Fighting is in Junior Tafa’s blood. The youngest of three brothers, all of whom fight professionally, his grandfather and uncles were also champion boxers.
His grandfather was one of the first Samoans ever to travel off the island of Samoa for a fight. Tafa recounts also how “when he would go to the center of the island for a bout, the whole village would walk there with him”.
Tafa shares his Samoan heritage with legendary fighters such as Ray Sefo and Mark Hunt. The latter is a close friend and training partner of his, having recruited a 17-year-old Tafa into his entourage after seeing him at a regional fight show several years ago.
“So at 17 I started traveling with him for his training camps and through that i’ve gotten to meet and train with so many great names. Las Vegas stands out - we were with Randy Couture and Ray Sefo, who are both legends. Those experiences are amazing.
“Just through being part of Mark’s setup I’ve benefited so much, being able to train with top level guys like Uriah Hall and Travis Browne. It was a bit weird at first, sparring with guys who are so well known to you, but once the round starts you just get on with it.”