NEWARK, New Jersey – Joey Spencer needed rounds last Saturday night.

The unbeaten junior middleweight prospect had logged less than five full rounds since January 2020 before he entered the ring to face James Martin in an eight-round fight FOX televised from Prudential Center. The 21-year-old Spencer also had surgery on his right hand four months ago, in which he had two pins inserted into it.

Philadelphia’s Martin (7-3, 0 KOs) upset previously undefeated welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. in his prior appearance, thus Spencer’s convincing points win was noteworthy. Judge James Kinney scored all eight rounds for Spencer (80-72), whereas judges John McKaie (79-73) and John Signorile (79-73) scored seven rounds apiece for the favored fighter.

Spencer (13-0, 9 KOs) is looking forward, however, to significantly increasing his level of opposition in 2022.

“Next year I’m looking to have a big year,” Spencer told BoxingScene.com, “as far as really starting to step up the competition.”

Spencer enjoyed experiencing what it was like to see Mielnicki’s faithful fans strongly support the Roseland, New Jersey, native at the home arena of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils for Mielnicki’s second-round stoppage of Noah Kidd in FOX’s co-feature Saturday night. He hopes to prove himself as a ticket-seller in Michigan against a tough opponent in a 10-rounder early next year.

“I can’t wait,” said Spencer, who has not fought in his home state as a pro. “I mean, we’ve talked about that for a while. I’m hoping that my first 10-rounder will be in Michigan. I’ve got some names in mind that I won’t mention right now, but I can see something big happening in maybe Detroit or Flint next year, 2022. We’ve got a huge following in Michigan, a very faithful following that’s just been so good to me. The community’s so amazing. I’m just looking forward to being able to pack a stadium like Mielnicki’s doing.”

Spencer is from Linden, Michigan, approximately 20 minutes from Flint and an hour from Detroit. The developing Spencer expects to fight again in 2021 before embracing that type of challenge.

He realizes that wherever and whoever he fights, he still has plenty to prove to those that consider him an overhyped prospect.

“I’m looking forward to showing people a lot of things,” Spencer said. “I feel like when we’re in with this level of competition in the beginning of our career, there’s so much to learn about being a pro and so much to learn about weight-cutting and going longer rounds and just growing into my older body. I turned pro when I was 17, so there’s a lot to learn. But now I’m getting to the point where I’m very comfortable and I’m having really good training camps. There’s still stuff to learn, but I’m really getting comfortable and now I’m ready to start stepping up the competition.

“With that proper competition, I believe that’s gonna bring the best out of me and it’s gonna be able to show people what I can really do because I don’t think that I’ve shown even half of what I can do. And that’s not being arrogant. I haven’t had the time in the ring to really show what I can do. … So, when I am able to get in there with a tough opponent and I come in at more than 50, 60 percent, then I feel like I’ll be able to show more than I have in the past and it’s gonna start to put the division fully on notice.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.