Whoever says boxing is a dying sport obviously hasn’t looked into the amazing young stars carrying it into the future.
There is no shortage of young up-and-coming talent making a name for themselves in the ring. Whether it’s the next Manny Pacquiao or the next Floyd Mayweather Jr., boxing’s next big superstar is coming.
These athletes are in charge of keeping existing fans enamored with the sport while drawing in the next generation of boxing fans that will keep the sport alive for years to come.
Hardcore fans know. But for those of you who don’t, it’s time you take a closer look. If you call yourself a fan of the ‘sweet science,’ you should have an eye on these young bucks.
We’ve come up with a shortlist of incredible fighters whose careers are only just beginning, and with their best days still yet to come. Today, Evolve Daily shares five amazing young stars to carry boxing into the future.
1) Ryan Garcia
Throughout the history of boxing, there have been many great Mexican-American fighters. The iconic “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya instantly comes to mind. Then we have legends like Manuel Ortiz, Bobby Chacon, and Johnny Tapia.
“King Ry” Ryan Garcia is on the cusp of being the next generation Mexican-American boxing superstar.
Featuring a lightning-quick and monstrous left hook, incredible reflexes, and boyish good looks, Garcia is one of the most marketable fighters today. He has almost nine million followers on Instagram and more than a million subscribers on YouTube. He has more fans on social media than he does boxing fans, but that number is growing by the day.
But none of that would matter if he wasn’t actually a good fighter. Undefeated at 21-0 with 18 knockouts, Garcia is as good as advertised. As he starts to mature physically while honing his craft under Eddy Reynoso (who’s also the lead trainer for Canelo Alvarez), the upside for Garcia is limitless.
2) Teofimo Lopez Jr.
He calls himself “The Takeover.” Teofimo Lopez Jr. is entertaining, explosive, exciting, but most important of all, he has real-world talent.
Ranked No. 1 by ESPN at lightweight, Lopez is an undefeated gem of a fighter with a perfect 16-0 professional record, which includes 12 knockouts. Lopez is also ranked No. 7 in The Ring Magazine’s mythical top 10 pound-for-pound list and he’s slowly climbing the ladder.
He currently holds the WBA, WBO, and IBF World Lightweight Titles. He has tremendous counterpunching ability, expert timing and accuracy, and unbridled power.
In October of 2020, Lopez scored the biggest victory of his young career when he dominated Ukrainian superstar Vasyl Lomachenko to win by unanimous decision in a massive upset, making him an overnight star.
Although most fans want to see a rematch with Lomachenko at some point, there is no shortage of challenges for Lopez moving forward, with some of the best fighters in the world today competing in and around the lightweight division.
3) David Benavidez
Two-time super middleweight world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez is another Mexican-American star on the cusp of greatness. He is currently the No. 1 ranked contender at super middleweight by The Ring, just behind the lineal super middleweight champion, none other than Canelo Alvarez himself.
At the tender age of 20, Benavidez became the youngest fighter to ever win the super middleweight title when he beat Ronald Gavril by split decision to capture the WBC belt in 2017. He was stripped of the title after testing positive for substance abuse but won back the belt two years later after knocking out Andre Dirrell.
There’s tremendous upside for Benavidez if he continues to improve. At just 24 years of age, he has his entire career ahead of him. Fans want to see Benavidez in the ring with Canelo at some point, but fights against anyone in the division is pay-per-view worthy. After that, there’s a move up to light heavyweight waiting for him.
4) Josh Taylor
Talk about overnight sensation, Josh Taylor is a breakout superstar and The Ring’s 140-lb. champion. In May of this year, Taylor captured the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO Junior Welterweight Titles with a unanimous decision victory over Jose Carlos Ramirez, making him the undefeated and undisputed junior welterweight champion of the world. He’s also ranked No. 5 in the world, pound-for-pound.
Nicknamed “The Tartan Tornado” for his whirlwind, aggressive style, Taylor boasts a pristine 18-0 professional record, which includes 13 knockouts. With his victory over Ramirez, Taylor became the second Scotsman in history to be crowned undisputed champion, and the first Brit to accomplish the feat in the four-belt era of boxing.
At just 30 years old, Taylor has years of elite-level competition ahead of him. He not only has the skills, but also the showmanship and the charisma to be a real box office draw.
5) Devin Haney
Learning from the best, Devin “The Dream” Haney idolized transcendent megastar Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. growing up. Today, Haney is one of the most talented young fighters in boxing. He’s also gotten very close to his ‘idol’ Mayweather, and the two often train together at the TMT gym in Las Vegas.
Haney’s an incredibly talented boxer-puncher, with a variety of unorthodox combinations and the ability to attack from various angles. Much like Mayweather, he has amazing footwork and can glide around the ring like a dancer, making it extremely difficult for opponents to land a clean shot on him.
“The Dream” captured the vacant WBC interim lightweight strap in 2019 with a knockout of Zaur Abdullaev, and was then promoted to full world champion shortly after. He has since defended the belt successfully on three occasions, his biggest wins coming over highly-regarded fighters Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jorge Linares.
Matchups with fellow lightweight stars like Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez Jr., and even Vasyl Lomachenko himself are all blockbuster attractions.
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