Julian Williams will have to wait yet a little longer for his comeback bout.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Williams has suffered an unspecified injury while training that has forced him to withdraw from his upcoming fight against Brian Mendoza. Philadelphia’s Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) and Albuquerque’s Mendoza (19-1, 13 KOs) were supposed to meet in a 10-round junior middleweight match Saturday night on the Showtime Pay-Per-View undercard of the Gervonta Davis-Mario Barrios bout at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Williams, 31, hasn’t fought since he suffered a surprising fifth-round, technical-knockout defeat to Jeison Rosario in January 2020 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. The former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion was consistently listed as a 30-1 favorite to defeat the Dominican Republic’s Rosario in that optional title defense.
Williams changed trainers after that defeat, from BoxingScene.com contributor Stephen “Breadman” Edwards to Javan “Sugar Hill” Steward. He has been training with Steward since November in Las Vegas.
Williams was supposed to fight Mendoza in a FOX Sports main event December 26 in Los Angeles, but Williams contracted COVID-19 and his return to the ring was delayed.
It was unclear at the time this story was posted Sunday afternoon if a suitable substitute could be found for Mendoza on such short notice for the pay-per-view portion of Saturday’s card (9 p.m. EDT; $74.99).
In addition to Baltimore’s Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) moving up two weight classes to challenge San Antonio’s Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) for his secondary WBA 140-pound championship in the 12-round main event, Showtime’s pay-per-view show will include an intriguing 12-round, 154-pound battle between Erickson Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs), of Orlando, Florida, and Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs).
Rosario will try to bounce back from losing the titles he won from Williams to Jermell Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs). Houston’s Charlo knocked out Rosario in the eighth round of Rosario’s last fight, which took place September 26 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, 7 KOs), a southpaw from Uzbekistan, also is scheduled to square off against Argenis Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Yonkers, New York, in a 12-round, 140-pound WBA elimination match that’ll be part of this pay-per-view broadcast.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.