Six months after suffering a crushing knockout loss in a world title fight, junior middleweight contender Julian “J Rock” Williams is returning to the ring.
Williams (22-1-1, 14 KOs) will square off with Joshua Conley (14-1-1, 9 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round fight on June 30 (Bounce TV, 9 p.m. ET) at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, in the co-feature of a Premier Boxing Champions card, PBC announced on Thursday.
The fight will serve as the co-feature on the card headlined by the previously announced bout between lightweight world titleholder Robert Easter Jr. (19-0, 14 KOs), who will be defending his belt in his hometown, and mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov (38-2-1, 20 KOs).
Williams, 27, of Philadelphia, was a red-hot contender coming off three impressive knockout wins in a row when, as the mandatory challenger, he went up against 154-pound world titleholder Jermall Charlo on Dec. 10 in Los Angles and got his head handed to him after spending months trash-talking Charlo.
Charlo dominated the fight. He knocked Williams down three times en route to a decisive fifth-round knockout. Williams is looking to put the defeat behind him and work his way into another chance to fight for a world title.
“I am definitely excited to get back in the ring,” Williams said. “I can’t wait. It feels like it has been two years, not six months. I took my loss on the chin. I tried to learn as much as possible from it and I’m moving forward.
“Conley is a solid fighter. He only has one loss and it was to Daquan Arnett, who is another good fighter. I know he is coming to win. If he beats me, it opens a lot of doors and takes him to the next stage of his career, so I have to come prepared.”
Conley, 25, of San Bernardino, California, dropped an eight-round split decision to Arnett in August 2015 and has since won three fights in a row, all by knockout — albeit against very modest opposition. Williams represents a major step up in class.
“This is a great opportunity for my career and I feel like a win here puts me on the list of up-and-coming 154-pound fighters,” Conley said. “Training camp has been going well. I’m ready to do whatever it takes. I know that it’s going to be a tough fight. I expect Julian to come out fast and try to prove something, but I’m going to stay composed and do what I have to do.”
In the opening televised bout, southpaw welterweight prospects Jamontay Clark (11-0, 7 KOs), 22, of Cincinnati, and Ukraine native Ivan Golub (13-0, 11 KOs), 28, who fights out of Brooklyn, New York, will meet in an eight-round fight.