Interviews

Published on January 18th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford

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Trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards Not Dismissive of “Dangerous,” Jeison Rosario!

Stephen “Breadman” Edwards preps, Julian Williams for his first title defense on Saturday night against, Jeison Rosario in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It’s been a long journey for fighter/trainer combo, Julian Williams and Stephen “Breadman” Edwards. And like many relationships in boxing, it’s had its fair share of peaks and valleys. Although the journey wasn’t easy, it’s been well worth it. Last May the duo reached the pinnacle, when Julian defeated then undefeated Jarrett Hurd and walked away with Hurd’s WBA, IBF and IBO world titles. Becoming the unified junior middleweight champion of the world. Williams was a heavy underdog heading into that fight. Fast forward to January 18th, 2020. Williams will be making his first title defense against once beaten [19-1-1], hard hitting, Jeison Rosario from the Dominican Republic. The fight takes place in Williams’ hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I caught up with, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards the trainer of Julian Williams who takes us through what camp was like, his expectations for this fight and why no one should overlook Rosario as an opponent.

Ideally, an 8-month layoff is not the type of time you’re looking to take coming off the biggest win of your career. However, Julian Williams is the consummate professional and I’m sure training or motivation won’t be an issue on January 18th.

Stephen Edwards: No! Every fight is different. Great fighters and self-driven athletes always rise to the top. You just have to find different reasons to motivate yourself. Everybody is wired differently. For this fight… who wants to lose their title on the first title defense? Pride is a motivation, obviously this will be his biggest payday, but if he wins this one, the payday gets much bigger. So, money is a motivation, legacy is a motivation. You find all kinds of ways to motivate yourself, Perc. So, I’m not too concerned about how motivated he is because every fight is different, he’s fighting a different individual and you will just find a different lane to motivate yourself in.

Any regrets of waiting to see what, Jarrett Hurd was going to do? He initially committed to the rematch and then he said he was moving up in weight, only to stay at 154 and fight a different opponent. Looking at the layoff now, do you wish you had moved on sooner?

Stephen Edwards: I can’t really regret something that wasn’t in our control. He had an immediate rematch clause in the contract for the first fight. So, it’s not like we had the option to just move on. He exercised his rematch clause and then chose not to fight us again. I can’t really regret it because we had no control over it. It’s not like we were just sitting around wanting to fight him again. It was like, “Okay, we gotta fight this guy again, so we gotta do the honorable thing, and honor the contract and fight him again.” The structure of boxing is a little bit messed up. The top guys only fight twice a year and if somebody postpones a fight or screws you over then you’re going to be out of the ring for more than 6-months which is what you never want to do. But there is nothing to regret because it wasn’t our choice.

Call it intuition or whatever, but it’s kind of two-fold. You saw enough in Jeison Rosario to want to bring him in to spar with, Julian, and in turn, Julian saw enough in him to shoot down that idea because he thought he was talented enough to potentially be an opponent and here we are.

Stephen Edwards: It worked out perfectly. If I would have brought him in as a sparring partner, I wouldn’t have taken this fight. So, it definitely worked out.

You make it clear that you know exactly who, Rosario is. What makes him a dangerous opponent in your opinion?

Stephen Edwards: He’s young, ambitious, hard punch, you can’t measure his ambition. This is his first title shot, he’s going to train like a savage. He’s a really dangerous opponent. Anytime a guy is getting his first title shot, I know they probably promised him a million-dollar purse if he wins. It’s could be a very tough fight. Perc, I’m never going to be dismissive of any opponent. Anybody in the top 15 or ranked high enough to get a title shot, you gotta take them seriously. I will never be dismissive of any opponent. When I hear guys say, “I never heard of this guy. I don’t know him.” That’s a crock of shit. I’m going to do my research. I watch boxing. I may not be able to pronounce a guy’s name, but I know who he is. I knew who he was. I have seen him fight at least five times before we had him as an opponent.

He consistently wins fights that I don’t think he was brought in to win, Justin DeLoach, Jamontay Clark and even the way he ended the rematch against Marco Hernandez by knockout. That, to me is why he’s so scary because he walks into every fight thinking he can win.

Stephen Edwards: It shows character. The only fight that he was probably supposed to win that he didn’t was the, Nathaniel Gallimore fight. It shows character. It shows that he can rise to the occasion. It shows that he don’t mind being the B-side in a fight. People can say what they want, I know this is a dangerous opponent. I’m not going to allow other people’s dismissiveness or somebody trying to put him down because they don’t know who he is, and make it seem like this is some walk in the park because it’s not.

