Julian Williams' journey back to the top of the contenders' list of the junior middleweight division wasn't an easy one, but it all had to start with bouncing back from his first title loss.
Williams once challenged for the IBF junior middleweight title back in 2016, but unsuccessfully lost to Jermall Charlo. Six months after losing to Charlo, Williams returned to the ring with a stoppage victory over Joshua Conley, setting up a four-fight win streak for the Philadelphia native.
The loss to Charlo may have stung Williams, but he knew that in order to fight for a title in the future, he needed to leave that in the past. Now he is set to fight unified WBA and IBF champion Jarrett Hurd on May 11 and Williams said he is hungrier than ever before.
"I had to get over the loss quick. You can't dwell on that. Am I going to mope? No, it's who's up next? I can't even put it into words how hungry I am," Hurd said.
Hurd is coming into the fight as the favorite, but will also come in with the pressure of not just fighting in front of his hometown fans, but also the pressure of surviving the fight with his title intact as potentially bigger fights loom over the horizon. With Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo set to have a rematch for the WBC junior middleweight title down the line, Hurd could set himself up for a three-belt unification if he defeats Williams.
On the topic of potential fights against the winner of Harrison vs. Charlo, Williams said those kinds of fights do not even enter his radar at the moment as he focused entirely on Hurd.
"My motivation are those two belts on the line. Any kind of fight with Harrison or Charlo and Hurd has nothing to do with me. I'm focused on what I have to do... I don't know if there will be extra pressure on him fighting at home. You have to ask him. I know when I fight at home I don't feel any extra pressure. When the bell rings, a fight is a fight," Williams said.
The fight between Hurd and Williams will headline a PBC on Fox card from the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia,