IT was meant to be a homecoming celebration. Julian Williams was returning to his Philadelphia hometown with the WBA and IBF super-welterweight crowns, to fight there for the first time in eight years. Jeison Rosario wasn’t supposed to win. Except he did.

Ultimately Williams could not contain him. Williams picked up a cut in the second round and in the fifth Rosario eventually broke through to end the contest at 1-37 at the Liacouras Center on Saturday (January 18).

Chastened, Williams still expects to trigger his rematch clause and fight Rosario once again. “I wasn’t surprised he was so good,” said Williams. “I told everybody he’s a real fighter. I have to accept it. The cut blurred my vision a little bit but it wasn’t the reason why I lost. He was the better fighter tonight. We’ve got a rematch clause. I’ll see him again soon. I’ll be back.”

“Rosario was the better man tonight,” Williams added. “It was a great homecoming for my fans and I’m sorry I let them down. What went wrong tonight needs to and will be fixed. We’re going to an immediate rematch and we look forward to returning the favour.”

The celebrating was left to Rosario. “As soon as I stepped into the ring, I knew he could not hurt me,” he declared. “I knew that my power was affecting him right away. This is a big victory for me and for the whole Dominican Republic.”

“I’m so emotional in this moment right now,” Rosario continued. “When I lost my last fight I said I will never lose again until I become champion of the world and that’s what happened tonight. I came prepared. I knew before the fight that I was going to win it.”