Interviews

Published on January 18th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford

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Julian Williams on Jeison Rosario Clash: “I’ve Prepared Myself For A Really Tough Fight!”

Unified junior middleweight champion, Julian “J Rock” Williams puts his titles on the line on Saturday night against the hard punching, Jeison Rosario.

Julian Williams (27-1-1) is familiar with the feeling of being counted out, wearing the label underdog and going into hostile environments and taking someone’s titles. Therefore, he understands what’s at stake when he defends his world-titles against, Jeison Rosario (19-1-1) of the Dominican Republic in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Back in May, Williams traveled to then champion, Jarrett Hurd’s backyard (DMV area) and dethroned the champion becoming the unified junior middleweight champion of the world and bringing those belts to Philadelphia. Williams is well aware that Rosario is not in the same position he was in, and has prepared accordingly.

Williams took time out of his camp to discuss his first title defense, the threats that Rosario poses as a challenger and much more.

Jeison Rosario, Saturday night, in your hometown. It’s gotta be a good feeling to come home for your first title defense?

Julian Williams: Yeah man! I haven’t really been thinking about the feeling. I just want to get in there and take care of business. You know what I mean. Cut off and block off the outside world because I knew this week would be hectic for me. I want to focus in as much as possible and get the job done, you know what I mean?

Definitely! It’s not ideal to come off of the biggest win of your career and have this kind of layoff, but at the same time, I’m sure you have used that time wisely.

Julian Williams: I was originally going to do the rematch in December. But whatever-whatever happened. You know what happened, boop-bop-bam, my date got pushed back an extra month. Instead of fighting December 10th, I had to wait an extra month, so it wasn’t the worse thing in the world. I fought in May, so it will be about 7 or 8 months. It’s not idea, but it ain’t the worse thing in the world.

Your trainer thought enough of Rosario to want to bring him in as sparring and you thought enough of him to shoot down that idea because you felt he could be a potential opponent. I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted to fight him had he been in camp with you.

Julian Williams: It’s hard to say if I would have because we didn’t bring him in. I just knew because we’re under the same umbrella. It’s only but so many 54ers you can fight within the umbrella. I just knew it could be a potential fight. The first time he gets in the ring with me is going to be January 18th.

Rosario consistently win fights that he’s probably not supposed to win. He’s in the same position you were in during the Jarrett Hurd fight. Both of those points make him dangerous in my book. You agree?

Julian Williams: I see the exact same thing along with a few other things that I won’t say because I want to keep them to myself. But yeah man, for the level that’s he’s been fighting on, he’s been doing his thing. He’s proven to be above that level that he’s been fighting on. Now he gotta step up to the championship level and we’re going to see how he do on Saturday night. He gets a ton of credit from me for the fights that he’s won because he can only fight who was in there with him. So, I respect him, and I’ve prepared myself for a really tough fight.

Do you pay closer attention when you’re at home watching boxing and you see a guy… any guy who just so happens to be a 154 pounder?

Julian Williams: Yep! All of his fights, I watched. Not thinking I’m going to fight him one day. He wasn’t on my radar, but he’s a 54-pounder and every 54-pounder is on my radar. It can be a 54-pounder who is 2 or 3-0 and I might take a look at him. All of the 54-pounders that DAZN got, I watch those guys too. That’s just how I am. Hell yeah. You gotta stay up on the up and coming competition because you never know. A guy could be creeping up on you and then next thing you know, he’s your mandatory.

Absolutely. I’m sure when Keith Thurman first came on the scene, Manny Pacquiao didn’t think he would still be around or in position to fight him and they ended up bumping.

Julian Williams: How about this, when Errol Spence was first starting barking at Keith Thurman, Keith was like, “Get a belt, he ain’t nobody.” Next thing you know, he’s a world-champion, he’s in the top-ten pound for pound, and he passed Keith Thurman up. It’s just crazy. You gotta keep your eyes on these guys, man. Time moves fast.

Watching the countdown show just reasserted what I already knew, you’re a genuine guy, you keep genuine people around you, and your circle is small. How important are all of those aspects?

Julian Williams: Super important, man. I ain’t doing nothing for cameras, man. What you seen on the PBC Countdown is how everyday camp is. It’s super important to have genuine people around me that’s really got my best interests at heart and I got their best interests at heart as well. It’s important for everybody to lock in because we all got one goal. Even in sparring. Ky’s [Kyrone Davis] goal is my goal as well. We both have the goal to win and push each other in camp. The coaches there… it’s the same thing. Everybody is on the same page.

