By Alex Beard (@alex_beard17)
A fascinating light-middleweight match-up was announced last week with IBF champion Jermall Charlo set to face mandatory challenger and fellow unbeaten fighter Julian Williams on December 10.
The card, promoted by newly returned Richard Schaefer, also features an exciting contest between featherweight contenders Abner Mares and Jesus Cuellar.
It is Charlo’s battle with Williams, however, that will really have caught boxing fans eyes. The two 26-year-olds are amongst the best in the division, and the reputation of whoever loses is unlikely to take much of a hit due to the quality of the bout.
Charlo (24-0-KO18) won his title in September last year with a tremendous third round knockout of Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage, and followed that up with a stoppage of Wilky Campfort and a decision over the always-tricky Austin Trout last time out. Charlo’s twin brother Jermell joined him as a titleholder in May with an eighth round TKO of John Jackson to claim the vacant WBC belt.
Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams (22-0-1-KO14) doesn’t have the names that Charlo has on his record, but has rounded into form nicely, coming into this fight on the back of three straight stoppages. Both men have clear pop in their punches, and have risen to the occasion whenever they have stepped up their level of competition.
In a now rare occurrence in boxing, two of the best young fighters in the sport will be taking each other on at this relatively early stage of their career. Charlo will likely head into this bout as a slight favourite, having beaten better opposition and by virtue of being champion. His skill was evident in the Trout fight as he showed that he’s not just a big puncher. Trout is a terrific technician, and for anyone to outpoint him over 12 rounds is impressive.
Williams epitomises the tough Philadelphia style of fighting made famous by Rocky Balboa, and his demeanour outside the ring continues this theme. He recently told Boxing Scene of his intentions leading up to the fight: “I think I’m a better fighter, but I plan on proving it on fight night.
“I don’t really get into his fans or my fans, opinions really don’t matter, we gotta fight the fight inside the ring. I’m gonna be quiet. I don’t have to talk, I’m going to let my hands do the talking.”
As a fighter you can only find so much out about yourself by beating club fighters and veterans on your way up. The true test comes when you’re looking across the ring at a hungry, young fighter who doesn’t want to lose their ‘0’, just like you. Charlo and Williams will experience this feeling on December 10, when they take on their toughest test thus far.
This fight will determine where each man stands in a stacked light-middleweight division. Massive contests await for the winner against the likes of WBO champ Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1-KO34), WBA holder Erislandy Lara (23-2-2-KO13), former champion Demetrius Andrade (23-0-KO16) and IBF welterweight king Kell Brook (36-1-KO25) who is expected to settle in the 154 lbs weightclass.
For now, though, fans can look forward to a mouth-watering clash between two of the very best young fighters in the sport. Roll on December 10.by