Julian Smith was a freshman in high school the first time he put on a pair of gloves, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Julian's big brother Brandon slid on the gloves and said, “We’re gonna box.”
But years later, at the age of 22, he lost Brandon to gun violence. Now he fights in Brandon's memory.
It's not easy. Because Julian is deaf, his trainer had to figure out a way to communicate with him in the ring.
“I didn’t want him to take his eyes off his opponent,” Julian's trainer, Pierre Scott, told the Sun-Times. That made sign language impractical. “I came up with the idea to use bright towels.”
So Scott flashes towels from the corner, and each towel symbolizes something different.
Although some worried that his deafness put him at a disadvantage, Julian disagreed. He believes he has the advantage: his opponent will never understand that secret code.
On Friday night, with his entire family at ringside, Julian became a Golden Gloves champion with a second-round knockout.
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