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Stunner: Rosario dethrones J-Rock for WBA, IBF titles

By John DiSanto at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada

In the main event at the Liacouras Center on the Temple University campus in North Philly, Jeison Rosario of Santo Domingo, DR, 20-1-1, 14 KOs, shocked West Philly’s Julian Williams, 27-2-1, 16 KOs, scoring a fifth round TKO and stripping Williams of his IBF, WBA and IBO titles.

Rosales Jrock07

Williams comfortably won the first round. However, Rosario cut Williams over the left eye in round two and kicked his game into high gear. The challenger continued to land well for the next few rounds while Williams pawed at his bleeding eye and did his best to battle his way back into the fight. Williams landed several good shots, but Rosario kept coming – and landing. In the fifth round, Rosario landed an extended volley that appeared to weaken the champ. Williams slipped to the canvas and was clearly hurt when he struggled to regain his feet. The trip to the canvas was not ruled a knockdown. When the fight resumed, Rosario jumped right on Williams and continued to land with authority. Finally a vicious right uppercut speared Williams on the chin and another left landed as he fell to the canvas.

Rosales Jrock06

Referee Benjy Esteves stopped the fight as Williams tried to rise. The time of the big upset and spoiled homecoming was 1:37 of round five. This was Williams’ first title defense and Rosario’s first try at a world title.

At the time of the stoppage, Rosario led 39-37 on two cards, with the third card scored 38-38.

It was a huge upset with J-Rock coming in as a 30:1 favorite.


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    • Not a good week for Philadelphia boxing community? Yeah Hart and J.rock were huge upsets but did you see Boots Ennis at work?!

    • This kind of stuff is why I love Philly boxing. I’d rather go to a Peltz card and see the opponents upset the local fighters than go to a boxing event anywhere else and watch the hometowners easily beat a bunch of no-hopers.

  • WTF, I didn’t expect this, where was the j- rock that beat down hurd? nowwhere, thats where, very disappointed in J- Rock

    • After seeing that stoppage, J-Rock, I bet, had a CT Scan in the local ER to rule out head/neck damage. Ouch!

    • Trust and believe my lil cuz J.Rock will get his belts back.. Disappointed??? It’s the fight game bro.. I bet you won’t jump in that 17×17 ring..

  • Lennox Lewis called it before the fight. He said J-Rock is the champ but Rosario has power in both hands. I thought Lewis was just trying to do some last minute fight hypin’. Turns out that the dude has serious power. I’m shocked and expected J-Rock to outclass and stop him. I hate that they stopped it like that in J-Rock’s home-town but he was getting smashed and his eyes did roll and balance was off. When he fell down after clutching Rosario he stayed on a knee for a few seconds. After the ref stopped it you could see J-Rock mouth what seemed like he was saying “WHAT THE HELL!?!?” as in… What the he’ll just hit me? Hungry kid knew he was coming to win.. We just werent aware of it.

    • J-Rock’s camp should have already known that Rosario had power based off past fight studies and reviews. No surprise there. That being said, J-Rock’s camp’s job should have been to focus on defensive tactics to keep Rosario’s power in-check. However, it only takes one punch to change the course or direction in a fight. That was witnessed in this fight.

  • It’s boxing! Nothing should be a shock. In my opinion it was a shock what a betting favorite J-Rock was to begin with.

    • @Robert coster, yeah that fella can crack, to be sure! Looking forward to see how he does moving forward.

  • Not a surprise if you know anything about boxing. Williams was at best a B level fighter with a weak chin. Junior middleweight hasn’t had any great fighters in it since Canelo left, and he is just barely great.

    • Was Canelo a great Jr. Middleweight, Floyd Mayweather and Erslandy Lara out class that Mexican plus he avoided the best champions in the division Demetruis Andrade, Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo and still to this day avoiding them while fighting Liam Smith and Rocky Fielding.

      • Jesse James: Did u really jus throw the charlos in there as “greats” that is a joke in itself. The only thing they are great at is fighting small nobodies. Andrade, well that is still to be determined. Bot a fan of his style but he does get the job done and wants to fight n e one..

