It is rare to find a young fighter who is able to exude confidence and character without coming off as arrogant or cocky. Malik Warren is a fighter who is able to do that and is ready to make his mark and reenergize his promising career.
The super featherweight prospect is one of the newest finds of Mayweather Promotions from down in the Baltimore, Maryland area. He joins the ranks of a talented champion in Gervonta Davis and rising super lightweight prospect Malik Hawkins as standouts from the Charm City. A product of Upland Boxing, Warren’s next fight, and first since December of 2019 will be on a card hosted by SouthPaw Promotions at the Escape Ballroom in Greenville South Carolina. He’ll be taking on Derion Meriwesther and looking to add to his 3-0-0 3KO record. With the fight date looming on February 20th (and another possibly in late March) Warren took some time to talk to Last Out Media about his career, training habits, boxing gear, and more.
MM: This is your first fight since 2019. Are you anxious or eager to get back into the ring?
MW: It feels like my pro debut again. I am so ecstatic. I can’t wait to go out there and do what I do best, again.
MM: “Like your pro debut” is interesting. Do you feel like a different fighter from when you last in the ring a year ago?
MW: Yes sir. I feel as though I have so much more to prove. Not to anyone, but to myself. I haven’t fought in a whole year. Maybe some people have forgotten. I’ve got to come out with a bang, a bigger bang than the last one.
MM: You have a fight tentatively scheduled for a month after your Feb 20 fight. Is that something that plays into your thought process when preparing the 1st fight?
MW: No sir.
MM: You’re from Baltimore, which is currently on the rise in the boxing scene. What does it mean to be from that city and to see the rise and success of some of your contemporaries like Gervonta Davis and Malik Hawkins?
MW: There is a ton of talent. Man, it is very motivating to see where these guys came from and how they were able to overcome the obstacles.
MM: Your last fight was on the Pascal/Jack Davis/Gamboa card, what was it like fighting on a major card like that?
MW: Man that was so fun. It was a really fun experience. I would love to do it again. I couldn’t 2020 was a messed up year, but in 2021 I’m going to be blessed.
MM: Were you able to make it through the year without getting COVID?
MW: I actually tested positive for COVID, but I did my 14-day quarantine. For a bit, my breathing was messed up. After quarantine though I just had to keep up with my running.
MM: When it comes to training, a lot of fighters have talked about a reduction in sparring for health reasons, do you agree with that?
MW: Oh no. I don’t know who would say that. Sparring is the closest thing you get to fighting. That feeling when you’re sparring is the closest you’re going to get to fighting. You want that feeling you want to spar, especially the way we spar. You know maybe two weeks out you cut down sparring.
MM: You had a big gap (6 years) during your amateur career, did you have a reason for that? How did you come back to the sport?
MW: Man I was just chilling and being a kid for a while. Coming back, my father was a very big motivation to come back and keep boxing. There are some personal reasons too but my father was a very big motivation. He stayed on me with training.
I did go to the Junior Olympics, Silver Gloves, I was in tournaments as a kid, but I did have a break in there I’m not gonna lie. (Warren’s amateur record was 68-22)
MM: When you have an opponent making his debut, do you focus on trying to prepare for whatever is possible, or on doing what you do best and what you excel at?
MW: Doing what I do best. Everything that I’m working on I want to see myself do in the fight. I feel as though that is what will make me better and keep myself progressing.
MM: How would you describe yourself as a fighter?
MW: I feel as though I can be versatile. I can walk you down or I can box.
MM: Do you have a style that you prefer? Would you rather be the bully and walk someone down or do you want to get into a back and forth fight?
MW: I prefer to be accurate if that makes sense. To be accurate, keep my distance, and be really sharp.
MM: What is the best punch in your arsenal?
MW: My jab. My jab is my favorite punch. In my first three fights, I didn’t even use it though. I feel like in this fight I want to use my jab more and step that up.
