Julian Williams’ patience has been tested for much of this year as he waited to see if he would get his first shot at a world title.
But with a showdown against 154-pound titleholder Jermall Charlo finally set for December 10 in Los Angeles, Williams has traded his lingering frustration for assured anticipation as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career.
“I thought Jermall was putting the fight off for whatever reason,” Williams said. “The whole process has made me practice my patience, but that’s water under the bridge. I’m training like a savage for this fight, and it’s going to be a shootout.”
Julian Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs) has been awaiting his title shot since dominating Italy’s Marcello Matano in a seventh-round TKO in March, but Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) was granted an exemption to defend his crown against Austin Trout in May.
Charlo defeated Trout by unanimous decision to retain his title, but Williams was put on hold again when Charlo underwent LASIK surgery in July and received a 60-day medical exemption for his mandatory title defense.
Also swirling around were rumors that Charlo would vacate his title and move up to the 160-pound division, prompting Williams to call out the champ in the ring after beating Matano.
“I didn’t really know about the medical situation until about mid-September,” Williams said. “People were saying he was scared; I never thought he was scared. I just thought he had trouble making weight. I didn’t know if Jermall was going to move up or not.
“I knew I was going to get a title shot in my next fight; I just didn’t know if was going to be against Jermall or not. I think Jermall knows it’s going to be a tough fight with me, and I don’t think he wants to go into a tough fight knowing that he was having weight problems.”
The title clash was originally scheduled for October 1 before Charlo received his medical exemption. But with the bout now less than three weeks away, Williams is excited about the opportunity ahead of him.
“I’m glad I’m fighting Jermall, who is considered one of the best,” Williams said. “It’s always better to fight against a guy that everybody wants to see you fight. If it had been for a vacant title against a Joe Blow or something, then it wouldn’t mean as much.
“It would have been more, ‘Oh, he didn’t fight the best.’ But Jermall says he’s on his ‘A’ game, has no excuses about weight and his vision is 20/20. You’ve got a 50-50 fight, two 26-year-old guys in the prime of their careers. I think it’s definitely the first step in building my legacy.”
Williams has been a wrecking ball in the ring even as he has stepped up his competition, stopping four of his last five opponents and going nine straight fights without losing a single round.
His trainer, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, believes that “J-Rock” will continue his run of devastation, even against a boxer as talented as Charlo.
“It’s very rewarding for Julian to finally be one step away from accomplishing his dream of being a world champion,” Edwards said. "He wanted to fight an undefeated fighter to win his first world title toward being in the Hall of Fame.
“I believe this is going to be a very violent fight, and that Julian’s going to brutally knock out Jermall—like a career-ruining knockout. Julian’s 100 percent focused and ready to go.”
For a complete look at Charlo vs Williams, visit our fight page.