You see fighters come and go. They have their reasons after a loss and many times it revolves around a contract dispute or waiting for the eventual release from the manager or promoter.
It’s all part of the boxing game. You win some, you lose some. And there is the adversity that fighters seem to overcome.
Junior Younan, a 25-year old super middleweight from Brooklyn, has been there. Two years ago there was a controversial 10-round split decision draw against Robert Ellis that was televised on Showtime Championship Boxing.
“I thought I won that fight,” he said.
Perhaps, Younan won that battle and it was a fight that should have propelled him to more opportunities. The contract disputes with the promoter, Roc Nation Sports, over a span of two years, got in the way. There were times of inactivity and trying to get motivated, then, this past year, COVID caused a disruption for Younan and so many other fighters.
As they say, that was then and this is now. Younan is preparing and ready for his debut fight with “Triller Fight Club” as part of an undercard of their next pay-per-view event, April 17 at Mercedes -Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Younan (15-0-1) opposes Jeyson Minda (14-4-1) on the fight card and entertainment format that has quickly become a new and popular spectacle.
Jake Paul (Cleveland) taking on former Bellator and OneFC champion Ben Askren (Cedar Rapids, Ohio); Regis Prograis (New Orleans) opposes Ivan Redkach (Shostka, Ukraine); and MMA heavyweight Frank Mir (Las Vegas) opposes Steve Cunningham (Philadelphia) on the four-hour telecast. Don’t forget performances from Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo and Major Lazer.
But let’s keep this to boxing and about Junior Younan, because Triller is the newest kid on the block and providing him with an opportunity to make a statement again in a division dominated with champions. Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant hold the titles and David Benavidez is also vying for another championship opportunity.
Younan has always had the skills. Fight people around him at the gyms in Brooklyn and Staten Island have never had a doubt the opportunity would come again to make a statement. He has sparred with Danny Jacobs and Marcus Browne, two of the best who have made their statements and proud members of the New York boxing fraternity.
Then Pete Kahn came along. The Triller Fight Club Chief Operating Officer saw the potential and provided Younan with a managerial contract Brooklyns’ Paulie Malignaggi, the former champion put them together at a Bare Knuckles promotion in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“It was rough for a little while the mental part of thing being out,”Younan said. “Great manager in Pete Kahn and started getting ready. Went to Florida sparred. Good to be back. I got back to work. I had a stellar camp and a great few months.”
Younan’s dad and trainer (Sherif) trained Mailignaggi for his fight against Amir Khan. So as it goes in boxing Yonan and Malignaggi stayed in contact.
“ Junior is a fighter,” Sherif says. “It was a very trying time for us. He went through a lot. I was out of his hand. Junior has a lot of faith. I kept motivating him. He stuck in there and listened. He continued to believe. It was very hard. He didn’t see light at end of the tunnel with empty promises.”
But in the end they always believed things would change. The task to get back on top won’t be easy which makes this first fight with a new promotion that more significant.
The Triller Fight Club promotion has quickly caught on. Besides playing a major role in staging the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. exhibition in late November, a PPV event that tallied over a million buys, fighters are taking notice about the concept as the new kid on the block.
For a fighter from Brooklyn, out of the ring a few years, he welcomes this opportunity and loves the Triller concept. “It’s good for the sport,” Younan said. “They are bringing in a new audience that don’t hurt. I think it brings a lot more eyes to the sport as much as people want to criticize it. I definitely support it. People who hate it don’t make sense to me.”
However, no matter how you look at it, Junior Younan is back in the ring and that makes sense as he plans to fight two more times this year if the opportunity is there.
And boxing is never dull when there are more promotions that are willing to provide work and opportunity for fighters. Add the name of Junior Younan to the Triller Fight Club and a new beginning.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Fcebook.com/Rich Mancuso