Exclusive Interview With Dillian Whyte Protege Youssef Khoumari (11-0-1)
Youssef Khoumari (11-0-1) is an undefeated 24-year-old British boxer who drew with fellow unbeaten prospect Liam Dillon in his English Super-Featherweight Title challenge in 2019. Khoumari grew up in and fights out of Wembley where he first discovered boxing at the age of 9 watching Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines.
Youssef Khoumari had a successful amateur stint representing Neasden IQ Boxing Club where he had over 40 fights winning the Southern Area Title and the prestigious Haringey Box Cup. He turned over to the Pro ranks in 2017 and amassed 10 quick victories over the course of 2 years before stepping up to English level in a small-hall Fight of the year contender where he fought to a tough Split-Draw against London’s Liam Dillon.
Youssef Khoumari vs Liam Dillon Full Fight
Khoumari thought he got the better of that outing and was immediately offered a rematch but turned it down due to his belief that Youssef Khoumari- Liam Dillon 2 deserved to be on a bigger platform. Since then Dillion has been ordered to fight Dennis Wahome for the vacant strap while Khoumari has signed a management deal with top-5 Heavyweight Dillian Whyte; training with his camp in Portugal and features on the Undercard of the much anticipated Povetkin-Whyte 2 PPV rematch on March 27; Sky Sports Box Office.
Youssef Khoumari takes on Former Midlands-Area champion, English title challenger and gritty, come-to-win veteran Kane Baker (14-7) over a scheduled 8-rounds. This is a big opportunity for Khoumari who make his televised debut on one of the biggest undercards of the year where if he were to make a big statement, his rematch with Dillion could get the platform he feels it deserves.
World in Sport’s Chief Boxing Writer Darshan Desai had the chance to catch up with Youssef Khoumari before his big fight.
Youssef Khoumari: Exclusive Interview
Let’s Go back to 2019, You moved down from lightweight to super-featherweight, is that the best weight for you? Or was this just a result of you becoming a full-time professional boxer?
I was at a event and my manager informed me of an oppertunity to box Liam Dillon for the English Super Featherweight title. I hadn’t boxed at that weight since I was 14/15 so it was a bit of a risk but I spoke to my team(my S&C Coach) and we realised it could be done. We had never had a day-before weigh in before even though I’d had 10 pro fights which made it much easier to rehydrate.
Reflect on the Youssef Khoumari-Liam Dillion draw for us, do you feel you won the fight? how disappointing was it not to get the English Title?
Boxing for me is about clean punches. I think I landed the cleaner punches and won the majority of the rounds. But you know it happens in boxing, we move on and learn. It was very disappointing as it was the first pro title I ever boxed for. But we move on and hopefully down the line we can get a rematch on.
Do you want a Dillon rematch to settle the score or will you move on and go a different route?
I,m looking forward to that fight as i’ve known Wahome for a long-time and he is my current stablemate. I back my stablemate Wahome to get the knockout as he has frightening punch power. I obviously won’t fight my stablemate so I want the Dillon rematch regardless of the result of that fight as long as it’s on the platform it deserves.
You signed with Dillian Whyte last year, How did this come about? Why did it happen? How has this changed your approach to boxing? What has your connection Whyte added to your game?
My Coach, Xavier Miller, became a part of Team Whyte around the Wach Fight in Saudi Arabia. He started giving me tips in the gym and in sparring. I went ou to Portugal to train and that’s when we started working together. Going to Portugal was a great experience as it showed me what a world class training camp is like and changed my approach to boxing.
Where were you based in the first lockdown? How was the covid situation there? Were you able to train at full intensity (sparring, pads etc), if yes, do you feel this gives you an advantage?
First-half in London, Second-half in Portugal. Time in London was hard as I couldn’t get to any gyms. Ramadan fell in that period so I couldn’t train like I normally do and that really affected my training.
Second-Part I was in Portugal as it was an opportunity to train which I couldn’t do in the UK. There was a lot less restrictions there at the time; restaurants, cafe, bars were open etc.
In Portugal I was able to train at full intensity. The Experience there was priceless, definitely taken my approach to my training to another level and made me a better fighter.
How is training in Portugal and in the Dillian Whyte camp different from training in the UK? Is it more difficult to get sparring? Has it been easier there to stay motivated in training?
Pro – Little Distractions, Good Daily Routine, Full-On training like Rocky 4 where rocky was training for Ivan Drago -full time training. Good weather which helped our mindset to train.
Sparring was very good, good quality sparring partners at my mate in Portugal. Didn’t expected it to be so easy to get good sparring. Being around Whyte was very motivating for me.
Where are you training now for the Kane Baker Fight? How has camp been going? How Much notice did you have for this? Was this the fight you wanted?
I’m in London for the Baker fight. The New strain has stopped me from going to Portugal for this camp. It’s just another fight as normal. I only knew about the confirmation of the fight till the Matchroom Poster came out. Baker is the fight we wanted, he is a tough come-to-win guy and we are going to have to ‘bite down on our gumshield’ to come through.
I’ve been in the Gym since lockdown: sparring and training regularly. I’m always in shape, I don’t think the year out will really affect me. I saw Kane’s two fights he looked really good in both of them. Every-fight is high risk in boxing.
You have a massive opportunity on March 27 on a big PPV Undercard while most boxers can’t box at the moment, Do you want to make a statement on March 6? What does good performance do for you and your career?
I wanna make a statement, I’ll put the whole super-featherweight division on notice on March 27. A good performance adds my name to the mix in with the top Super-Featherweight’s.
Walk me through Youssef Khoumari vs Kane Baker, how do you see it going, what can you exploit in him? (without giving away too much) What are his weaknesses? how do you see that fight going?
It’s gonna be a hard fight, a great fight for the fans. In the fights i’ve seen him no one has really standed toe-to-toe and had a wra with him. I’m that fighter, i wanna have a war with him. We are gonna meet in the middle and have it out. I think I’m technically better in terms of my defence and punch-selection.
Some big fights coming up at your weight, Frampton Herring, Cacace Woodstock, Carr Dodge. How do you see them going?
Division is buzzing at the moment. Garcia,Haney,Lopez,Tank are just a weight above. I can’t call the Frampton-Herring fight; too close to call. Cacace is gonna have too much experience for Woodstock, I haven’t seen much of Carr or Dodge so I can’t really call that fight. Editors Note * (Interview Conducted Before All of these fights happened)
Should you come through Kane Baker on March 27, Where does Youssef Khoumari go next? Another shot at the English title? A fight with the Carr-Dodge winner?
I haven’t really thought about after the Kane Baker fight tbh. I just wanna make a statement, after I make a statement, more doors will open. I will make my decision after those doors open. The draw in my record is always something I wanna sort out.
A message for your supporters: Tune In on March 6. Their is gonna be fireworks, there is gonna be war. it’s gonna be entertaining. Tune it, don’t miss out. Thank you to everyone for there support up until now and thank you to you for doing this interview for me.
Interview Conducted by Darshan Desai – World in Sport
Thank you to Youssef Khoumari for partaking in this Interview
Follow Youssef Khoumari on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/super_youssef_/?hl=en
Make Sure to tune in to his Youssef Khoumari vs Kane Baker on March 27 – Povetkin Whyte 2 Undercard.
Buy the Povetkin-Whyte 2 PPV (UK): https://sports.skyboxoffice.com/
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