We’ve done our look back at 2018, with the Southpaw Jab Awards, so let’s look forward to 2019! This is my list of boxing prospects I believe you should all keep an eye out for. As always there are certain rules I have put on myself for this list and they are:
- They must have had 10 fights or fewer.
- If they’ve been hyped already with one of the big promoters they won’t be included in this list, small hall only!
- Team Southpaw Jab members who fall into the above categories will still not be included to avoid bias. We know they’re all shit-hot and you should be following their careers closely anyway.
- I have to have seen them fight or train, this list is not going on reputation alone.
Here, in no particular order, my fighters to look out for in 2019:
Andre was one of the fighters I picked to keep an eye on in 2018, and if you didn’t you missed out! Andre won the vacant Southern Area Light-Heavyweight title in what many saw as an upset against Kirk Garvey; but if you spoke to Andre or his team, it was never in doubt. Andre talked to me about a month before the fight and I wished him luck – his reply was “I don’t need luck, the belt is coming home with me”. Such is the man’s confidence in his ability.
Andre is a man on a mission and nothing has changed since 2017-18. Sterling only made his debut in April 2017 and as is on course to fight for the British title in 2019 as long as he keeps winning – the board have called for him to fight Ricky Summers in an eliminator for the Lonsdale Belt.
Once part of the Team GB set up and from the same amateur gym as a certain Anthony Joshua, the fact that people from Finchley Boxing Club are raving about Smith isn’t something to be ignored. Only two fights into his pro journey but looking levels above his current status, if Smith is kept busy he could easily get to title level before the end of 2019.
Quiet outside the ring, but anything but inside, don’t be fooled by Dillon’s record only having one KO, he’s a ferocious puncher. Along with his power he is relentless and deserves his nickname of “Taz”. His next fight is for the recently vacant Southern Area Super-Featherweight Title and as long as he gets through his first real gut check fight he will go on to bigger and better things in no time.
The second reigning Southern Area champion on this list, “Jeffy” won the title in his last fight of 2018 against a man I had down as one to watch last year in Jumanne Camero. Ofori gets his nod this year ahead of his first defence of his title in February, against the very talented Lucas Ballingall (not eligible for this list being 11-0). If Jeffy gets past that test then expect him to be fighting for bigger honours by the end of this year.
Only 2-0 this time last year, Bentley has ploughed his way through six unfortunate opponents to an impressive 8-0 record with 7 KO’s. The likeable middleweight is keeping a close eye on the Southern Area title fight between Tey-Lynn Jones and Linus Udofia in March (both quality talents in their own right but have fought more than 10 times so can’t feature on this list!). Only a pro for fourteen months, Denzel is wasting no time. He fought three times in the last four months of 2018, taking a last minute fight on a dinner show after having sparred earlier that day!
On this form I definitely won’t be able to include him next year so make sure you get on board the 2 Sharp train now!
Adam Thorn’s pick
Chris very generously let me pick someone for the list too.
“Stay Ready” entertains in and out of the ring. Jerome’s non-stop style has handed some top away fighters a hard evening’s work this past year- 4-0 Campbell only debuted in March 2018. Particularly impressive for me was his bludgeoning of tough and very clever journeyman Ivan Godor, who looked out of sorts and bewildered under the Stay Ready cosh. A step up to six rounds, then looking toward an area belt later on will make for a good year for the effervescent Tottenham lightweight; but it will also only be the start.