The Liacouras Centre in Philadelphia is the setting for the homecoming of Julian Williams (27-1-1, KO16) this Saturday night, as he makes a first defence of his WBA (Super) IBF and IBO Super Welterweight titles against Jeison Rosario (19-1-1, KO13).
“J Rock” Williams was last seen in May last year, when he annexed all three titles he currently holds from the waist of Jarrett Hurd in a shock unanimous points win, knocking down the champion in the second round.
The 29-year-old had previously challenged for a version of world honours in December 2016, where Jermall Charlo knocked him out in five rounds in a tilt at the IBF belt.
Rosario, who competes in his first twelve rounder, gets his chance at the big prize as a result of being ranked number five by the IBF and nine by the WBA, however his record suggests he won’t pose too many problems to Williams.
“Banana” was stopped in six rounds after being dropped three times by Nathaniel Gallimore in April 2017 in his first career defeat. Meanwhile, a year later Williams defeated Gallimore via majority decision over twelve.
Since that reverse, the 24-year-old has won seven out of his last eight fights, with his sole blemish a six round draw with Mark Anthony Hernandez in a tough to score affair.
The Dominican Republic-born, Rosario did right that wrong in February last year, stopping Hernandez in the ninth of their rematch in Minneapolis. He has had one further outing since that win, an April 2019 ten round split decision win against Jorge Cota.
Prediction: Williams has a perfect first voluntary defence here in his hometown, and he should be able to overcome the challenge of Rosario with enough comfort. I think Williams will figure his man out early, before forcing a stoppage somewhere after the halfway mark.
Chief support comes in the form of an Interim WBA Super Featherweight title match.
Brooklynite, Chris Colbert (13-0, KO5) makes the leap up into levels, as he meets the former WBA (Super) champion, Jezzrel Corrales (23-3, KO9). The current full WBA “Super” champion is Leo Santa Cruz.
Colbert is very much green in professional terms, but blasted his way into contention last time out with a one round stoppage of former world title challenger Miguel Beltran, with a monster over hand right causing the damage.
As an amateur, the 23-year-old compiled a 103-3 record, winning five national titles and the Al Haymon charge is ready to make the step up.
Corrales, 28, has plenty on the clock already, but is accustomed to being the underdog, illustrated in his spectacular two round knockout victory over Takashi Uchiyama in April 2016 to win the WBA (Super) title in his opponent’s backyard.
The Panamanian showed this was no fluke with a split decision win in the rematch, also in Japan. Corrales would eventually lose his title on the scales, and then saw Alberto Machado claim it a day later with an eighth round knockout win, with Corrales comfortably ahead on the cards until that point.
A knockout comeback win followed, but the former world champion was again defeated in his last fight, a ten round split decision loss to Ladarius Miller in July 2019.
Prediction: This seems a perfectly timed match for both, with Colbert on the up and Corrales showing a slide in form in his last few appearances. I expect Colbert to stick to his boxing skills to take a clear points win.