        • Tony
          The Charlo brothers Jemall and Jemell are better than Canelo, they ain’t nobodies like Liam Smith and Rocky Fielding.

      • Once again Canelo never avoided anyone. He moved up to fight the baddest man in boxing in GGG at the time. Charlos both of them avoided Andrade. Canelo fought Fielding to scoop a 168 lb title. Canelo can’t fight everyone in boxing across 4 weight classes. He has chosen to challenge higher weight classes.

        • Anthony J
          Why move up to fight fighters across four divisions when you never fight the best in any division. Canelo never fought Demetruis Andrade, Jemall Charlo and Jermell Charlo at Jr. Middleweight and he never fought Demetruis Andrade and Jermall Charlo at Middleweight he cheated GGG and Daniel Jacobs was fighting under a weight restriction in the meantime he’s fighting Liam Smith and Rocky Fielding.

          • You move up when it’s right for your career or body. He already fought the best at 154 including Lara which was a tough fight. Charlo’s were young and he moved up to fight GGG. Way harder than Charlos or Andrade. Then has continued to move up. Jacobs almost beat GGG. So that was a great fight pick. You can’t clean a division out forever. Honestly Baby Charlo isn’t worth mentioning. And both Charlos avoided Andrade. I think you forget Canelos age and he still is the draw. He can’t fight everyone. Got guys saying he won’t fight guys at 175, 168, 160, and 154. C’mon man. If you come after Canelo, stick with steroids because he has avoided noone.

          • I agree with you. Canelo is what is wrong with boxing today…don’t get me wrong, I think Canelo seems like a nice guy, but boxing today is nothing more than a popularity contest. It’s terrible. Other sports look at boxing and shake their heads at what a mess it has become. How does a fighter get ranked in the top 10 pfp when he arguably lost to all the good fighters he fought including Trout, Lara and Jacobs? that must mean those guys are all top 10 pfp as well since they all proved to be at least as good as Canelo….and Canelo DID duck the charlo bros….instead he chose to fight Liam smith and amir khan and rocky fielding. talk about the path of least resistance. And don’t even talk about ggg….that dude fought nothing but bums his whole career. First time ggg stepped up, Jacobs took him. Jacobs got robbed, but nobody cared…then canelo returned the favor against ggg and ggg’s fans cried bloody murder. Like I said, boxing these days is just a joke. bogus decisions like canelo-jacobs and ggg-dereyevchenko and bogus fights instead of the best fighting the best. If it was up to me, canelo would have given lara and immediate rematch…and he would have had to fight the charlo brothers and andrade and BJS to get recognition as pfp anything.

          • I think your 100% wrong. He never ducked the Charlos. He still has time to face big Charlo. Baby Charlo isn’t even 160. You say GGG is a bum? Get outta here buddy. Just took out title holders at 168-175. That’s impressive.

          • What you mean canelo “still has time to face Charlo”?…the question is, what’s stopping him NOW?! What’s been stopping him from fighting Charlo all along instead of fighting the rocky fieldings and liam smiths…i’ll let you know what’s stopping him. He’s hoping charlo will lose. That way canelo can continue to duck the best. He wants charlo and andrade and them to lose fights…once again looking for the path of least resistance. Canelo knows the only way he can lose a fight is to get KO’d or beat up real bad…so, he worked on his defense. that way all he has to do is avoid punishment and remain on his feet like in the jacobs fight and he’ll get the decision. if canelo had got a draw against trout and a loss against lara like he deserved, some promoters would have lost money, but boxing would be much better off as a whole.

          • He beat both Lara and Trout. They were both close but that right there blows your cherry picking theory because Trout was undefeated and Lara was one of the most avoided fighters. Also he moved up to face who everyone wanted which was GGG. That was the biggest fight in boxing. Since then one Charlo has lost and talk about least resistance. Look at Charlos opponents. Lol. Charlo has ducked Andrade big time. You can barely name any of Charlos opponents. Guy wants to fight Canelo? Then make a super fight with GGG or Andrade. Canelo has made super fights. Andrade and Charlo need to do the same. And who cares if Canelo took a couple fights to fight guys with big records and guys that have world titles in between his biggest fights. He just shook boxing with his Kovalev ko. I don’t see Charlo or anybody doing what he’s doing.

