Undefeated super middleweight prospect Junior Younan has slowly been morphing into a rising star 15 fights into his pro career, but now he wants bigger challenges.
Just days away from his next fight, set to take place in Verona, New York on the undercard of a DAZN boxing card, Younan talks to Fightful about what he hopes to get out of 2019. For months, Younan has been training for his first of 2019 and even spent time sparring with Marcus Browne in preparation for his eventual win over Badou Jack to win the interim WBA light heavyweight title. Younan said his current training camp went very well and was happy that he was able to help Browne prepare for what ended up being the biggest win of his career.
“Camp has been amazing. I’ve been in camp since December. I was in training camp with Marcus Browne when got ready for the Badou fight and then I got back and continued my own camp. So I’m in phenomenal shape, probably the best shape of my life. I’m excited man,” Younan said. "My dad trains Marcus so I’ve been sparring with him for years. It’s great work. We always talk a lot of shit and we’re both very competitive. It’s a great atmosphere and I’m glad I could contribute as much as I could with him winning that fight."
Younan was born into the sport being carried to the gym in a baby carriage and witness many a training session involving his father, a former pro boxer, and the likes of Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi. Younan's entire life had been nothing but being exposed to the sweet science.
“I don’t remember learning how to box, it’s just been my whole life basically. I was so young, I grew up in the gym around Zab and Paulie Malignaggi. Back in the day, Lou DiBella had Broadway Boxing and there was a bunch a talent that I got to see as I grew up. I saw guys like Andre Berto, Jermaine Taylor, just a bunch a guys that I got to see back in the day when I was younger. Gleason’s Gym back in the day was a pit for the best fighters,” Younan said.
The New York native told Fightful that he will be facing long-time veteran Derrick Findley on March 9. Findley would be Younan's most experienced opponent thus far, having faced the likes of Andre Dirrell, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Jose Uzcategui and even Andre Ward in Ward's 10th pro fight. Regardless of the opponent put in front of him, Younan expects to give the Verona, New York crowd a memorable performance.
“At the end of the day, I’m a showman so I like the bigger crowds. Just being on those big shows, it’s just a different energy so I do enjoy it. But at the end of the day, I have to do what I got to do, whether I’m fighting in Vegas or I’m fighting in someone’s backyard (laughs). It doesn’t really enter my mind at this point, but it is exciting. I feel like I have to step up in each fight because at this point, it’s all about getting better with every performance. There’s definitely a little bit of pressure. I know I’m getting better and I’m going to show that on Saturday,” Younan said.
As far as his outside the ring ventures, Younan does have a love of the popular video game Fortnite, which he plays a lot when he's not in the gym training. He even has a passion for cooking and is even considering exploring that side once he hangs up his gloves for good.
“When I’m done with boxing, I want to go to culinary school. It’s a while from now, but I enjoy cooking and maybe I’ll do something with that one day,” Younan said.
But for now, the 23-year-old Younan still has a long career ahead of him and hopes to eventually reach a point where he challenge for a world title. Younan hopes 2019 ends up being a breakout year for him and wants to face all of the top names in the division when he gets to the next level saying, "when the time is right, I want all of them."
Younan's fight will take place at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York on March 9. The card will be shown on DAZN in the United States with two world title fights set for the event: Dmitry Bivol vs. Joe Smith Jr. for the WBA light heavyweight title and Maurice Hooker vs. Mikkel LesPierre for the WBO junior welterweight title. The full interview can be seen in the video above.