Some of the countdown shows that I watch, I feel some of if not a lot of the stuff is for camera. You guys seem to have a real genuine camp, and what you see is what you get.

Stephen Edwards: 100%! We don’t invite nobody extra to the gym. I just don’t let people come to the gym and do what they wanna do. With our sparring, the coach and the fighter come. We just don’t do a lot of extra stuff. I’m not just going to let anybody come and tag on for this ride if they weren’t there through the bumpy spots. You can’t come now if you weren’t there before. And when you have that many people around you, Perc, you start to take in their energy, and take in their personalities and their problems. Everybody don’t bring good energy to the table. If you don’t serve a purpose, there is no need to be around. That’s just how we are and how I want to keep it.

Being around a lot of people aggravate me. You know, when you have guest at your house, you probably show them a lot of love, but eventually you want people to go home. You can’t have more people than your wife and your kids living in your house. Eventually, their energy… closing the bathroom door, going outside late at night. Eventually, that aggravates you, you know what I’m saying. It’s the same way in a boxing gym with a fight. I don’t need that many people around us when we’re getting ready for something so serious like a boxing match. People start offering you their opinion and they think it’s okay. “You should do this, you should fight this guy,” and that’s crazy. It’s crazy how entitled people are sometimes. I keep it real short. The only people I want to talk to during camp is, Aasim [Beyah] and Julian. I don’t need to talk to nobody else. I don’t need nobody else’s opinion on what we should be doing. That’s just that.

I know it’s cliche to talk about distractions for a homecoming fight, but the thought it always there. How have you and Julian avoided the distractions that could come along with fighting at home?

Stephen Edwards: As a coach, I’m never going to get caught up in it, Perc. My mind is always clear. I’m always going to do what I gotta do. I’m 43-years old, man. I’m not going to let nothing pull me off of my square. If Julian wants to be another, Jarrett Hurd, then that’s on him. And I mean that. If he wants to do what Hurd did, that’s on him. We not coming out to no marching band. He knows that people have their own agenda, and he knows he can’t be pulled off his square. I’m not going to be babysitting him. He knows what he has to do and it’s just that simple. Sometimes the people around you just keeps you grounded. We don’t keep no big crowds. We get the tickets when we get them, and that’s just that. Don’t call us and don’t bother us. You know what I mean, Perc (laughing). It’s not going to be that hard. I’m not going to let people run him raggedy with a bunch of different obligations. We’re going to do a couple of little fight-week kind of things and that’s it. we’re not going to make this into anything that’s not productive to him not winning this fight.

What type of performance satisfies you on Saturday night?

Stephen Edwards: First we gotta get the win, after you get the win, you want to see progress from his last fight. Even though in his last fight he fought a good fight, I think he can be better. I want to see him come out of the ring safe. And after all of that, obviously this is a business, you want him to impress. If you can impress in a big fight, you get a bigger fight. So, I definitely want to see him be impressive. But the first thing is to get the win and you get the win however you have to get it.

With the junior middleweight division being so loaded with talent… let me ask you this, are you expected someone in the division to be in attendance and for them to enter the ring considering all goes well and call, Julian out? And how do you feel about those in-ring call outs?

Stephen Edwards: It honestly doesn’t make me any difference. If someone wants to get in the ring and call Julian out, I don’t care, bro. I understand this is a business, I understand you gotta put on a show. As long as nobody is being disrespectful or taking it overboard and pushing and doing all that kind of stuff. I don’t care about that kind of stuff. It’s the way of the world.

You will be pulling triple duty that night. You have some other fighters going as well. Does that make camps easier because you have all guys going at the same time?

Stephen Edwards: Yes, I have Kyrone Davis fighting and I have a kid named, Romuel Cruz as well fighting that night. It doesn’t bother me in terms of camp. As I have gained more experience as a trainer, I have learned to customize my day to what the guys need. It’s no big deal. It’s love, man. It’s nothing. I have been doing this for a while, Perc. The only issue is what time am I going to wrap everybody’s hands. That’s the biggest issue I got. The rest is easy work. Ready to fight.

I appreciate the time, good luck on Saturday night and we will speak afterwards for sure. Is there anything else you want to add?

Stephen Edwards: I appreciate you, Perc. Always have.



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