Julian Williams wanted to make a statement on Monday night against a seasoned pro that has been in the ring against some of the best fighters in boxing.
After two-plus rounds, Williams did just that and is beginning to establish himself as a legit and talented prospect in the process.
Williams scored an impressive third round knockout over Freddy Hernandez at the House of Blues in Boston. The bout headlined a Golden Boy Live card and broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports Deportes.
Hernandez had faced a number of talented contenders or solid fighters in the junior middleweight division. He had lost his previous four bouts in a row prior to the Williams bout, with those losses against the likes Erislandy Lara, Demetrius Andrade, Delvin Rodriguez, and most recently, Francisco Santana.
Williams was coming off a third-round technical knockout over Orlando Lora in his last bout on Dec. 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Within the first 20 seconds from the opening bell, Williams dropped Hernandez with a counter right hand to the head. Hernandez was not visibly hurt and fought on after getting up off the canvas.
Williams worked well from the center of the ring where he effectively countered anything Hernandez threw at him. He scored particularly well with more right hands to the head of Hernandez.
In the opening moments of the third round, from a southpaw stance, Williams dropped Hernandez with a short left cross to the head. Hernandez tumbled over and remained on his knees while referee Leo Gerstel counted him out at 35 seconds.
Williams, from Philadelphia, Pa., improves to 15-0-1, 9 knockouts. Hernandez, from Mexico City, falls to 30-7, 20 KOs.
Santos stops Barron in five
Alexis Santos came out very aggressively from the opening bell. He tried to score a knockout or at the least a knockdown early in the opening minute of the round. Sylvester Barron would grab onto Santos and hold on until referee Bob Benoit would separate both fighters.
The pace of the fight slowed down considerably, but there were times when Santos would smother himself and could not get any extension on his punches. It allowed for the southpaw Barron to try and land a lead left hand to the head of Santos.
With about a minute left in the fifth round, Santos trapped Barron against the ropes, where he landed two left hooks to the head. Barron was visibly hurt, but it did not stop Santos from landing a devastating left hook to the head that sent Barron hard to the canvas.
Referee Benoit looked to administer a count, but waved the fight over when Barron’s corner threw in the towel at 2:08.
Santos, from nearby Lawrence, goes to 13-0, 11 KOs. Barron, from Seattle, falls to 8-4, 3 KOs.
Nevin decisions Candelaria in debut
Junior lightweight John Joe Nevin won a six-round unanimous decision over Alberto Candelaria.
Nevin was making his professional debut in a scheduled six round bout, a rarity in the sport of boxing, while Candelaria entered the bout unbeaten.
Nevin landed the harder and more telling blows in the first half of the fight. While both fighters threw wide hooks or crosses, Nevin’s punches connected more frequently.
Sensing he was down on the scorecards, Candelaria launched an aggressive attack in the fifth round. He was able to get on the inside of Nevin’s guard, connecting with right hands to the head. The rally was short-lived as Nevin swung momentum on his side in the sixth round, landing hard left hooks to the head that at least on one occasion buckled Candelaria’s legs. Candelaria was able to make it to the final round.
All three judges scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Nevin, who hails from Mullingar, Ireland. Candelaria, from Utuado, Puerto Rico, drops to 3-1-1, 2 KOs.
Kavanagh bounces back with win
In the opening round of the Golden Boy Live telecast, lightweight prospect Jamie Kavanagh rebounded from the first defeat of his career with an eight round unanimous decision over Andres Navarro.
Navarro entered the bout against Kavanagh having won five bouts in a row. He was able to match Kavanagh punch for punch, but the pedigree of Kavanagh began to show more in the third round. Now working with trainer Joel Diaz, Kavanagh was able to beat Navarro to the punch with solid left hooks to the head and body.
Anytime Navarro attempted to mount a rally in the second half of the fight, Kavanagh put him on the defensive by throwing and landing a two or three-punch combination. Kavanagh finished those combinations to the head, particularly with left hooks or an occasional uppercut.
To his credit, Navarro kept pressing the attack in the final round, even when the outcome of the bout looked evident. During an exchange, a cut opened over the right eye of Kavanagh.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Kavanagh, 79-73, 79-73, and 80-72.
The Irish-born Kavanagh, who trains in Indio, Calif., improves to 16-1-1, 7 KOs. Navarro, from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, goes to 9-5-1, 6 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing