulton said, “It’s like a perfect game. Look no marks on me. I feel great. After he got up from the knockdown, I seen he kept coming forward, and I out-boxed him until the end”. Already looking for greater challenges, Fulton went on to say, “ I want to fight every world champion in my weightclass. My choice would be to fight Daniel Roman next”.

Popular consensus dictates Philly is the best fight scene in the USA. Not as renowned, DC and the surrounding area's pugilistic landscape is also good and produces world champs. Notably the fight card was filled with locals attempting  to show off their wares which made it remarkable how these two Philly natives stole the show.

A near packed house of 7,500 crowded the arena. TGB Promotions promoted the festivities in association with Premier Boxing Champions, and four bouts were nationally televised in primetime by Fox.




Frank Bartolini - Fairfax, VA - May 11, 2019