LOS ANGELES: Julian Williams shocked previously unbeaten Jarrett Hurd to seize the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association super welterweight world titles by unanimous 12-round decision on Saturday.
Williams sent Hurd to the canvas for the first time in his career on the way to the victory in an action-packed bout in Fairfax, Virginia, not far from Hurd’s home turf in Maryland.
“I’m just so blessed,” said Williams, who couldn’t hold back tears as he was interviewed in the ring after the fight, draped in his world title belts.
One judge scored the bout 116-111 and two others saw it 115-112 for Williams, who improved to 27-1-1 with 17 knockouts.
Williams went toe-to-toe with the bigger, physically imposing Hurd and in the second round a combination of punches sent Hurd down against the ropes.
Williams pummelled Hurd again in the third before the champion began to assert himself in the middle rounds.
Williams, however, wouldn’t go away pushing the action with solid punches to Hurd’s head and body.
Hurd was cut around right eye in the eighth but came back hard in the ninth as both pressed the action to the end.
“J-Rock (Williams) was a better man tonight,” Hurd said. “He put me down for the first time in my career and he came out with the victory.”
But, Hurd vowed, “I’ll be back.”
Williams notched his fifth win since his lone defeat, a fifth-round knockout by Jermall Charlo in December 2016.
He was emotional in recalling that many wrote him off in the wake of that setback.
“I worked so hard,” Williams said. “They told me I was done. They told me I had no chin. I just got basic.
“The boxing world should stop condemning fighters after they take a loss. It’s boxing, things happen.
“Plenty of great fighters took losses.”
As to whether he next wants a rematch with Hurd or possibly a shot at Charlo – who takes on Brandon Adams on June 29 in a World Boxing Council title bout – Williams said he’d leave that to his camp.
“That’s not my business,” he said.