Here we’ll be taking a look at some of boxing’s best youngsters, the ones who might go on to hold up the championship belts over the next decade. However, before we do that let’s just take a moment to appreciate how good us boxing fans have got it right now.
The current state of boxing is looking very healthy, with multiple divisions relishing the excitement of multiple true contenders. The Heavyweight division is doing well with Fury, Joshua, and Wilder. Usyk has yet to truly prove himself at Heavyweight but he’s already left his mark on boxing due to his Cruiserweight record. While Povetkin is aging out, and Ruiz Jr needs to prove he can be consistent at this level, Whyte has been making steady improvements to his boxing.
The Super-Middle and Middleweight divisions are both looking very exciting too, with many boxers willing to go up or down to chase good fights. Staring out at middle we have Canelo, GGG, Jermall Charlo, Eubank Jr., and Demetrius Andrade. At Super-Middle, there’s Daniel Jacobs, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, David Benavidez, and Caleb Plant.
At Welterweight we can inexplicably still watch Manny Pacquiao fight. He’s fighting off Errol Spence Jr, Crawford, Shawn Porter, and Keith Thurman. This is an older division with all of these guys over 30, but it’s still an interesting one.
All those names have provided enough great matches to keep all of us busy. I’ve been spending the past few weeks rewatching fights involving these guys since they were all effectively furloughed. If you aren’t doing the same already, we highly recommend it, there are bound to be some fights even the most die-hard fans have missed.
So, having reminded ourselves of the current champs and contenders, let’s take a look at some of boxing’s future greats. These boxers all are extremely talented, all have already given us fights worth watching, and some are barely out of high-school.
At 21 years of age Haney’s barely old enough to drink in the U.S, yet he’s already 24-0 record with 15 KOs. He’s sparred with Floyd Mayweather and Amir Khan, gained an amateur record of 138-8, won seven national titles, and turned pro in 2015 aged just 16. He was too young to go pro in the USA, so he went to Mexico and fought four times, before turning 17 and going pro on home soil, already at the time with a 4-0 record.
He caught some flack recently for his “I’ll never lose to a white boy” comment, but he’s still young and will learn how to handle himself in the public eye as he matures. He’s an exciting young fighter with multiple highlight-reel worthy rounds to his name already.
The Lightweight division that Haney finds himself in right now is a hugely exciting one. Despite Vasiliy Lomachenko currently enjoying top billing, Devin Haney has two other phenomenal young boxers to contend with, Gervonta Davis being one, the other joining us later in the article.
Benavidez has found himself in a very interesting position. At 23 years old he is sitting at #3 in the Super-Middleweight division, according to the Boxrec rankings. The rest of the Top 5: Daniel Jacobs, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, and Fedor Chudinov, are all 30 years of age or over.
What’s more, at Middleweight a few of the top 5 are even older. Gennady Golovkin is 38 and Sergiy Derevyanchenko is 34, both men very unlikely to be planning any moves up. While Canelo Alvarez, 29, is planning a move to Super-Middle as we speak, he also said he’d likely retire by 36. Jermall Charlo and Eubank Jr, being 29 and 30, will likely retire before Canelo or try to hold on just long enough to fill the hole he eventually leaves behind.
Benavidez is frequently mentioned in the same breath as all of these men, and at just 23 he’s hopefully going to be around, and improving, for some time. He’s also 6′ 2″, meaning he has the potential to move up to Light-Heavyweight and remain a realistic competitor there if he chooses to.
Teófimo López Jr.
Lopez really needs little introduction by now. Anyone who has been watching boxing in the past 5 years has seen or heard of this man. He’s been on some great undercards, debuting under Manny Pacquiao v Jessie Vargas in 2016.
Lopez is sensational to watch. He’s got great ring positioning and body movement, he’s super fast and has great power as well. He’s a complete package and fights very intelligently too. If you haven’t seen his fight with Richard Commey, you have to watch it. He steamrolled Commey in two rounds to take the IBF Lightweight belt, winning by TKO after referee David Fields had seen enough. The short right that almost put Commey down just 30 seconds before the stoppage, was vicious and so well-timed, its a testament to Commey that he was able to keep going at all.
He’s boxing in one of the most competitive divisions in boxing today, alongside Gervonta Davis, Lomachenko, and the previously mentioned Devin Haney. Lopez has so much time to improve and hone his skills, at just 22 he has already shown adaptability and maturity to his game that bodes very well for the future.
