By Lem Satterfield
Once-beaten 154-pound title challenger Julian Williams of Philadelphia could face undefeated IBF/WBA/IBO champion Jarrett Hurd “sometime in the spring” after having earned his fourth straight victory and second stoppage during that time by second-round KO over Mexico’s Francisco Javier Castro on the December 1 undercard of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s draw with lineal champion Tyson Fury at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
FOX Sports’ boxing insider Mike Coppinger revealed the news about “J-Rock” Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs) during Saturday’s initial episode of “Inside PBC Boxing” on FOX.
Coppinger said should Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) be victorious, he would face WBC counterpart Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) if “The Iron Man” is successful in pursuit of a fourth defense against Tony Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs) on December 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on FOX (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
“The PBC would love to put it [Hurd-Charlo] together the second half of next year, so they’re on a collision course. But a lot has to happen for that fight to reach that point,” said Coppinger on a show featuring “Swift” Hurd as a guest with lead analysts being two-time and current WBC 147-pound champion Shawn Porter and three-division title winner Abner Mares.
“First, Jemell Charlo has a fight against Tony Harrison on December 22 on FOX, and then I’m told that Jarrett Hurd is going to fight junior middleweight contender Julian Williams sometime in the spring. And then, Jermell Charlo is going to have another fight in the spring against an opponent to be determined.
“If everyone wins, and they all come out OK with no injuries, they wanna do that fight [Hurd-Charlo] sometime in the second half of the year.”
Williams appeared against Franciso on the same card as Hurd winning his third defense and eighth stoppage in nine fights by fourth-round knockout against Jason Welborn of England.
Hurd and Wiliams also shared the same card for their last fights in April at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, with the former earning a majority decision over previously once-beaten Nathan Gallimore, and Hurd dropping southpaw Erislandy Lara with 37 seconds left in their 154-pound title unification for a split-decision victory, adding Lara’s WBA crown to his IBF version.
Charlo was ringside at The Staples Center and entered the ring during Hurd’s post-fight interview as the champions exchanged words.
“Jermell walked into the ring and he’s talking and saying ‘I’m the prestigious champion. I’m calling the shots,’” said Hurd. “But I had to let him know, I said ‘I’m No. 1. I’m the unified champion. I’m calling the shots. When I call just answer the phone and we can make the fight happen.’”
Hurd said he plans to be ringside for Jermell Charlo’s defense against Harrison, whom Hurd defeated for his then-vacant crown by ninth-round TKO in February 2017.
Charlo also shares an opponent with Hurd in left-handed former champion Austin Trout, loser by 10th-round knockout to “Swift” Hurd (October 2017) and by two-knockdown majority decision to Charlo in June.
“[Before] the fight with Welborn, I had two with back-to-back southpaws and they were tough fights,” said Hurd, referring to left-handers Trout and Lara. “I wanted to get back into the groove of fighting a right-handed fighter, and it’s [Charlo] a unification fight, so I want to get ready for it. We had one fight with Jason Welborn, and we want to have another right-handed fighter and then we’ll be ready for Jermell Charlo.”
Hurd also addressed the notion of facing mandatory challenger and former 147-pound champion, Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) of England, who has won two straight since being stopped in consecutive title bouts by 160-pound Gennady Golovkin (September 2016) and southpaw IBF champion Errol Spence (May 2017).
“I always wanted a fight with Kell Brook. That was a way for me to reach out to the UK fans, also,” said Hurd of Brook, who dethroned Porter by majority decision in August 2014. “But Kell Brook’s coming from 147, so I’m not sure if he wants to take a fight with a big, 154-pounder like me.”
Prior to his fifth-round stoppage loss to Jermall Charlo in a 154-pound champion fight in December 2016, Williams had scored three straight knockouts, won 53 consecutive rounds and 16 fights in a row (10 by stoppage).
Since that loss, Williams has stopped Joshua Conley (June 2017) by seventh-round TKO, earned a unanimous decision over former champion Ishe Smith (November 2017), and won a majority decision over Nathaniel Gallimore in April before facing Castro.