The vacation in Jamaica didn’t unfold the way it would or should have. The last fight, he didn’t do what he wanted to do, knew he could do. Junior Younan lay on the beach and felt restless.
An application of lotion and a sun soothing session, a pleasant libation, they couldn’t calm the gears whirring in his head...
He’d not given the fans what they wanted and what he felt they deserved when he gloved up in July 2017 against Mike Guy in California.
Younan won, but via decision. He isn’t a “skills pay the bills, winning is all that matters, just win and look good next time” guy. Younan (13-0) knows that to elevate to where he wants to be, looking sharp and nasty, and delivering an entertaining outing is necessary.
That is what we will see in his next tussle, which comes Feb. 2 against Ronald Ellis, a Massachusetts-based fellow super middleweight, Younan informs me.
“This has been my best camp, because I know what this is, my best opportunity,” said Younan, age 22. “I haven’t been giving myself a fair shake, I don’t think I’ve been taking things as serious as I could. I have to put on a show!”
And ample eyeballs will be focused on the mashup, which headlines the “ShoBox” card from Iowa.
I was curious…was there a specific lightbulb moment when he experienced an epiphany?
“I felt I could be much better than I was showing,” Younan continued. “Now I’m in perfect shape, firing on all cylinders. It was after that last fight, I don’t think I showed my best, wasn’t as sharp as how I wanted to look. I should have put on a better performance. Then I took a trip, to Jamaica, I reflected. I came back with a different mindset. I didn’t want to feel like that again. These guys (when I’m at my best) can’t fuck with me! Excuse my language, but…On my game, in shape, they really can’t.”
In Iowa, an all-star corner, comprised of father Sharif Younan, Andre Rozier and Gary Stark Sr. will be watching this new version, he told me, after strength and conditioning coach Luis Ruiz has aided in getting him to A grade.
As for Ellis, what does Younan, who’s been sharpening up with light heavy Marcus Browne, think of him, a 14-0-1 hitter? “We sparred, about a year ago. I didn’t think much of him. I was just coming back , he was getting ready for a fight. It should be a fun night for me.”
Let’s talk about that KO mindset…
“A lot of guys want to go in there and just win, I want to go in and be dominant.” He doesn’t want to be “normal,” he said, he wants to put on a show, give fans their money’s worth. “I’m not going to be looking for the KO,” the Bensonhurt, Brooklyn resident, signed to Roc Nation, continued, “but if it’s there I’m going to knock this guy out. “
Really, though…or is he just parroting what trainers tell him? All due respect, I’ve seen Junior fight, and it can look like he’s gunning for the stoppage!
“I’m not going to be looking for it,” he reiterated. “But if it comes to me, I’m going to take the opportunity. Yes, it’s always nice to make it a quick night of work!”
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