MM: In terms of as you grow in your career, how do you want to represent the city of Baltimore?
MW: I’m trying to give back. I’m trying to give back to the kids. The kids need all of the support. In Baltimore city, you have kids that want to be drug dealers at 9 years old. If they were around more positive people they might want to be doctors, football players, anything other than something negative.
I’ve been talking about putting together a youth program. That is something that will come later in life. Not tomorrow or next month but I’d like to put together a youth program for Baltimore city where the kids can come and be something positive.
MM: When you were a kid, did you find boxing through your dad?
MW: Yeah yeah my father was the one who put me in boxing. I grew a love for it, but my father definitely was the one who pushed me into boxing. He was a pusher.
MM: Do you still have a love for it outside of the ring? Do you watch fights?
MW: Yes sir I love watching. I like Marvin Hagler as an old fighter and of course, I love Floyd “Money” Mayweather, and of course, I love Gervonta “Tank” Davis as well.
MM: How does it feel having recently signed to Mayweather Promotions and having that link to one of the best boxers of all time and such a well known promotional company so early in your career? That’s got to be good right?
MW: Oh yes oh my God I can’t even explain. Shoutout to them. Shoutout to Mayweather Promotions, the best promotional company in the world. I can’t wait to make them proud.
MM: Did you watch the Stephen Fulton Angelo Leo fight over the weekend?
MW: It was a very competitive fight. Cool Boy Steph showed that it was his night. Shoutout to Leo though he’s a great fighter. I don’t know him personally but I’ve seen him fight before. Man shoutout to Cool Boy Steph too he’s a very sharp fighter. You can’t take anything away from them. They are great. World champions, future multi-world champions.
MM: They both showed fantastic conditioning in that fight. How do you build that as you go through a camp?
MW: You’ve just gotta push through the drills. It’s in the mind. If you want then you push through, push through that thing in the gym. If you don’t push yourself there how are you going to do it in the ring? In boxing, you’re going to get fatigued. It is about how you’re going to get past that fatigue.
MM: Have you felt any of that fatigue in your fights? Do you have a strategy for getting past that?
MW: Nah in these three professional fights I’ve been feeling the best I’ve ever felt in my whole life. From the camps, I sort all of it out in the gym. Maybe since I’ve been fighting 4 round fights and when I move up in competition it’ll change but in the gym, I’ll be going through it.
MM: In the gym with your trainers do you need them really getting on you or are they just there to guide you?
MW: Nah I need somebody to stay on top of me. I’ve been with my trainers since I was about 15-16 years old. They call my name like “MALIK”. I got you coach.
MM: What part of training to do enjoy most? Mitts, sparring, bag work?
MW: I like sparring and I like doing the mitts. Anything that gets me moving my arms around. At the end of the day, that’s our job, to punch.
MM: I’ve talked to a variety of athletes, and they can get particular about their gear. For boxing what do you like to wear in terms of gloves and shoes?
MW: I have my favorite pair of Grant gloves. My outfits gotta be slick. If you look good you perform good. I love fighting in Grants. I don’t know what it is about them but I love fighting in them. Those are my favorite gloves.
For shoes, I’ve gotta have Nikes. The hightops.
MM: Let’s give a local business a shoutout and maybe try to give them a boost during COVID. Where is your favorite post-training meal?
MW: I’ve actually been doing a lot of prepared meals and meal preps so shoutout to my manager for getting me them. But as far as where I like to eat, Shareef’s in Baltimore. He makes terrific food. It’s a Mulism shop too so no pork.
MM: What do you want fans and people who might not know you yet to know?
MW: You can be whatever you want to in life. If you support me then I’m fighting for you.
To check out Malik’s next fight, be sure to head over to the SouthPaw Promotions Facebook page to watch! We’ll be following his career closely. You can also find him on Twitter at @leaktheboxer2 If you want to see the next big prospect at super featherweight then you should as well.