Plenty of boxers talk before a fight about how they want the knockout because they don’t get paid by the hour. Well, Julian Williams lived it Tuesday night at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
From the opening bell, Williams overwhelmed Luciano Cuello with a series of unstoppable right hands thrown with increasing savagery before referee Gary Rosato stepped in at 1:33 of the first round to end the fight. In so doing, Williams served notice to the rest of the 154-pound division that a new player is ready to make his name known.
Cuello (35-4, 17 KOs) is a veteran fighter who went the distance with Willie Nelson and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and made it into the sixth round against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. He barely cleared 90 seconds against Williams.
“He gave Willie Nelson a tooth-and-nail fight, and he probably could have beat Chavez, and I wiped him out in one round,” Julian Williams said. “I think that speaks volumes for me, how much I’m improving. My punching power, for people who were questioning it, I think that says a lot.”
Williams (21-0, 13 KOs) came out and tested a couple of jabs before firing a combination to the body that slowed Cuello down. Cuello tried to get in once, and Willaims rebuffed him with a counter jab. Cuello redoubled his effort and had to fade a sharp uppercut as his reward.
From there, Cuello abandoned his attempt to fight inside, and Williams used the opportunity to to box, firing a right that split Cuello’s high guard and snapped his head back as blood started to leak out of Cuello’s nose.
“I wanted to come out and establish my jab,” Williams said. “That’s always the key: establishing jab and establishing distance. I knew that he was a tough guy, but I knew he’d have problems adjusting to my speed.
"He had the high guard. I just wanted to catch my rhythm with my jab, but I saw he couldn’t see my jab, so I started shooting my right hand. One landed and hurt him real bad. It swelled his eye up, and I knew I had him from there.”
Indeed he did. After getting caught by the right, Cuello only got off one more punch for the duration of the bout.
Not that there was much bout left to endure.
The end began when Williams ripped a right to the temple that left Cuello completely jelly legged. The Argentine sought refuge on the ropes, first slightly turning his back and freezing Williams. When Rosato didn’t stop it there, Williams pounced and unleashed absolute hell, pummeling Cuello with five rapid-fire overhand rights that finally forced Rosato to step in.
“That’s just killer instinct,” Williams said. “When you got a guy hurt early, you want to pull off him. You want to stay on him. I thought the referee would at least drop in and save the guy, because he did like a funny dance and turned his back. I thought the referee would jump in, but he almost let me kill the poor guy.”
Cuello said that he initially disagreed with the stoppage, but that he was going to review the tape to see if it was justified.
“I felt my eye closing up,” he said. “I felt like I might have been able to continue, but my balance was a little thrown off after he landed the right to my left eye. I've fought some great fighters in my career, and Williams is as strong as any of them.”
The one fighter Williams is ready to test his strength against is Austin Trout, who viewed Williams' domination from ringside Tuesday as a Fox Sports 1 analyst.
Trout called out Williams after his sixth-round knockout of Joey Hernandez earlier this month—the same Hernandez whom Williams went the distance with in April. Since then, the two have gone after each other on social media.
“I don’t have a problem with him,” Willaims said. “He’s just ranked higher than me, and he’s in my way of accomplishing my dreams. So we got to fight.
"If I looked bad against Cuello, he would have laughed all the way back to New Mexico—like ‘I’m not fighting that kid who took a loss or a one-point decision win.’”
Trout started to comment on-air about a potential showdown when Williams stepped through the ropes to have a chat with his potential foe.
“I respect his hunger,” Trout said of Williams. “I respect that kind of attitude. He’s a fighter, he should have that. We can definitely make it happen. I’ll fight you next, that’s no problem.”
For the full recap of Williams vs Cuello, including photos, video and highlights, make sure to check out our fight page.