The 22-year-old Heavyweight signed by Frank Warren has been keen to gain recognition in the division and is eager to get his shot at the big dogs. Dubois had an extremely successful stint as an amateur, making Team GB, but decided to turn pro in 2017 instead of aiming for the 2020 Olympics. With the hindsight we have now he seems to have made the right choice.
Dubois has shown that his strength transfers well to the professional circuit, he has the size and power to put people to sleep. His KO ratio is 92.86%, which is insane, but he hasn’t faced anyone truly great.
Joe Joyce was set to be his next opponent and it is a fight that needs to go ahead as soon as possible once it’s safe to do so. Joyce represents Dubois‘ stiffest challenge yet, by far, and is a genuine danger to most people in the Heavyweight division. Joyce is often brought in to spar Antony Joshua, with no cameras allowed in the room during sessions, that is how dangerous he is.
It could be seen that Joyce is too much too soon for Dubois, a few more years of lesser competition wouldn’t do him any harm, but Frank Warren has obviously seen something special in him. You don’t get to Frank Warren’s position, with so many years under your belt, and not know a thing or two about the fighters in your stable. You certainly don’t get to be as successful as Frank Warren by making bad choices, so we can assume Dubois is genuinely ready for Joyce. Warren is the one with money on the line after all.
Regardless of what happens in his next bout, Daniel Dubois will need to show that he’s more than just a big puncher. His fights so far haven’t displayed the kind of boxing skill that he’ll need if he’s going to top the Heavyweight division. Joshua is just as big and strong, but he has shown that can adapt and outbox people. Tyson Fury is far more skillful and nimble than a man even half his size has any right to be. These will be Dubois’s true tests.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about Sophie Alisch at this stage. Alisch, who fights at Featherweight, has a 5-0 record, albeit over questionable opponents. Her third opponent, Bojana Libiszewska, has a record of 5-34-0. However, and this is a very important point, Sophie Alisch is just 18 years old.
Alisch’s amateur record paints a much more impressive picture. She made the German U17 team, but the German Boxing Association judged her to be too good, so she skipped straight into the U19 competition. In the 2016 U19 German Nationals competition, Alisch placed first, at just 14 years old. Following her stellar performance at nationals, she gained a place on the prospective team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Alisch was the only junior boxer on this team.
In 2018 Sophie Alisch decided to go pro, managed by her father, and has been putting on impressive performances against many women with much more experience. She has consistently outclassed her opposition, journeywomen they may be, with ease.
Alisch as shown great accuracy with her stiff jab, a dangerously accurate straight right, and the ability to land brutal flurries of 5+ punch combos on a regular basis. Alisch is technically phenomenal for anyone, let alone an 18-year old, and has the speed and confidence to land on anyone. Sophie Alisch is very much a woman to watch.
Yes, that’s right, another Dubois on the list. Caroline is indeed the younger sister of Heavyweight up-and-comer Daniel. Caroline has had a phenomenal amateur career herself, winning more titles than her older brother with a total of 8, and she’s just 19 years old.
Caroline Dubois has just as much confidence in herself as Daniel Dubois has in himself. She recently outlined her plan to retire by 27, but not before winning Olympic gold at the now postponed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, then turning pro and going down as one of boxing’s greats.
Caroline wants her legacy to extend beyond the limits of women’s boxing, “I feel that if I end up going down as a good female boxer, then I’m not that good at all,”. It’s clear that boxing runs in her family, and with access to her brother’s insight and training contacts, we expect to see very big things from Caroline in the future.
The youngest on this list, Xander Zayas signed with Top Rank in 2019, at just 16 years of age. The young Puerto Rican started his amateur career in 2007, aged only 6 years old. Before turning pro, Zayas competed on the amateur circuit more than 130 times, winning 11 national championships. Originally wishing to box in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a new lower-age-limit of 19 meant he was unable to pursue this, which led him to become the youngest-ever-signing at Top Rank.
Since turning pro, Zayas is 4-0, his first win coming via KO, with a UD and two TKOs. He’s a powerful puncher, with great footwork, quick head movement and has shown the intelligence to work multiple angles. At his age, Xander has the world at his feet, and with the promotional team at Top Rank working their magic, he’ll likely have a great career.
That concludes our roundup of boxings current phenoms, which was by no means an exhaustive account and there are so many more that we could have mentioned.
Let us know down below whether you disagree or agree, as well as any suggestions that would have made your watchlist.