Recognized as a professional Colombian boxer, Joel Jalil Julio Mejia was born January 18, 1985 in Montería, Colombia. After his parent’s divorce at age 10, Julio began to spend most of his time practicing the sport and was later discovered by a local Monteria, Colombia pediatrician named Oscar Gomez. Gomez and his brother Herman Gomez learned of Joel’s domestic circumstances and his natural boxing abilities and offered him a place to stay in their home. At age 14, Julio moved to Bogota, Colombia with the Gomez brothers to continue his boxing career. He began his professional career at the young age of 16 when he boxed against Jorge Perez in Monitos, Colombia and won by knockout. Julio’s brute strength and heavy hooks convinced Main Events to sign the fighter and the promotional company arranged for his relocation to Miami in 2008 so he could work with the renowned Buddy McGirt. A true family man, he remains extremely close with his mother and has been given the opportunity to purchase two homes for her in Colombia.
Awards and Honors
In his early days, he went 85-0 as an amateur in Colombia and also became recognized as a Two-time national champion. In 2005, Julio was named ESPN.com's Boxing Prospect of the Year and he has appeared on Ring Magazine's New Faces feature, as well as in ShoBox.
Julio’s outstanding awards and honors include:
Professional Boxing Career
Totaling up eighteen victories in the course of three years, his manager immediately sent Joel to the U.S. Despite a record that had many spectators extremely doubtful, Julio immediately attracted interest on his stateside debut with a three round annihilation of Antonio Soriano. Concerns spread that Julio’s career was being moved too fast when he was matched with the experienced Carlos Wilfredo Vilches in April 2005. Ten months earlier Vilches went the twelve round distance with Ricky Hatton in Manchester and brought a 43-5-2 record to the bout with Julio. But the relative novice wasted little time silencing the doubters and bullied Vilches until the Argentine was rescued after nine minutes. Three more knockout wins that year helped Julio earn recognition as the ESPN.com Prospect of the Year. “Julio is arguably the hottest prospect around,” said boxing writer and broadcaster Steve Farhood in 2005. He is very fast and has natural knockout power. [Against Vilches] Julio sent a message that he could be dominant.” To Julio, It wasn’t who he beat but more how he beat his opponent. “I got into boxing to knock people out,” explains Julio, whose good-natured personality contradicts his brutality inside the ring. “I am a dog and I am going to attack.” The 5’10 welterweight seemed to have the perfect physique for his weight class and his raw power seemed capable of rendering any opponent unconscious. “People might see my record and see that I don’t have a lot of knockouts, but I was facing guys bigger than me, fighting middleweights.” Given the nickname "Love Child" by ESPN Writer Dan Rafael, he will commonly be seen wearing a LC on his trunks during his fights.
To Julio, the toughest part about being a boxer is making the weight and taking care of himself. Preparing in between fights, Julio keeps in shape by running and weight training. His typical breakfast consists of a protein shake & fruits and he always consumes grilled chicken and a salad before every pre-fight meal in order to stay on top.
Julio described his most painful boxing moment when he lost to Carlos Quintana in 2006. “I did not have enough energy to reach the 12th round. I lost the opportunity to fight for the world title.”
Today, Julio’s main focus is to move down to his old division. The welterweight division is where he believes to be most competitive and to have the most opportunities. When asked who he wishes to face next in the ring he stated, “I would like to fight Victor Ortiz or Andre Berto, but I am prepared to fight anyone at 147 lbs and I feel I can beat them. My speed and power increase at 147 lbs and I want to remind everyone that I have 31 KOs out of 36 wins while fighting at Welterweight.”
Inspired by Mike Tyson, Joel Julio’s favorite all time fighter, he wishes to leave the few losses behind him and concentrate on the bigger picture, which is to get a title shot in the welterweight division and fulfill his dream of becoming recognized as a world champion.