IBF/WBA 154-pound champion and Philadelphia native Julian "J-Rock" Williams previewed his upcoming hometown title defense at a media workout Wednesday, as he prepares to face hard-hitting Jeison Rosario Saturday, January 18th in the Fox PBC Fight Night main event from Temple University's Liacouras Center. After winning the title in one of 2019's best fights against then-unbeaten Jarrett Hurd, Williams will fight in his hometown for the first time since 2011 when he competes on January 18th. Here is what Williams and his trainer, Stephen Edwards, had to say Wednesday from James Shuler's Memorial Boxing Gym in Philadelphia:
On training and fighting in his hometown... "I try to just block myself from the world... Especially with a hometown fight, people are pulling you 50 different ways, tickets, asking me stupid questions. It's crazy, so I just try to block myself from the world.
"It's not about enjoying, it's about winning. I don't care about enjoying. You're not supposed to enjoy camp. It's supposed to be a grind."
On what he expects out of Rosario... "Rosario brings ambition to the table. 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."
On growing up in Philadelphia... "Seeing all the stuff that I saw growing up (in West Philadelphia) made me hungry, made me want to get out and make a better life for myself. All you have to do is walk outside and go down Lancaster Ave. If that's not motivating for you then nothing will."
On his celebrity now that he's a world champion... "I've got a little more notoriety now. To be honest, I stopped thinking about it because I want to stay focused on the task at hand. The task at hand is being pound-for-pound best in the world. I'm not satisfied with just being the best super welterweight in the world. I'm just not satisfied with being unified champion of the world. Why sell myself short when I have the drive and the ability to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world? I'd be selling myself short. I'd be leaving millions of dollars on the table."
On the history that he made for himself and Philadelphia when he defeated Hurd... "I'm one of three men (from Philadelphia) who can say they're a unified champion of the world."
STEPHEN EDWARDS, Williams' Trainer
On Rosario's abilities... "At this level, everybody can fight. (Rosario) is a good-looking fighter. He can punch. He's just a good fighter. He's got a lot of the same characteristics as Hurd and Charlo. He's big and strong. It's a good fight."
On why this opponent for this fight... "We thought we were going to be fighting Hurd (again), so we got a guy that's kind of like Hurd because we didn't know if Hurd was pulling out of the fight."
On being Julian's manager and helping advise him on real estate... "If (Julian) buys a house I'll tell him if that's a good property, or sometimes he messes up, but the cool thing is that he's got the money to make up for all the mistakes now."