PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- West Philadelphia's Julian Williams fought back tears after winning the IBF and WBA Welterweight boxing titles on Saturday.
The Overbook High grad shed tears of joy - overcoming so many punches to the gut in the ring and in life.
"I've been chasing this dream since I was a little kid," he said.
Boxing was Williams outlet during a difficult childhood. He was homeless at 13 years old while his mom battled drug addiction and his father was in jail.
Williams was in and out of shelters, including one on the first floor of what was once the Roosevelt Boulevard Motel.
"I remember breaking down and crying in front of my coach," he added.
This was not rock bottom for J-Rock. It was when his mom died six years ago from the effects of her cocaine use which he calls the hardest moment of his life in 2013.
All of the adversity did not knock him down, Williams never wanted to throw in the towel, it made him fight harder to become champion and he hopes other kids or teenagers can use this to encourage them and believe if he made it they can too.
Now the proud 29-year-old wants to chase more belts and defend his titles in the fall.
Local boxer overcomes tough childhood to become champ