Williams to defend super-welterweight crowns against Rosario


Washington (AFP)

Hometown hero Julian Williams will defend his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super-welterweight titles Saturday against Dominican challenger Jeison Rosario in a showdown at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Williams, 27-1-1 with 16 knockouts, will defend for the first time the crowns he won from previously unbeaten American Jarrett Hurd by unanimous decision last May in suburban Washington.

"I'm thankful to be in this position to bring my titles back to my city, but I'm not thinking about it or letting it distract me from Rosario," Williams said.

"I'm locked in on fight night and having my hand raised."

Rosario, 19-1-1 with 13 knockouts, gets his first chance at a world crown after five consecutive wins, most recently a split-decision win over Mexico's Jorge Cota last April.

"This is an opportunity I've been working so long for and I'm going to take full advantage of it," Rosario said.

"I feel strong and confident. There's no pressure on me and I'm very motivated."

Rosario expects a brutal battle for the 154-pound (69.9kg) crown while Williams says bring it on.

"I'll definitely let my hands do the talking for me on fight night," Williams said.

"He keeps saying we're going to have a war because he can't do anything else with me."

Williams is the longest tenured current champion at super-welterweight, with Jermell Charlo having taken the World Boxing Council crown last month and Brazil's Patrick Teixeira capturing the World Boxing Organziation title in November.

Williams suffered his only loss in 2016 to Charlo by knockout but has won five bouts since. Rosario's lone loss came when he was stopped by Nathaniel Gallimore in 2017. He has seven wins and a draw since.