J Rock Wins

Photo by CBS Sports

Fight of the Year Candidate and Upcoming Fights


By Uppercut staff

In a strong candidate for Fight of the Year honors Julian “J Rock” Williams took the WBA, IBF and IBO super welterweight world titles from Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in a battle of the trenches won by unanimous decision after 12 rounds on Saturday.

Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) showed critics and fans that despite losing once by knockout, he could defeat even the talented Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs). The large crowd at Fairfax, Virginia saw the Philadelphia fighter use superior fighting skills in close quarters.

An expected showcase for Hurd, instead turned into a nightmare as his habitual slow start allowed the Philly fighter to gain traction quickly in their world title fight. Short combinations by Williams in the second round hurt the taller Hurd and then another crisp combo sent him down for the count. He got up and from that point forward it was an uphill battle that the Maryland fighter could not recover ground.

Most of the 12 rounds were fight toe to toe with each displaying outstanding fighting technique on the inside. But though Hurd was good Williams was excellent and his three-punch combinations connected with vigor. It was like watching 1950s boxing in 2019.

A large amount of credit goes to the referee Bill Clancy who allowed the world title match to be fought in close quarters. Too often referees meddle and separate the fighters forcing a boxing match to be fought at long distance. In this fight Clancy allowed the battle to be fought nose to nose and the action was fierce.

After 12 rounds the judges scored the fight 116-111, and 115-112 twice for Williams. It was a beautiful win for the Philly fighter who had suffered a knockout loss to Jermall Charlo in December 2016. Fans and critics seemingly counted out Williams as a viable contender for Hurd. They were wrong.

On the same boxing card, another Philadelphia fighter Stephen Fulton (16-0, 7 KOs) won the IBO super bantamweight title by unanimous decision after 12 rounds versus Paulus Ambunda (27-3, 11 KOs) of Namibia. It was Ambunda’s first defense of the title.

San Antonio’s Mario Barrios (24-0, 16 KOs) remained undefeated with a second round ambush of Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco (20-2). A painful left hook to the body dropped Velasco with a grimace. He could not beat the count of 10 nor did it look like a count of 100 would have helped. Barrios sent a message to the other super lightweight champions with the quick knockout win.


Two rematches resulted in two more definitive endings.

WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt (36-1, 32 KOs) stopped former champion Francisco Vargas (25-2-2, 18 KOs) with a blistering attack in the sixth round. The former champion seemed helpless and though he never went down his trainer Joel Diaz decided to end the fight.

“He gave me the opportunity so I returned the honor,” said Berchelt who made his fifth defense of the title with the win at Tucson, Arizona on Saturday.

Another rematch saw WBO super bantamweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (27-1, 23 KOs) knock down former champion Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs) twice before his father and trainer stopped the fight at 2:02 of the final round. It was their second fight in six months and Mexico’s much taller Navarrete won both. The Mexican fighter from Mexico City is 24 years old.



Ruben Villa (16-0) captured the WBO International featherweight title from Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez (17-2) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Friday at Corona, California.

Villa seemingly won most of the rounds with his right jab and ability to pivot out of trouble against the very awkward Lopez. Despite the unusual power punches coming from the Mexican fighter, Villa was able to control the distance and win the fight.

In another bout, lightweight prospect Michael Dutchover (13-0, 10 KOs) connected with a left hook to the ribs of Rosekie Cristobal (15-4) that ended the fight by knockout at 1:46 of the first round. Dutchover, 21, is a power hitting Texan who trains in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. and scored his fifth consecutive knockout win.

A bantamweight title fight saw Saul Sanchez (12-0, 7 KOs) out fight and stop Mexico’s Brandon Benitez (14-2) by technical knockout at 18 seconds of the eighth round. Sanchez, 21, picks up a regional WBC title.


Upcoming fights

Thurs. May 16

Lightweight contender “Ruthless” Romero Duno (19-1, 15 KOs) meets Juan Antonio Rodriguez (30-7, 26 KOs) for the vacant NABO lightweight title at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. DAZN will stream the fight live.

Duno, 23, a Filipino knockout artist, lives for the knockout. Mexico’s Rodriguez, 31, recently defeated another Filipino contender Mercito Gesta in a spectacular battle this past March. In that match it was a dead even fight with both absorbing big blows. Rodriguez won by stoppage and showed an extremely good chin. But can he withstand the power of Duno?

It’s an exciting match up.

Others scheduled to fight at Manny Robles III, Carlos Morales, Rommel Caballero and others.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. For more information call (800) 827-2946.


Sat. May 18

Undefeated female middleweight Raquel Miller (8-0) meets veteran Erin Toughill (7-4-1) in an eight round clash at Hawaiian Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California.

Miller, 34, was a 2016 Olympic alternate for Claressa Shields and is a top ranking contender in the middleweight division.

Toughill, 41, recently returned to boxing after several years in MMA. But as a boxer she fought against top competition such as Laila Ali and Dakota Stone. She recently fought Maricela Cornejo and lost an extremely close decision to the middleweight contender.

Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information call (562) 860-5887.


Brooklyn fights

WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) defends against Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The match will be televised on Showtime.

Wilder’s last fight took place in Los Angeles this past December against Tyson Fury in a spectacular heavyweight battle. Despite knocking down the British fighter twice, Wilder could only manage a split draw after 12 rounds.

Breazeale’s only loss took place three years ago when he competed against IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. He lost by knockout.

WBC featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr. (29-1) defends against Kiko Martinez (39-8-2) of Spain on the semi-main event at Barclays.


Sunday May 19

Undefeated super welterweight Serhii “El Flaco” Bohachuk (13-0, 13 KOs) meets Mexican veteran Freddie Hernandez (34-10, 22 KOs) in an eight round co-main event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood.

It’s the fifth time Bohachuk is fighting on the popular “Hollywood Fight Nights” series.

Also on the card will be a 10-round super middleweight clash featuring Alem Begic (22-0) versus Benjamin Simon (27-3) plus Adrian Corona, George Navarro and several others.

Doors open at 3 p.m. for more information visit the Avalon web site at: www.AvalonHollywood.com