Junior Younan Talks Feb. 2 Bout vs. Ronald Ellis: “I Don’t Like Him…I’m Gonna Get Him Out of There”

By Caryn A. Tate on January 26, 2018
Junior Younan Talks Feb. 2 Bout vs. Ronald Ellis: “I Don’t Like Him…I’m Gonna Get Him Out of There”
“My brain is my best asset. I’ve been boxing for so long, I’m able to think under pressure.”

“My father used to bring me to the gym in a carriage. I don’t really remember having to learn how to box. I was always in the gym…”

A lot of professional boxers have been practicing their craft since they were young kids, but Junior “The Young God” Younan (13-0, 9 KOs) started so young he doesn’t remember the exact starting point.

“I was born into it,” Younan said. “My father [Sherif] boxed. When he was fighting, he used to train with Zab Judah’s father, Yoel Judah. These are the people I grew up in the gym around.

“My father used to bring me to the gym in a carriage. I don’t really remember having to learn how to box. I was always in the gym. When I was two, three, four years old I used to just throw punches. My father, you know, he put a lot into it. When I was younger, I never wanted to let him down. As I got older, I just grew more of a love, more of a passion for it.”

As Junior progressed in the sport and it required even more from him, he became increasingly competitive and focused on the satisfaction of victory.

“I loved winning. I won my first national tournament when I was ten years old. My father would be like, Okay, for this tournament, you’re fighting for those belts. You win the tournament, you get a belt. That was something that was so big to me when I was younger. It just continued on as I got older.”

Sherif Younan’s influence on Junior’s life and career has been tremendous. “My father was my biggest influence when I was younger. Like any other kid—they want to be just like their dad. He taught me everything I know in the sport. I’m very grateful.”

A strong bond and a positive relationship are critical for any fighter and coach. It’s no different if they’re blood relatives. “My dad’s my best friend,” Junior said. “We have a great relationship outside the gym and that plays a big factor in how things go inside the gym. Of course, like every father-son relationship, we bicker. But it’s all out of love at the end of the day. We work hard and get the job done.”

Something that’s readily apparent is Younan’s ring intelligence. One of his most impressive attributes is his ability to set effective traps for his foes. Junior spoke about that and what he considers his biggest strength.

“My brain is my best asset. I’ve been boxing for so long, I’m able to think under pressure. That helps me a lot. I feel like I can do anything in the ring. I can set a trap being aggressive. I can set a trap being defensive. That’s more of me just being comfortable and being able to think.

“It’s definitely important [to be able to fight well aggressively or defensively]. One-dimensional fighters I don’t think go too far in the sport. You always have to have another dimension to your game.”

Having multiple dimensions ensures that Junior can apply different tactics depending on his opponent. But it also means he can adjust what he’s doing depending on what he feels like doing in the moment. “I love boxing from the outside, using my jab, using my angles, making you miss. That’s fun to me. It all depends on my mood, honestly. It’s funny. If I get really comfortable on the inside, start digging to your body and making you miss on the inside as well.”

With his mobile style and strategic boxing ability, it’s not surprising who some of Junior’s heroes are. “I’m a very big fan of Roy Jones. That’s my favorite fighter of all time. Andre Ward—I got to fight on a few of his undercards. He’s an all-around professional, in and outside of the ring. I love watching Rigondeaux. I’m a very big fan of Johnny Tapia. You can’t leave Floyd out. He’s amazing.”

Junior and his father are also highly strategic and methodical when it comes to fight preparation. In the Younan camp, Sherif folds in specific tactics that will work well against Junior’s upcoming foe based on what he sees in that fighter. “We have a general plan when we go into training camp. The way we approach our fights, it’s maybe not too orthodox. I don’t like watching tape. I’ll take a couple looks here and there out of curiosity or if I can pull off certain things. But my father watches 24/7. My father—from the moment he wakes up in the morning to the moment he goes to sleep—he knows when [my opponent] is gonna sneeze. So he sees, he breaks down, he puts it into my training—so I do everything naturally.”

On February 2, Junior faces another undefeated boxer in Ronald Ellis (14-0-1, 10 KOs) in the main event on ShoBox. The card will be broadcast live on Showtime at 10pm ET/PT.

Younan knows his foe well, and has a strong prediction for the contest. “I sparred him about a year ago. I don’t see much in front of me. But he’s got long arms. He comes in very good shape. But we’re prepared to do everything in this fight. Anything he’s gonna try to bring, we have an answer for it.

“If I’m being politically correct, it’s gonna be a great fight. He’s a solid fighter. He’s gonna come prepared. But I don’t see the fight going the distance. I feel like I’m gonna get him out of there. Early. And if I don’t, I’m gonna break him down.

“When I go into the ring like that, with a chip on my shoulder and this type of focus, I’m usually right.”

With a bit of persuasion, Junior provided his non-politically correct opinion of Ellis and the bout. “I really don’t want this to go the distance. I don’t like him. It’s not personal. Before I signed the fight with him, I just didn’t really like him. I wasn’t feeling it.”

He laughed. “It wasn’t hard to get motivated.”

For the fans, Junior had one message: “Tune in February 2nd and watch me put on a show.”

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Junior Younan: A Day in Camp | SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION

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