Like many, we are hoping for a much better year. 2020 has come and gone, and 2021 is now upon us, full of new hope and a brighter tomorrow.
Boxing, in particular, looks at an extremely promising year. Those who say the sport is dead in the weeds obviously don’t know of its rising stars. There are a handful of exciting young fighters coming up who will undoubtedly carry the sport across the next decade.
Gone are the Manny Pacquiaos and the Floyd Mayweathers. Like all fighters of old, they’ve effectively been finished by Father Time. And if you follow boxing, you know no one beats Father Time. Luckily for boxing, the sport is not short of young stars with immense promise and potential.
If you’re looking for which boxers to keep an eye on this year, look no further. We’ve shortlisted the five hottest prospects to grace the squared circle in recent memory. Mentored by some of the all-time greats, these fighters are definitely worth your time and attention.
These budding stars will be responsible for bringing boxing back to prominence. Let’s take a look. Today, Evolve Daily shares the top five boxers to watch out for in 2021.
1) Gervonta Davis
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.’s prized protege himself, 26-year-old Gervonta “Tank” Davis, is on the precipice of greatness.
Despite just being in his mid-twenties, Davis is already a four-time world champion in two weight classes. He’s held the WBA Lightweight World Title since 2019, and the WBA Super Featherweight World Title since 2020. He also previously held the IBF and WBA (Super) Super Featherweight World Titles.
Davis’ unblemished record of 24-0 includes 23 wins by knockout. If that isn’t enough to impress you, nothing will.
Diving a little deeper, it seems Davis also has a knack for showmanship in the ring, as well as knowledge of self-promotion outside of it. Of course, learning from the best has something to do with it. Mayweather is the all-time greatest at self-promotion, and Davis has certainly picked up a few lessons.
Bouts against Ryan Garcia, Vasily Lomachenko, and Teofimo Lopez are all salivating propositions.
2) Ryan Garcia
Movie star classic good looks, well-spoken and articulate, a commander on the microphone, and a general in the ring, with fast, powerful combinations — sounds a lot like the legendary “Golden Boy” Oscar Dela Hoya. But it’s actually the charismatic young “King” Ryan Garcia.
Signed to Golden Boy Promotions, Garcia’s career is being guided by Dela Hoya himself, and naturally, his path follows a similar trajectory. At just 22 years old, Garcia is barely entering his prime as a fighter. He has a lot to improve and work on, but given his raw talent, fans believe Garcia could be the next big Box Office PPV star.
With 21 victories, including 18 knockouts, Garcia’s perfect record is no doubt impressive. Wins over Romero Duno, Francisco Fonseca, and just recently Luke Campbell, are all showcases of what Garcia can do in the ring.
However, Garcia seems intent on pursuing the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes, calling the veteran out for a proverbial “passing of the torch.”
3) Naoya Inoue
They call him “The Monster.” It’s a nickname Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue has certainly earned with his spectacular performances. At 27 years of age, Inoue is approaching the prime of his career unbeaten at 20-0, with 17 finishes to his name.
He began his career in 2012, winning his first three fights by impressive knockouts. He spent most of the early days of his career competing in his native Japan, and just recently began testing the waters outside of his home country.
The biggest name on his resume so far? None other than Filipino-American superstar Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, whom he decisioned in 12 rounds to unify the WBA and IBF World Bantamweight Titles.
Inoue is currently a three-weight world champion and one of the most promising upstarts in the lighter weight classes.
Speaking of Filipinos, huge matchups with either Jerwin Ancajas, Johnriel Casimero, and a rematch with Donaire himself are on the cards for Inoue this year.
4) Artur Beterbiev
Russia has a knack for producing some high-level fighters in both boxing and mixed martial arts. Which is why the emergence of light heavyweight sensation Artur Beterbiev came shockingly under the radar.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Beterbiev burst onto the scene with a cult following. With his record at a pristine 15-0, with all of his wins coming by way of knockout, he is currently the unified light heavyweight world champion. Draped over his shoulders are the IBF and WBC lineal titles since 2019. As of May 2020, he is ranked the world’s best active light heavyweight by the prestigious Ring Magazine.
One thing that makes Beterbiev so scary is his insane knockout power. Throughout the decades, boxing has always identified its most avoided fighter, and it appears as though Beterbiev is the latest appointee. Potential opponents have gone out of their way to avoid signing on to fight the Russian powerhouse.
As such, that has certainly left Beterbiev with a lack of big-name opponents on his resume. Nevertheless, you can’t deny Beterbiev’s potential, and he has lots of it.
5) Teofimo Lopez
Last but certainly not least, is the man they call “The Takeover”, Teofimo Lopez. The reigning unified lightweight champion, Lopez is just 23 years of age, yet he is considered the man to beat at 135 lbs.
Why is that? Lopez’s 2020 victory over the highly-regarded Vasily Lomachenko may have something to do with it. “The Takeover” dominated Lomachenko like no man had ever done before, and he made it look easy. Granted, it appeared Lomachenko simply had an off night, Lopez still looked sensational.
He currently holds the IBF, WBA, WBO, and Ring Magazine lightweight titles. With 16 wins and no losses, including 12 knockouts, he’s both powerful and technical at the same time.
It’s incredible to witness his progress over the years, as he gradually took a step up in competition. Beating Lomachenko, however, a lot is expected of Lopez moving forward. Only bouts against the biggest names will advance his career.
If you found this article interesting, here are some others that you may enjoy: