Prospect Spotlight: Juan Funez
November 11, 2015
Nancy Rodriguez (329 articles)

Prospect Spotlight: Juan Funez

A fighter, who is born in a gym that has built up some of boxing’s greatest champions, is bound to have the opportunity to get in the ring with one. It’s inevitable. So, when the greatest champion of today gives you the chance to be apart of his preparation for a fight, it’s something you can hold on to as bragging rights. Juan Funez (6-0-1, 2 KOs) is a 22-year old professional boxer trained out of Ten Goose Boxing Gym. When Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was in preparation for Marcos Maidana, Juan had the chance to spar with the champ, whom he says is one of his idols. “I’m blessed that I got the chance to get in there with him before he retired. Not a lot of people get that chance,” he said.

Juan Funez (6-0-1, 2 KOs) will face Manuel Romero (2-3-2, 1 KO).
Photo By: Anna A./Supreme Boxing

As a southpaw fighter, it was difficult for Juan to spar with the champ as a right hander, however, being in that disadvantage against the champ, motivated Juan to push harder in this tough situation. “He goes 6 minute rounds. It was tough; it was not easy. He pushed me to try harder. The way he works man, that’s why he is the best,” he said. Juan has had the privilege to spar with some of the best in boxing right now, which has also helped him develop better boxing skills. He’s also sparred with fan favorites, Leo Santa Cruz, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. and Saul “Neno” Rodriguez.

Juan was born and raised in Van Nuys, California. Born on October 16, 1993 to a Honduran mother and a Mexican father, he was mainly raised by his maternal grandmother. His uncle and trainer, Ricky Funez, is world-class trainer, Joe Goossen’s right hand man. Ricky tried getting Juan in the boxing gym at a fairly young age, but Juan, at first, hesitated. After watching Diego Corrales conquer Jose Castillo in their first bout, Juan was motivated to overcome his fear of boxing and take on the sport at the age of nine. “It got me pumped up. I said ‘I can do this, I can be one of them’,” said Juan, who started training himself at first.

At the age of twelve, his uncle began to train him, and Juan started his amateur boxing career. “My first fight I was really nervous, but excited. I felt like I was Diego,” he laughed. “I made the kid cry. I didn’t mean to. It just happened and I won by stoppage.”

Photo By: Anna A./Supreme Boxing

Juan holds an amateur record of 69-9. Some of his amateur losses came from Golden Boy prospects, Diaz, Jr., Joet Gonzalez (twice), Emilio Sanchez, and Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez. These guys are not push overs, they are all tough, tough fighters. Juan doesn’t hold a huge amount of fights in this amateur record, but he won the Adidas National PALS and the USAB Nationals, which was his last tournament before he decided to go professional. “I didn’t know anything about going pro when I was younger,” he said. “I just wanted to fight and compete. There was a time when I wanted to stop and not do it anymore, but I kept pushing myself and I stuck to it.”

Juan is a boxer, puncher type of fighter in the featherweight division. He has an advantage of standing 5’10” tall. He’s been working a lot on his boxing skills because he has mainly been a brawler in the ring, when he should be utilizing his reach and height. He is excited to be heading into his first fight of the year on Saturday, November 14th. He will be facing Manuel Romero (2-3-2, 1 KO) of Santa Maria, CA in a 4-round bout. It’s been a year since Juan has been active in the ring, but he feels blessed to have his prayers answered in getting at least one fight before this year ended. After his promoter, Dan Goossen, passed away, Juan had to adjust and now has the chance to prove he can use his height and reach to dominate his opponent and remain undefeated. “It’s an advantage to be taller,” he said. “I just need to be smart. I need to switch it up and do more boxing. In this fight coming up, my game plan is to box, not stay in the pocket, because what he does is come forward, so what I will do is be smart and try to box.”

Funez spars with a fellow stablemate.
Photo by: Anna A./Supreme Boxing

Juan has been working hard to prepare for this fight. He does a lot of sparring in the gym. He’s sparred with Diaz, Jr., Rodriguez and Daniel Franco, as they also prepared for their fights. Juan has put in two or three hours in the gym each day, plus his strength and conditioning and road work of seven miles. “We are just hoping that he will perform the way he should. Come out aggressive and get him an impressive win,” said Ricky. “That’s what we are looking for and just to get him back on track. We hope next year he is more active and can get a fight once a month or once every other month, but we are just trying to stay active.”

Juan has lots of room to mature and more experience to gain. He has the right team to help him go far. Juan isn’t currently signed to a promotional company, but has faith that it will come soon. He has the potential to be a star fighter and has hope that he will be a world champion. As of now, Juan has learned from past mistakes from previous fights. In his third professional fight, he was knocked down for the first and only time in his pro career, thus far. He has improved since, and though he should have gained a loss, he had a chance to redeem that knock down and gave his opponent a knock down himself in their rematch, that ended in a draw. “To me, I thought it was a very close fight,” said Ricky about the first match. “With the knock down, I thought we lost that fight, but we got a gift that day. I tell my nephew you can’t take advantage of that. You have to work your butt off no matter what.”

According to Ricky, this camp has been a tough one for Juan. Ricky has really been pushing him to be more of a boxer than a brawler. Juan is getting more aggressive and looking sharp. He sets up more punches and combinations and is boxing the way Ricky wants him to. He’s also working on sitting down on his punches more and boxing at a distance to prevent taking in unnecessary punishment. In Romero, Team Funez is preparing for a sluggish, pressure fighter.

Juan is focused on his fight on Nov. 14th.
Photo By: Anna A./Supreme Boxing

“Little by little we are trying to get Juan back in shape and God willing become a contender and you know, they say he is a prospect right now, but we will see,” said Ricky. “He has to earn it. And he is earning it.”

“Not many people can do this,” said Juan. “I know I have the faith to go up there and be one of those top guys. I just have to work hard and not take this for granted.”

Juan Funez will return to the ring against Manuel Romero on the Estrada and Romero Promotion’s Fist of Fury 3 card, Saturday, November 14, at the Pioneer Center in Lancaster, CA. For more information and updates on Juan Funez and his fight, follow him on Facebook or on Instagram @teamfunez.



Nancy Rodriguez