MINNEAPOLIS – Julian Williams got in much-needed rounds Saturday night and successfully launched his comeback from back-to-back losses.
The former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion got into a rhythm offensively during the middle rounds against Rolando Mansilla, hammered away at the rugged Argentinean’s body and won their eight-round middleweight match by unanimous decision on the David Morrell Jr.-Aidos Yerbossynuly undercard at The Armory. Judges Brian Cosgrove (79-72), John Mariano (79-72) and Gary Ritter (80-71) all scored the action for Williams by wide distances.
The 32-year-old Williams (28-3-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) fought for the first time since Mexican southpaw Vladimir Hernandez (13-5, 6 KOs) upset him by 10-round split decision on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder undercard almost 13 months ago at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Philadelphia’s Williams won a fight for the first time since he upset Jarrett Hurd by unanimous decision to win three 154-pound championships in May 2019 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
Mansilla (18-12-1, 8 KOs) showed toughness throughout their bout. He has lost by knockout or technical knockout five times in his nine-year pro career, but he took Williams’ hardest shots to the head and body and went the distance.
Williams was effective to Mansilla’s body again during the final round, when the outcome was a foregone conclusion. He also rocked Mansilla with a left hook to his head in the final minute of their fight.
There was a lot of wrestling during the seventh round, but Williams managed to land hard punches at times to Mansilla’s head and body.
Williams blasted Mansilla with vicious lefts to his body with just under 40 seconds remaining in the seventh round. Mansilla held Williams after taking those shots to catch his breath.
Referee Mark Calo-oy deducted a point from Mansilla with 40 seconds to go in the fifth round because Mansilla lost his mouthpiece for the third time in less than six rounds. By the middle minute of the fifth round, Williams began to tee off on Mansilla with overhand rights and right uppercuts.
Williams nailed Mansilla with two hard lefts to the body and then came up top with a flush right hand that got his attention. Williams later landed a hard right and a hard left just before the bell sounded to conclude the fourth round.
A right hand by Williams stunned Mansilla and made him move backward with 40 seconds to go in the third round. Williams went for the finish, but Mansilla survived until the bell sounded to end the third round.
Williams began to open up on Mansilla early in the third round, when he buckled Mansilla’s legs with a right hand to the top of his head.
Mansilla landed a right hand in an exchange with just over 10 seconds on the clock in what was otherwise a successful second round for Williams. A more assertive Williams landed two right hands in the opening minute of the second round that got Mansilla’s attention.
A defensive-minded Williams spent much of the opening round trying to avoid Mansilla’s rough tactics and wild swings. Williams landed a left to Mansilla’s body early in the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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