The kid has been fighting since he was in diapers. But the kid is now 21, diapers are not in the equation, and his man strength is starting to blossom. That is, potentially, bad news for people who will be fighting Junior Younan.
One thing you might notice about Junior, he is old school in this way. Setting down on punches, really and truly setting down, throwing with those nastiest of intentions, isn't as prevalent as it used to be. Skills paying the bills style of fighting, and the Floyd Mayweather influence, means that there aren't as many guys who come off the starting line looking to take the other guys' head off. Younan is one of those guys. Watch how he invests in his power punches.
You can see, he's there for a reason. Yeah, to get a W–Saturday he will try to do that against 35 year old CA resident Mike Guy—but he wants to do it conclusively, give the watchers the satisfaction of seeing a climax.
I asked Showtime analyst Paul Malignaggi, who has known Younan and his pop Sherif for decades, about the young boxer. “Junior can go as far as he wants to, he has amazing amounts of abilities. His thought processessing I would like to see maturing day by day, camp by camp and fight by fight. Junior has talent that I could only have wished of having, if his maturity is on the same point as his ability he goes very far in my estimation. It will be up to him, he's young enough to not rush along but he's also young enough where distractions can become a burden. I look forward to seeing him progress some more Saturday night, national TV is a great opportunity.”
The 12-0 New Yorker, who boasts 9 KOs and fights under the Roc Nation umbrella, gloves up in Long Beach, California. And, this is a big damn deal for the kid, he's moving up the card, now co-featuring.
NYF checked in with the hitter and got a sense of where his head is at….
NYF: Junior, how does it feel to be the co-featured fighter?
JY: It’s amazing to fight on this card and it just feels right. It’s definitely going to be an amazing experience to be on TV – I’m excited and I can’t wait.
What do you bring to the table as a headliner?
Fans are going to see a lot of swag, explosiveness, speed and power. Hopefully, I can show the world a nice knockout.
Tell us the scouting report on your opponent.
I know he’s going to try to play a little mental game and just put the pressure on, but I’m just going to stay relaxed. It’s a big stage for me and I have to show up – I have a lot to prove. I want to make a statement, so I have to be on my game, make sure I stay relaxed and let him walk into everything.
Are you ready to graduate from prospect?
I feel like when the stage is bigger, I step my game up. I’m excited to show how I’ve grown and I feel like I’m getting better with every fight. Several people said I looked more poised in my last fight and I just want to bring that momentum into this one.
Tell us a story or two about how you have changed as a fighter and person in the last year.
Honestly, I’d have to say being around Andre Ward and Guillermo Rigondeaux at my last fight was a big step for me. It was just that feeling of knowing that I belong there. As a young fighter, all of us want to be in that position, so to be fighting on a card like that – it felt great. It blew my confidence up that much more, so my mindset is on a whole other level now. I know the skills I possess, so at the end of the day, it’s just me bringing my mind and body into sync.
Not looking past your upcoming foe, but who is on your target list for the rest of this year and next?
Like I’ve said in previous interviews, I don’t say names, but everyone is food. I’m ready for whoever is in my way, but I’m in no rush. I have a long career ahead of me, so whoever is in my way, has to go.
Younan fights on the “KO Night Boxing: Rumble on the Water 2” card Saturday (July 29), airing (10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT) on CBS Sports Network, live from The Queen Mary's outdoor venue in Long Beach, California.