Junior middleweight contender Julian “J Rock” Williams’ first shot at a world title belt did not go well when Jermall Charlo dropped him three times and knocked him out in the fifth round in December.
Williams hopes to put himself in position for another title opportunity by beating former world titlist Ishe Smith in a 10-round bout that will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on Nov. 18 (Bounce TV, 9 p.m. ET) at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“We’ve been working hard for months, and I’m ready to get back in the ring,” Williams said Monday, when Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions announced the card. “I could fight tomorrow. I know this is an important fight for my career. Ishe is a veteran, and he is going to bring his A game to try to prove he’s still got it. I’m not going to give him that opportunity. I will be victorious and show that I’m ready to fight the best in the world.”
Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs), 27, of Philadelphia, won his only bout since the knockout loss to Charlo when he stopped Joshua Conley in the seventh round on June 30.
Smith (29-8, 12 KOs), 39, of Las Vegas, won a world title by majority decision from Cornelius “K9” Bundrage in February 2013 in Bundrage’s hometown of Detroit, but he lost the belt by split decision to Carlos Molina in his first defense seven months later. Since winning the belt, Smith is just 4-3 and will be coming off a 13-month layoff when he fights Williams.
“I took this fight just like I’ve taken every tough fight over the years,” Smith said. “I constantly challenge myself to the best, and I believe Julian Williams is one of the best in the division. If you look at my résumé, all I’ve done is fight the best guys, in their prime, so this is nothing new to me. I’ve reached the point where I’ve seen it all. This fight will get me exactly where I need to be, closer to a world title shot.”
In the co-feature, light heavyweight prospect Earl Newman (10-0-1, 7 KOs), 26, of Brooklyn, New York, will take on Lionell Thompson (18-4, 11 KOs), 32, of Buffalo, New York, in a 10-round bout.
A scheduled 10-round featherweight fight will open the telecast as Tugstsogt Nyambayar (8-0, 8 KOs), 25, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist for Mongolia who fights out of Carson, California, will square off with 19-year-old Sacramento, California, prospect Xavier Martinez (9-0, 5 KOs).