Julian Williams Set for First Title Defense Against Jeison Rosario

Unified super welterweight champion Julian Williams, who will fight Jeison Rosario this weekend, is on a quest to become the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2020 • 11:00 AM ET

Philadelphia will host this weekend's super welterweight title fight.

The IBF and WBA super welterweight titles will be on the line this Saturday, as champion Julian Williams will defend the belts for the first time against rising challenger Jeison Rosario at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs), a Philly native, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Jarrett Hurd to win the titles last May. Considered an upset by many, the win over Hurd was the 29-year-old Williams’ fifth straight since being knocked out by Jermall Charlo in 2016.

Williams hopes to string together several title defenses, starting on Saturday in his hometown against a worthy challenger. Although he’s fixated on Saturday’s fight, Williams has a higher goal in mind.

“I want to be the best,” Williams said via the Philadelphia Tribune. “I know that it’s in me. I’m confident that I can achieve my goal.”

Williams believes he’s the better fighter, but he isn’t looking past Rosario.

“Rosario brings ambition to the table,” Williams said. “I think he’s an ambitious kid. I don’t think it’s a difficult fight [for me], to be quite honest.

“I just think it’s a matter of being focused and on top of my game, and I think I’ll take care of him. I don’t think it’s difficult, though. He’s a decent fighter. We’re not going to make him out to be Ray Robinson. He has put together a good string of wins, and he’s tough and he’s coming to win. So that’s more important than anything. He has the ambition to win, so you can’t underestimate him.”

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The 24-year-old Rosario (19-1-1, 13 KOs) has taken a similar path to Williams to reach his first major title shot on Saturday. Coming off a split-decision victory over Jorge Cota last April, Rosario has won five straight fights and suffered his only loss by TKO to Nathaniel Gallimore in 2017.

He respects the champion, but will fight to win this weekend.

“He’s the best 154-pounder in the world, but we’re coming January 18 to take the titles back home to the Dominican Republic,” Rosario said via Premier Boxing Champions.

The Santo Domingo native has created his own motivation to get a win over Williams.

“Well, for the audience, it is a fight that seems easy for Williams,” Rosario acknowledged during a recent airing of Fox Sports’ PBC Countdown. “When the bell rings, the audience will have their jaws drop.

“History will repeat itself, as Julian Williams did with Hurd. I am going to win. Julian is a great champion. I thank him for the opportunity, but my job is to go in and take his titles from him. I have to do it, and I will.”

A second title fight for the interim WBA junior lightweight belt will be on Saturday’s card between Chris Colbert and former champion Jezzrel Corrales.

Considered by many as the future of the division, Colbert (13-0, 5 KOs) is coming off a knockout victory over Miguel Beltran Jr. in September. The 23-year-old Brooklyn native will fight for his first major title this weekend.

“My last fight with Miguel Beltran, even though I came into it with bruised ribs I told no one about, I got a devastating, one-punch knockout,” Colbert said via PBC. “The ribs are fine now, and Jezreel Corrales is a former world champion and a fighter I can build my legacy on. He’s wild and not accurate with his punches.

“He said I’m not ready, but I’m going to make him eat his words. I’m always going to come out using my jab, which sets up everything you want to land. My jab will keep me in control and out of trouble, setting up my shots as I place my punches properly. I’m gonna go in there and work my jab and my body shots to take him apart, trying to get him out of there in the later rounds.”

A former WBA titleholder, Corrales defended the belt twice with victories over Takashi Uchiyama and Robinson Castellanos in 2016 and ’17, respectively. While the Panamanian fighter is coming off a controversial split-decision loss to Ladarius Miller in July, pundits didn’t believe the loss would hurt Corrales’ title contention. Those pundits were correct, as the 28-year-old Corrales will once again get a shot at gold despite trading wins and losses in his last four fights.

• The main card can be seen on FOX at 8 p.m. this Saturday

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