  • Rosario was hitting him hard and clean. Good thing the ref stopped the fight cause Rosario would have done severe damage.

    • Ernie-They say the mark of a succesful man is someone who is both gracious in victory and defeat. Williams was definitely both. A very classy dude!

  • My lord! I found myself wanting Rosario to win right when I saw he was an underdog who came to fight. I didn’t think he had the power to KO J-Rock, but it was curtains right after that uppercut! In no way was that stoppage controversial, Williams was out!

  • He said that there was a rematch clause and that’s fine, but Rosario – Hurd would be an awesome fight imo.

    • A tuneup fight for Williams is probably a good idea after a devastating knockout loss. An immediate rematch would make more sense if it was a fluke loss where an inferior fighter caught him with a knockout punch, but Rosario turned out to be a diamond in the rough.

  • What a fight! I totally give props to J-rock though he lost fair and square and showed true class in losing. I figured he was going to bitch and complain about the stoppage but I was wrong and he didn’t have any excuses either, way to go J-Rock you got class!

  • I feel like I ate crow. I suggested that this was what was wrong with boxing, when a champion does not fight at least the number one contender. But then the question is, how would Mr. Willliams have done against a higher rated contender, such as Lara.

  • After I saw the two fighters facing each other in the ring, I began to think Williams would be in trouble. Rosario looked like the bigger fighter. After the first round, I could see he punched harder than Williams. He took some shots to the jaw and was never fazed. He was definitely not intimated or overwhelmed by the occasion or the opponent.

    After seeing the first two rounds, the ending was no surprise to me. Rosario was landing cleanly to the body and head and it seemed to be just a matter of before he hurt Williams with something big. I have never been convinced about William’s ability to take a good punch, especially after his KO loss to Jermall Charlo. His chin failed him again today. Rosario was the better man tonight and back to the drawing board for Williams.

  • This kid will not have a long tenure as champion dominicans unlike Puerto Ricans,Cubans,and Mexicans don’t excel at boxing!

  • Williams was/is an over rated fighter. His whole resume was based on what he did against Hurd. Now with all the talk about how RING magazine (owned and operated by DelaHO) has him rated as the top Jr.middle, and all the announcers nut licking him, you would think you had another Mike Tyson coming into the fight. The kid Rosario had every tool available to him to win this fight, his focus, his training, his respect for being given a shot at 2 titles, and his boxing abilities. On top of that this kid can crack, and he hurts when he does. J Rock was/is not what the EXPERTS were touting him to be. He would have been better off if this fight did not take place in Philly. To much pressure there, and to many people expecting SUPERMAN to come into the ring. Seeing him in several fights before ( including the Charlo fight) I did not consider him an A+ fighter, at best a B fighter who I.M.O had a great night against Hurd. PBC is LUCKY, because at the end of the day they had one of their better fights in this one. Usually we get the same script from them fight to fight. And the 1st two fights was a boxing insomniacs dream, very sleepy . Rosario being a big strong puncher can be a force in this division, the only thing he must do is remain righteous and do NOT let PBC put him in the once a year category of fighting. They do not help any of their fighters with this B.S. A fighter must fight, if not you lose it very fast. Just look at Thurmin, and many others that PBC always has waiting for the sun.

  • First, big props to Rosario! He came to get it and did!

    Second, I can’t remember a fighter being as affected by a seemingly small cut as Williams was. It dramatically changed the whole dynamic. The corner suggested it was from scar tissue. If that’s the case, then they’d better get some plastic surgery to fix it or consider retirement. Williams clearly couldn’t handle the drip.

    Third, to the fans who reacted badly to the stoppage…get better seats next time! With better seats they might have noticed their man was way past done.

  • I wasn’t surprised I wasn’t sure who he was fighting until my memory snapped and it was oh oh that guy showed some serious power in his fights too late Mr Williams.

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