By Eric Lunger
This evening on ShoBox: The Next Generation, undefeated prospect Junior Younan (13-0, 9 KOs) took on Ronald Ellis (14-0-1, 10 KOs) in a ten-round super middleweight bout at the WinnaVegas Casino and Resort in Sloan, Iowa. Younan, a Brooklyn native with an outstanding amateur background, has generated some real interest in his young career, and tonight was a sparkling chance to showcase his talents. Ellis was making his third appearance on The Next Generation, and his first foray at the (scheduled) ten-round distance.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
The first round was action-packed with both men letting their hands go. Younan may have landed more effective jabs, but it was a very close round. The second round was more tactical by both men, with Younan flurrying but Ellis doing some effective work inside. The action slowed a bit in the third, with Younan looking confident and smooth, and Ellis keeping his hands home.
In the fourth, Younan was content to counter Ellis as the latter came in. Ellis scored one successful sequence in close, but otherwise Younan was in control. As the middle rounds wore on, Ellis came forward, but Younan’s footwork and counter punching kept him ahead, in my view. It was a risky game, however, as judges can be reluctant to give rounds to the man on his back foot. Ellis scored some heavy shots in the seventh, bringing the crowd out of their seats and backing Younan up.
Urgency from both men was the theme of the eighth round, and (for a change) Younan had Ellis on the ropes and scored a number of heavy shots. Clearly punched out, Younan took the last half of the round off, but Ellis was unable to respond. The action slowed again in the ninth, as both fighters took the round off. Both corners urged their fighters on for the tenth, with the bout clearly in the balance. Both men were visibly exhausted in the tenth, but Ellis landed one fierce uppercut late in the round. Was it enough?
The judges scored the bout: 96-94 for Ellis, 96-94 for Younan, and 95-95, for a split draw.
In the co-feature, Cleveland native Thomas Mattice (10-0, 8 KOs) took on Rolando Chinea (15-1-1, 6 KOs) from Lancaster, PA, by way of Puerto Rico, in an eight-round lightweight contest. Chinea is an aggressive pressure fighter, and he showed it in the first round. He is all pressure all the time. Mattice did well to absorb the attack, and in the second round Mattice landed some effective counters. The punch output in the first two rounds was absurdly high.
Chinea continued his relentless assault in the middle rounds, pinning Mattice against the ropes and eating a few uppercuts. Nonetheless, Chinea landed a lot of effective shots. Mattice tried to use his jab to keep Chinea off of him – and at times was successful — but the Puerto Rican fighter just kept on coming. Then, suddenly, in the seventh, Mattice caught Chinea with a short right hook, snapping Chinea’s head back and staggering him. Mattice went on the attack, landing a succession of blows, and forcing a well-timed stoppage.
In the opening televised bout, Montana Love (8-0, 4 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio, took on Sam Teah (12-1-1, 5 KOs) of Philadelphia, PA. Love came in as a late substitute for Wellington Romero, who was sidelined by an injury. Love came out confidently, throwing a straight left from his southpaw stance, while Teah started slowly, or patiently, depending on your point of view. Teah had difficulty managing the distance to his opponent, struggling to settle into any sort of productive rhythm. Love landed more effective punches in the early rounds, countering Teah and using his hand speed to keep Teah at bay. The Philadelphia fighter presented a stationary target, remaining right in front of Love for the majority of the fight.
Love scored well in the seventh, with Teah looking frustrated and confused. The eighth went the same way, with Montana Love putting on a professional and confident performance. The judges scored it 76-76, 78-74, 78-74 for Love.