You’re not driven by ego, but for me, it was good seeing you on your own countdown show, in your own space. That’s something that you can sit back with your girl, your kids and your pops and watch and be proud of.

Julian Williams: It’s cool, I’m not going to lie, but… I care about winning, Percy. I try not to get too caught up in the feel good of this shit because it can cloud your mind. Let me tell you something right, Jeison Rosario is grinding. He’s coming to take what I got. So, not to be a dick, but I try not to get caught up. I’ll enjoy these things after I win. Then I can go back and start watching videos, countdown shows and the fight, and stuff like that. Right now, I’m not trying to get caught up in the feel-good part. Because it can turn bad and I can be feeling bad real quick.

That’s a great point because people wrote you off literally from one punch. Not a bad fight performance, one punch, so you know what the other side looks like.

Julian Williams: Yep! I lived it.

I’m not knocking any of the guys that do it, but you’re not into the jewelry, showing off your cars, is that just your upbringing that doesn’t make that stuff appealing to you?

Julian Williams: You know what, man… I don’t know. I definitely think it’s my upbringing. A lot of these guys… I ain’t knocking nobody. People do what they want. Let me tell you something, these guys work just as hard as me, taking punches just like me, they running miles and cutting weight, so they can do what they want to do with their money. But I just feel like, today’s athletes wanna be rappers and the rappers wanna be the athletes. I just think it’s a little bit backwards. I just don’t wanna be another cliche, man. You know what I mean. Can I go buy a million dollars’ worth of jewelry, sure I can, but is it going to make any money on my neck? It’s just going to depreciate. I ain’t going to make no money off of it. I’m going to be putting the jewelry’s kids through college. When I’m taking away from my own kids. That’s just my personal opinion on it, man. People do what they want with their money. Some of the jewelry look cool, but then everybody starts to look like each other. That’s just me, man. Maybe I’m whack (laughing). The jewelry thing is cool, but that’s just not my way.

The conversation when you’re fighting at home will always be distractions. How have you kept them to a minimum?

Julian Williams: My circle so small, Percy. It’s like 4-days that you’re going to see in my locker room, man. Steve [Stephen Edwards], Aasim, my dad and Mikey Rodriguez; that’s it. And Mike don’t come to camp with me. When we’re in the gym, and we’re in camp, my circle is tight. My strength coach, Tony will be in there too. Will it be extra distractions, of course. But I tell people straight up, “Don’t take it personal. I ain’t giving no tickets out. You going to support me, you gotta purchase just like you do when you go watch, Floyd Mayweather or when you fly out to New York to watch Triple G.” Support me the same way, you know what I’m saying. Those who genuinely want to support will and those who don’t can watch it on TV and if not, that’s cool too. But I want to see everybody out there.

I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit, but obviously you’re expecting to be victorious on Saturday night. Are you anticipated someone getting in the ring to call you out and how do you feel about that?

Julian Williams: I actually think it’s good for the sport. That’s what people want to see. People want to see controversy and that’s what sells. Everybody wonder why Jermell Charlo and Tony Harrison’s numbers were so good. It was a little bit of static and controversy there. That’s what people want to see. WWE arenas stay filled up for a reason. It’s kind of like that but just real. I don’t know if I’m going to get any call outs or have anybody come in the ring, but it’s all good. I just care about winning, man. That’s all I care about.

Not to reveal the plan, but what “J Rock” has to show up to secure victory?

Julian Williams: A focused “J Rock.” I just gotta be focused, listen to my coach, listen to my corner; block out the noise. Let me tell you something, it’s much easier fighting when you got 6,000 of somebody else’s fans screaming at you than 6,000 of your own fans screaming at you. You got family and niggaz you grew up with in middle school. It can be a little bit different. But I had some practice because I fought in Bethlehem a few times a few years ago. That’s like an hour away from Philly, so it was a Philly crowd. It’s just a bigger stage that’s all. I’m just going to focus in and do my thing, man.

My New Orleans Saints loss at home, your Philadelphia Eagles loss at home, so I’m going to need a hell of a performance out of you on Saturday night, bro (laughing).

Julian Williams: (Laughing). I got you, man. Everybody tune-in. If you’re in the tri-state area, come on down and support me please.

 

 



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