LAS VEGAS – Top contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams is on the path to another world title shot but will first have to get by former world champion Ishe Smith when they meet in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce live from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday, November 18.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Williams took his training camp to Big Bear, California earlier this year and served as a sparring partner for middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin before heading home to finish training for Smith.
“This has been a long camp,” said Williams. “I’ve really been training since June 30. I came back from Big Bear and hit the ground running training with Gabriel Rosado. The fun part comes now when we get to fight.
“Training with Golovkin was a great experience. To get to shadow a top five fighter in the world, to see how he moves, to see the kind of work he puts in and the exercises he does, it was very valuable. He gave me some pointers and helped me out so overall it was great.”
Williams most recently stopped Joshua Conley in the seventh-round in June as he made his ring return following his first defeat, to then IBF Junior Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo in a fight Williams believes he’s learned from.
“I just got a little impatient with Charlo,” said Williams. “Even the second-round knockdown, I got up and I thought I did enough to make that an even round. Then I got impatient, got caught and I paid the price. This is one of those times though that I think some good can come from a loss. It taught me to be a more patient and smarter fighter.”
Now, Williams will face a tough former champion in Smith, the first Las Vegan to capture a world title and a rugged contender who’s faced the very best in the sport for years.
“I remember watching Ishe Smith back on ‘The Contender’,” said Williams. I’ve definitely followed his career. He’s a guy who has seen a lot of styles, but he has eight losses for a reason. He makes mistakes.
“At the same time, nobody has stopped him. I think I can be the guy to knock him out. I think I have the answer for him. At the end of the day, I expect him to be true to his style. Whether he’s winning or losing, it’s a defense-first approach from him. This will be nothing but business for me on Saturday night.”
If Williams can get by Smith on Saturday night in Las Vegas, the 27-year-old has his sights set squarely on a 154-pound world title and is ready for any champion who will get in the ring with him.
“I treat every fight like it’s a must-win,” said Williams. “I treated the Conley fight like that and I’ll bring the same intensity on Saturday. I’m just a hungry fighter who’s focused. I don’t care about all the distractions and nonsense.
“I’m interested in fighting all of the current champions and I have the ability to beat them all. The choice isn’t necessarily up to me, but they’re all great fighters and I know I’m a great fighter too. I’ll take any of them.”