By Keith Idec
Ronald Ellis tested Junior Younan much more than any of his previous professional opponents Friday night.
Ellis still settled for a split draw after a very competitive, 10-round super middleweight match Showtime broadcast from WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa. Judge Fran Bechen scored the fight 96-94 for Ellis, but judge Jeff Sinnett had it 96-94 for Younan and judge Mike Contreras scored the action even (95-95).
The draw was a setback for Brooklyn’s Younan (13-0-1, 9 KOs), a flashy, 22-year-old prospect promoted by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. The 28-year-old Ellis, of Lynn, Massachusetts, now has two draws on his record (14-0-2, 10 KOs).
With the outcome seemingly in question, the fatigued fighters had trouble taking command in the 10th round. Ellis drilled Younan with a hard right uppercut late in the 10th, though, and made Younan retreat toward a corner.
Both boxers appeared tired in the ninth round and neither threw many punches.
Younan’s three-punch combination seemed to buzz Ellis when Ellis’ back was against the ropes, just before the midway mark of the eighth round. Younan unloaded a barrage of power punches to try to finish off Ellis, but Ellis withstood those troublesome moments.
A fatigued Younan took the rest of the round off and Ellis recovered.
Ellis landed a hard right hand early in the seventh round, which made Younan fire back. Ellis also connected with an effective right-left combination, which backed Younan into the ropes when there was a little less than a minute to go in the seventh.
Younan was busier in the sixth round, yet he didn’t land many punches. Ellis wasn’t particularly accurate in that round, either.
Younan moved throughout the fifth round. Ellis rarely stopped pursuing him, however, and connected with enough right hands to make those three minutes tough to score.
Ellis landed a solid right hand with just over two minutes to go in the fourth round. Younan held briefly to keep Ellis from continuing to throw punches.
Younan was sharp and active to start the third round, following a second round in which he didn’t do much. With Younan moving most of the time, Ellis wasn’t able to land as many punches in the third round as he did during the second round.
Ellis was more aggressive and effective in the second round, when Younan didn’t throw many punches. Ellis trapped Younan in a corner late in the second round, but he wasn’t able to hurt him.
Younan and Ellis traded power shots as part of an entertaining exchange that began with just over a minute to go in the first round. Neither fighter seemed affected by any of the punches that landed.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.