Boxing News

SEVEN PROSPECTS TO WATCH IN 2017

ANDREW SELBY

This won’t come as a shock to many of you, being the proud Welshman I am, but forgoing that fact, Andrew Selby is undoubtedly one of the best prospects not just in the UK but Worldwide.

The younger brother of IBF Featherweight champion (Lee Selby) has been fast-tracked accordingly to his skill-set, capturing the British Flyweight title and the IBF Inter-Continental title before completely neutralising Ardin Diale in winning the WBC International title in just eight professional contests.

Because of his vast amateur background which yielded more than a few accolades it has prompted his management team to allow their brightest talent off his leash.

The countless hours spent training alongside his brother and the multitude of champions under the guidance of Tony Borg in St Joe’s, Newport has moulded the 27 Year Old into a quick, elusive switch hitter that effortlessly adapts to any style put in front of him.

That’s a perfect word to summarise Andrew’s style “Effortless”

Make sure to look him up although I’m sure he will remind you further in the year or two to follow.

PROSPECT GRADE: A

MICHAEL CONLAN

Going into the Olympic games in 2016, Conlan was one of the tournaments favourites having already won Gold in the 2015 World Championships, so it came as quite the surprise to see him controversially beaten in the quarter finals which brought with it images of the fighter using a one fingered salute to the officials at ringside.

Afterwards it became inevitable after hearing Conlan’s thoughts of the amateur setup that he would turn professional where awaiting him were the open arms of Bob Arum and Top Rank.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Conlon is an extremely gifted individual, with the backing of one of the sport’s most powerful there is endless possibilities for the Irishman with World titles sure to follow.

PROSPECT GRADE: A

ERICKSON LUBIN

Erickson Lubin didn’t just knock on the door when referring to boxing best prospects, he kicked it down with many publications, as to ourselves that were quick to name him our prospect of the year for 2016.

A decorated amateur, Lubin has took to the professional ranks like a duck to water, whilst looking further down it is refreshing to hear of his intentions on padding out a legacy knowing it will last a lot longer than the riches that inevitably will go hand in hand with the achievements he will capture.

PROSPECT GRADE: A

TAKUMA INOUE

Younger brother to “Monster” Takuma shares many characteristics with his brother Naoya, He possesses a boxing brain, able to adapt to differing styles, holds good hand speed and is a fighter moulded to forgo the twelve round distance although one exception remains, power.

Having trained alongside and sparred with the likes of IBF junior flyweight titlist Akira Yaegashi, fellow prospect Ryo Matsumoto and former world title challenger Rocky Fuentes amongst others, each will tell you that Takuma can hit, but that power unfortunately for him hasn’t made the cross-over to his professional bouts.

“I would like to be able to throw stronger and weaker punches alternately,” he explained to the Ring Magazine. “I would like to add accents to my punches with respect their strength. If I can do so, I will be able to become a world champion just like my older brother.”

Managed by former WBA and WBC strawweight champion Hideyuki Ohashi, head of Ohashi Promotions, He predicts a bright future for the latest off the Inoue production line, going as far as to say his fighter will be ready for a world title fight in 2017.

PROSPECT GRADE: B

EGIDIJUS KAVALIAUSKAS

Robert Garcia says that Kavaliauskas is the “Hardest Puncher he’s ever worked with” describing his pupil to possess a blend of Gennady Golovkin mixed with Ruslan Provodnikov, now I’m sure that will have peaked your interest.

So far, he has faced limited opposition, swatting away each challenge with brutality in taking his record to 15-0 in his bid to become Lithuania’s first world champion.

Managed by Egis Klimas who also manages the careers of Vasyl Lomachenko and Evgeny Gradovich, he all heartedly believes he has in his possession a fighter with a very bright future

“Egidijus’ style is perfect for TV,” says Klimas, “and commentators are going to have to learn how to pronounce his name because he is going to be Lithuania’s first pro boxing world champion.”

PROSPECT GRADE: B

DIEGO DE LA HOYA

Signed to his cousin’s Goldenboy Promotional stable, everything is in place for Diego to go on and try replicate the success or even a fraction would suffice of Oscar’s.

An extensive background in the amateur’s seen him visit the squared circle over 250 times winning an abundance of trophies / accolades along the way. The Super Bantamweight made a big jump in terms of opposition in 2016, each time impressing an already mounting fan club.

Trained by Joel Diaz he continues to improve on an already solid foundation, big things are predicted for his future with the financial backing of his cousin a sure fire way to capture a major title in 2017.

PROSPECT GRADE: B

JARRETT HURD

Wins over Frank Galarza, Oscar Molina and last time out his stopping of Jo Jo Dan led many of us to take down the name in readiness of his breakthrough amongst the boxing consensus

It’s difficult to not be impressed with the Maryland native as he continues to put bums on seats and opposition on canvas’, Swift by name, Swift by nature, Jarrett has lived up to this moniker with a streak of knockouts lasting five contests.

But unlike most fighters in this listing who have amateur accolades by the barrow load it didn’t lend it’s hand to Jarrett, His style it was clear from an early age was more suited to the professional side of the sport, which meant upon seeing him in the unpaid ranks, it perhaps didn’t leave the lasting effect that he now commands.

Like the motto of Floyd Mayweather “Hard work and Dedication” has gotten him to this point, continuing to improve and adapt in finding his way up the divisional ladder. Definitely one for the near future

PROSPECT GRADE: B

Honourable Mention: Shakur Stevenson, Josh Taylor, Joshua Buatsi, Robson Conceicao, Hinata Maruta, Zhanibek Alimkhanuly.

The sport of boxing is in an healthy position at the moment with a lot of fighters emerging from the amateurs with intentions on creating the big splash that they may have been merited with previous.

Each of the fighters mentioned I feel will go on to accomplish great things within the squared circle with many more that have slipped my mind in the process also making the grade.

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