–Julian Williams worked the jab against a circling Marcello Matano from the outset, searching for openings to land big counter punches and body shots against his awkward, herky-jerky opponent who darted in and out of range.
–Although occasionally forced backward and to the ropes through the middle rounds by the roughhousing, oncoming Matano, Williams had little trouble drilling inside body shots and left hooks, the latter frequently jolting Mantano beginning in Round 4.
–A vicious seventh-round left hook spelled the beginning of the end as Williams unleashed a succession of unanswered blows that’s forced referee Gary Rosato to step in and end the fight at the 2:24 mark.
When Marcello Matano weighed in at a recorded career-low 150.4 pounds for Saturday’s 154-pound fight with Julian Williams, trainer Stephen Edwards expressed concern for the Italian fighter: “That’s too small; he’s gonna get hurt.”
Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOS) made his cornerman a prophet at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After picking Matano (16-2, 5 KOs) apart through six one-sided rounds, Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs) unleashed a vicious assault of unanswered punches in Round 7, leading referee Gary Rosato to step in and end the bout at the 2:24 mark.
In securing his 10th stoppage victory in his last 13 fights—and his third in a row—Williams became the mandatory challenger to titleholder Jermall Charlo (23-0, 18 KOs) of Houston.
Edwards said the plan from the outset was to work the jab as well as the body in hopes of breaking down Matano and ultimately looking for the big counter-punch shot, which on Saturday was the left hook.
It took a few rounds before Williams began to attack Matano’s midsection, but otherwise the plan worked to perfection. The 25-year-old Philadelphia native hit the mark consistently with his jab and connected on more than half of his power punches against the awkward, come-forward Matano, who was making his first appearance on U.S. soil.
Williams got in a lot more work Saturday than he did in his last fight September 22, when he needed just 93 seconds to stop veteran Luciano Cuello, which also took place at the Sands Event Center. But the 29-year-old Matano, who entered the bout on a four-fight winning streak, never came close to hurting “J-Rock,” as his long, looping punches rarely found home.
With Matano dispatched, Williams now finds himself on the verge of achieving his lifelong goal of fighting for a world title.
- Williams vs Matano