Stephen Edwards talks on split with Julian Williams
The interconnection between fighter and trainer can be full of highs and lows. What may seem rosy on the way up can often lead to discontent and ultimately, separation all in the matter of one or two fights. The latest example of this is the relationship between former unified junior middleweight champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs) and trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards. During an appearance on the Showtime Boxing Podcast with Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney, Edwards announced that he and Williams are no longer working together.
“I just had to remove myself from the situation; I’ve been feeling this way for a while. We had a great ride for 10 years. You know it’s hard to endure two losses. In boxing, a trainer and their fighter’s relationship, if it lasts longer than ten years, that’s a long time.
You know, it’s hard to endure two losses. When a fighter loses a fight, especially by knockout, usually the trainer… they kind of separate. We just couldn’t get past this last loss. I wish we could have, I got a lot of love for the kid.
The situation just wasn’t good for me anymore. I don’t have any regrets, I thought I did a great job for him. With status, with money and things like that more people come into your circle… I just think that when you’re feeding off other people’s energy it takes the focus away from the special bond me and Julian had, and it destroyed our relationship when it comes to boxing.”
Edwards did not go into specifics regarding his decision to leave. However, he implied that Williams has let too many folks into his circle. As a result, he believes it has compromised his relationship as a trainer.
He went on to say he’s not an enemy of Williams and believes he can once again become a world champion. Yet, the dynamic between the two is not what it used to be.
THIS WAS SIMMERING
The roots of their discord seem to go back to Williams’ last fight on January 18, 2020. Jeison Rosario would stop Williams in five rounds to claim the WBA/IBF world Junior Middleweight titles. Afterwards, Edwards told Ring Magazine that he was very disappointed and that the 30-year-old from Philadelphia has lost his edge and is no longer a hungry fighter.
There are two minds of thought. When Williams was at the lowest point of his career following a loss to Jermall Charlo on December 10, 2016, it was Edwards who helped bring him up from the agony of defeat. The resurrection culminated in “J-Rock” defeating Jarrett Hurd to become the unified champion at 154-pounds.
In his mind, when others were not there following the Charlo fight, he was. He feels he was the one who helped on the road to becoming a world champion. And now with a level of success, the perceived entourage that has followed was something he is not willing to deal with as a general principle.
However, this is the same Edwards who views himself as a truth-teller, has a reputation for being very hard on his fighters, and is never one to bite his tongue both privately and publicly. Dealing with trainers with that kind of personality can wear on a fighter, especially following a loss.
As of this writing, Williams has yet to respond to Edwards’ comments. It will be interesting who he chooses to be his next trainer.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.