She faces Anne “Ninja” Line Hogstad in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai atomweight showdown on Friday, 31 January in Manila, Philippines, and the Australian is itching to continue her impressive form.
At only 19 years old, Juniku has already won the WBC and IPCC Muay Thai World Titles. Also, she pushed two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex to the limit in their World Title bout last June.
Now, with that experience under her belt, the teenage sensation looks to climb back up the rankings and conquer the atomweight division in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
Before she steps onto the global stage at the Mall Of Asia Arena, the Modern Warrior Muay Thai representative reveals how she learned her amazing skills and gained her incredible confidence.
Taking The Early Lessons For Success
Facing a difficult decision between two sports, Australian sensation Alma Juniku dedicated her life to Muay Thai and it has rewarded her with the opportunity of a lifetime come 15 June!????: Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST????: Get your tickets at ???? http://bit.ly/onequest19????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp ????????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, June 1, 2019
Juniku’s parents emigrated from Albania and raised her and her older brother and sister in Logan City, just south of Brisbane, Southeast Queensland.
“Logan City is a bit of a rough area with violence and crime,” she offers.
“I grew up in a nicer area, so it wasn’t too bad, a little bit rough, but it made me the person I am today – maybe tougher.”
Her parents were strict, but they worked hard to give their kids everything they needed. Even though Juniku pushed a few boundaries as an energetic youngster, she learned lessons in respect and work ethic from them.
“As a kid, I was a bit cheeky and stubborn, and I just always liked to have fun,” she recalls.
“My parents were strict and very hard workers because they had nothing when they came here, so it taught all of us to work hard for what we want.”
A Different Path
ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title challenger Alma Juniku's going ALL OUT in preparation for the biggest match of her career on 15 June!????: Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST????: Get your tickets at ???? http://bit.ly/onequest19????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp ????????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Juniku’s father was a professional soccer player, and he tried to get his children to follow in his footsteps. At first, they obliged, but as soon as they encountered martial arts, their goals quickly changed.
A neighborhood friend had started to train Muay Thai, and suggested that they went along too.
“He said to us, ‘You should try this, I’m really enjoying it, it’s fun,’” Juniku reveals.
“My brother [tried it first], and me and my sister waited around. We didn’t know if it was a sport for girls. He said it was fun, so we got into it, and ever since then, we fell in love with it!”
Juniku was 8 when they all began training at Modern Warrior Muay Thai – the gym they still call home today. By the time she was 9, she had started to compete in “the art of eight limbs” alongside her siblings.
“It was a blessing in our life,” the former ONE World Title challenger adds.
“I’m really happy that me, my brother, and my sister all train together and fight professionally together because we all get advice from each other.”
Against Her Father’s Wishes
Apart from Muay Thai, proving people wrong is Australian sensation Alma Juniku's favorite thing to do!????: Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST????: Get your tickets at ???? http://bit.ly/onequest19????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp ????????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, May 30, 2019
Despite all three of the Juniku children finding their passion in combat sports, their parents were not as thrilled with their new endeavor, especially her father, whose own heart was in a different game.
He resisted their choice at first, but then came around when he saw how dedicated they were to the craft.
“[My father] was heartbroken that all of us quit soccer. It was his sport, and he was hoping we could make a career out of it. As I grew older and had lots of success, my dad understood, and then he was very happy for me,” she explains.
“My mother was scared of me getting injured or badly hurt, but she realized that it wasn’t that bad when I was younger. We had padding, and then she just got used to it.”
When Juniku’s parents saw that their children had committed themselves to success in a sport that they loved, they did everything they could to nurture their talent.
“They couldn’t give much, but they gave all that they could to pay for our training and support us,” the teenager adds.
Success At The Highest Level
From her first contest aged 9, World Title success by 18, and a shot at the gold in the world’s largest martial arts organization in 2019, Juniku’s career in the ring has been a phenomenal success.
From the moment she stepped through the ropes, she has never taken her foot off the gas in pursuit of greatness, and she now boasts an impressive 24-5 professional record.
Given how much she loves to compete, it is not so surprising that the Aussie has more wins than many martial artists with twice her experience can claim.
“From the first fight with the adrenaline, the audience, and the atmosphere, I just really loved to be in there,” she says.
“The hunger for showing your skills and the hunger for the win meant I was crazy active – I had the drive to win and get more fights, and to just get better.”
In December 2018, she defeated Zaza Sor Aree for the WBC Muay Thai World Title and earned her spot among the Muay Thai world’s elite in ONE Super Series.
Now, Juniku will take full advantage of the opportunity ahead of her when she toes the line with Hogstad at ONE: FIRE & FURY.