Unified 154-pound champion and Philadelphia-native Julian “J-Rock” Williams and hard-hitting contender Jeison Rosario went face to face at a press conference Tuesday as they previewed their showdown that headlines FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, January 18 from Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
Williams will make a homecoming defense of his WBA and IBF titles after taking the belts from Jarrett Hurd in their May battle that is a frontrunner for 2019 Fight of the Year. It is Williams first fight in front of his hometown crowd since 2011, while the Dominican Republic’s Rosario brings an eight-bout winning streak into his first world title fight.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will also feature undefeated rising star Chris “Prime Time” Colbert taking on former champion Jezreel Corrales for the Interim WBA Super Featherweight Title as the co-main event.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at http://www.liacourascenter.com/events or by calling 800-298-4200.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Tuesday from Temple University’s Liacouras Center:
“It took a lot for us to get the title. We had some bumps in the road. But me and my team, we just kept battling and fighting through. We finally got our breakthrough fight and got the titles, and we wanted to bring the titles right back to Philadelphia. It’s amazing to have this opportunity to come back home and perform in front of my home crowd.
“Rosario is a really good fighter and I’m not just saying that. They’ve been matching him tough and he’s been coming through fights he wasn’t supposed to win. I’m expecting a really tough fight and for him to be in shape. He’s got 36 minutes to change his life forever. I was in his exact same position very recently. It would be extremely arrogant for me to think I can’t lose.
“I’ve been training hard like I always do. I’m in extremely great shape. On January 18, I’m going to win. I don’t know how, but I’m going to come out on top.
“I haven’t actually thought about fight night and what it will feel like. I can only imagine it will be amazing seeing the people who have watched me fight since I was a teenager. I’m pretty sure as it gets closer to the fight, I’ll start thinking about it and it will give me an extra push in camp.
“Our approach is not like the new age way. This is the microwave era, everything’s got be quick and glossy, but that’s not the way boxing is supposed to be. In this era there’s a lot of pressure to be undefeated and act a certain way. But we see boxing as just like life. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and we just take it all in stride.
“I watch a lot of boxing so I’ve seen this run that Rosario is on and I’ve seen his loss. He’s been on a good streak so I immediately knew this would be a good fight. I know he’s going to try to come and take my belts.
“I can see the look in his eye and it reminds me of the look I had in my eye earlier this year against Hurd. I know he’s got a game plan to beat me, so I have to be fully prepared.”
“I’m excited to have this fight and thankful to Julian Williams for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. 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.
“We’re working hard to put on a great fight and we want everyone who watches this fight to get their money’s worth. We’re going to scrap it out all the way through.
“Philadelphia is known for tough fighters and tough fights and we’re going to give them more of that on January 18. We’re not going to leave anyone disappointed who watches this fight.
“This fight means everything to me. Ever since a kid I’ve been fighting. All of those years combine to one night on January 18. We’re preparing very well to take advantage of the moment. This all started when I was eight-years-old and I can’t wait to get in the ring.
“The loss that I had made it so that I can stand here right now. It made me realize what I needed to do. I had the skills, but I had to learn the work ethic. I learned what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to be training.
“My loss was really a blessing. If I had never lost, I would have never trained the way that I am now and I wouldn’t be the fighter that I am today. I’m just getting better and I’ll be at my absolute best on fight night.
“On January 18, it’s going to be like a ‘Rocky’ movie, we’re going to scrap it out from start to finish. I’m going to end up as the new Rocky in Philadelphia that night.”
STEPHEN EDWARDS, Williams’ Trainer
“We finally made it back home with the title after we had to go on the road to get it. A lot of people didn’t think we’d come back with it, but Julian took care of business. It was a big deal for us to get a chance to return back home and give our fans who have supported Julian a chance to see him live and in person.
“I think it’s going to be a really good fight. We’ve been watching Rosario for a while. They might think they’re sneaking up on us, but they’re not. He’s a really good fighter with some really good victories. We don’t believe in underdogs, because when two men get in the ring anyone can win.
“I’m really proud of what Julian did and I think he’s going to put on a great performance on January 18 and I expect Jeison to come to fight as well.
“I think Julian is the best 154-pounder in the world. So there aren’t any opponents I think Julian couldn’t handle. Rosario hit the lottery. Julian is better when he feels threatened, so I know that he’s going to train hard and do everything he needs to do.”
LUIS PEREZ, Rosario’s Trainer
“The people in Philadelphia have been very nice and we’re happy to be here. We worked very hard to get to this position and earn this opportunity. Most of all, we want to thank Julian for giving us the fight. We appreciate it and we have a lot of respect for him.
“We know we’re the underdog and we embrace it. Williams knows himself how to go to the champions’ hometown as the underdog and we’re planning to do the same.
“We’re training hard for a great fighter like Williams. We’re going to leave it all on the line. We won’t leave January 18 saying what we could have done better. We’re doing everything in our power to give the best performance.
“We think Julian is the best fighter in the division and we embrace the positon we’re in. It’s going to be a great fight for the city of Philadelphia because we always come to fight.”