By Tré Berry III🖊️ | 09/23/2020
The often overused “rags to riches“ story typically falls into the category as a cliché these days, with minimal relevance, however 🇩🇴Jeison “Banana” Rosario’s story gives true credence to what the slogan (or phrase) was initially meant to mean. Rosario’s journey was that of real perseverance, that has him on the doorsteps with an opportunity to become true Super-Welterweight Champion of the world, burgeoning opportunities that now has him living comfortably, but it was a far journey from where he started.
ENDURING VERY HUMBLING BEGINNINGS
Growing up in Santo Domingo in (the capital of the Dominican Republic), he and his siblings had a relatively poor upbringing monetarily. He was raised by his loving mother, but was unaware of who his biological father was. By the age of 14, Jeison, his siblings, and his mother lived in a cardboard box that they set up next to a dumpster. Understanding that he had to accelerate his maturation process just to survive, he had to essentially become a man early early in order to help keep their head above water so-to-speak.
Doing whatever he had to do in order to get food just to make it through the day, he would often get threatened by a man that his mother had a relationship at the time, threatening to burn the cardboard box with a propane tank. A cruel thing to threaten, all that did was ⛽fuel Jeison’s 🔥fire to say “NO MORE”, and search for ways to pull himself, as well as his mother out of the situation that they’ve found themselves in.
Rough conditions often breed tough individuals, so the pinned up rage that Jeison accumulated, he would realize over time that he was good with his hands after getting into repeated fights. He would parlay that into getting the attention of some people, and took up training in a local gym. Fast forwarding a little bit, he would make his professional debut at the age of 18, winning by a technical knockout in the first round.
He won his first 12 fights combating against local domestic opposition, and he worked himself in a position to travel and fight a top contender, in the United States (in Las Vegas to be precise), that being 🇯🇲🇺🇸Nathanial Gallimore, who bested Rosario by 6th round knockout of technical variety.
While beaten, he wasn’t defeated, as a loss was absolutely nothing compared to what he had to go through in his adolescence. Taking the setback in stride, he would go 3-0-1 in his next 4 bouts before he got to the match that would put him on the map as a rising prospect-turned contender.
Unbeaten prospect Jamontay Clark drew some intrigue from boxing insiders as one to watch, proving some of his potential along the way. Rosario impressively fought his way to a points victory, winning by Unanimous Decision. With 3 more victories against respected competition, Rosario got his shot at the big time, fighting against newly awarded IBF/WBA Super-Welterweight Titlist 🇺🇸Julian “J Rock” Williams. Rosario understood he was basically a throw-in so that Williams could have a ceremonious outcome in front of his Philadelphia-based home crowd for a first title defense.
Given everything that Rosario had to go through in life, he was not one to let a major opportunity such as this slip through his fingers, as this fight represented everything needed as his families golden ticket. He poured everything he had in that fight, and once he had Williams hurt, he refused to let up, loading up on every shot he could until he forced the Referee to step in, and just like that, it happened for the kid who had to live and sleep next to a dumpster, wondering if he would eat for the day had made his persistent dream come true.
As he was dawned with his brand new WBA and IBF World Title Belts, literally ALL of those tough, daunting memories of difficult times past surfaced, mixing in with his joy of the moment, and wept uncontrollably during his post-fight celebration. That moment said it all for Mr. Rosario, who attributed over time that those events earlier in life shaped him to be the tough man that we see today.
Now the biggest fight of his career comes against dangerous WBC Titlist 🇺🇸Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo with the winner to hoist 4 of the 5 belts, and yet again, Rosario will have to use his past experiences to rise to the challenge to become the cream of the crop in the Super-Welterweight division.