Boxing has always moved forward by its biggest stars, who capture the imagination of fans and often transcend their realm and become worldwide celebrities. The likes of Muhamad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao of the sport and their rivals start almost single-handedly start great ages for the entire sport.
But before they reached stardom, each was a simple prospect, unknown outside of the core boxing fandom. Tracking and entertaining the possible future has never been the task of the casual fan, but I am sure that all of you educated boxing fans enjoy it as much as I do.
The hottest prospects keep the sport fresh and entertaining, and there is always something very special about watching a prospect defeat a seasoned champion in a symbolic changing of the guard fight.
Today we will take a look at some of the hottest boxing prospects under 25 in 2022. Some of them are still making ripples in the water, while others have already triggered a tsunami, but each of them is young, hungry, and fascinating.
You can watch my video version below or continue reading after.
25. Nico Ali Walsh
Record: 5-0 (4 KOs)
Nicknames: The Legend Lives On
We round up our top 25 boxing prospects list with the grandson of the Greatest- Muhamad Ali. Nico Ali Walsh never thought if he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, but in the end, decided his place is in the ring.
After a limited amateur career of roughly 30 fights, Ali Walsh turned pro in 2021 and won his first fight by a 1st round KO wearing the shorts of Muhammad Ali. Ali Walsh’s shallow amateur career showed in the ring in his first fights, but his commitment to the gym is evident and he shows significant improvements every time he steps in the ring. The youngster has legendary shoes to fill and he is off to a reasonably good start.
24. Marc Castro
Record: 7-0 (5 KOs)
Marc Castro was born and raised in Fresno, California from where he built an amazing amateur career. Becoming a two-time youth World Champion and 17-time national champion definitely promises great things.
Castro had to pull out of the 2020 Olympic qualifier due to illness and then his professional debut was postponed twice because of COVID, but once it happened Castro shined on a Canelo card- a dream debut for any aspiring boxer.
As you might expect from a boxer of Mexican descent, Castro has a crowd-pleasing style, comes forward, and looks to land big shots. Marc Castro is definitely an aggressive counterpuncher to watch in the near future.
23. Xander Zayas
Record: 13-0 (9 KOs)
Nationality: Puerto Rican / American
One of the youngest on our list is Xander Zayas. The Puerto Rican amateur standout started boxing because he was bullied, but quickly fell in love with the sport and built an impressive amateur career with 11 Puerto Rican and United States champions. At age 16 he became the youngest signed fighter in the long history of Top Rank promotions.
In his 13 matches so far Zayas has been spectacular and quickly built himself as one of the hottest prospects in boxing. We will yet to see if he has what it takes to handle the pressure of being a professional fighter at such a young age, but for now, it looks like he will be just fine.
Zayas shows remarkable boxing skills for his age. He has great footwork, speed, and a great understanding of range, often stepping out of range just after he finishes his own attack.
22. Brandun Lee
Record: 25-0 (22 KOs)
Nationality: American / Mexican
If you find the name Brandun Lee oddly familiar it’s because Lee was named after the son of Bruce Lee Brandon. A huge martial arts fan, the father of Brandun started coaching his son at age 7 and has been his main trainer ever since. It turned out Brandun was a real boxing prodigy and won his first national title at age 9. After he amassed an impressive 181-9 amateur record Lee became a pro at a17 and is yet to taste defeat, knocking most of his increasingly more experienced opposition.
Brandun Lee is a hard-hitting boxer that relies on his intellect, strategy, and ring IQ to win in the ring and to map out his boxing journey outside of it. Lee is a very explosive puncher with tight technique, fluid combinations, and dynamite in his right hand. From the looks of the light welterweight has what it takes to take his career to the very top.
21. Jared Anderson
Record: 11-0 (11 KOs)
Nicknames: Big Baby
The prodigious American has been tipped off to be the next heavyweight champion by the current greatest Tyson Fury whom Anderson sparred multiple times. The young heavyweight made won two US national championships before signing with Top Rank and going on a fast track to stardom.
As expected from a promising heavyweight, all 11 fights of Anderson have been won by knockout and his latest two opponents were both with series records with the competition scheduled to continue racking up through 2022.
Jared Andreson is a big boy, but what makes him special are his speed, agility, and boxing skills not common in men his size. Couple that with true heavyweight power and it’s easy to see why so many people expect Jared to become a world champion at some point.
20. Keyshawn Davis
Record: 5-0 (4 KOs)
Nicknames: The Businessman
The latest hot lightweight prospect is Keyshawn Davis. The young up-and-comer won the silver medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and turned pro in 2021. He has since fought 5 times and looked very impressive in each of his outings.
Keyshawn knows he is going to be a superstar in boxing, but does plan on taking his time rising to the top the right way. Currently training Terence Crawford, the lightweight looks to become the main attraction by building his ring skills and experience gradually.
Keyshawn Davis is a promising counter puncher that has already shown amazing timing and boxing skills from his amateur days. In fact, his style Is already very well polished and showcases the beautiful side of boxing with his expert use of footwork, head movement, and precise punching.
He may be worried by the fact his Amateur rival and Cuban star Andy Cruz has gone pro, so that could potentially be fought in the future.
19. Chris Colbert
Record: 16-1 (6 KOs)
Nicknames: Prime Time
Chris Colbert is one of New York’s premier prospects and combines slick skills with a proficiency in showmanship which earned him the nickname “primetime”.
Colbert became a professional at the age of 18, after winning a national title as an amateur. Chris had a fast start to his professional career with 2 quick KO victories. Colbert hit Primetime in 2019 with a definitive one-punch knockout of Miguel Beltran. He then won the WBA Super featherweight title from Jezreel Corrales. His rise to the top of the division was surprisingly halted by Hector Luis Garcia, who thoroughly beat Colbert in an upset.
Chris Colbert is a very competent switch hitter and is fun and flashy in the ring. His swagger is undeniable as are his combinations and lightning-fast speed. However, Corbet has been criticized for lacking power, and not without reason.
18. Edgar Berlanga
Record: 20-0 (16 KOs)
Nationality: Peurto Rican / American
Nicknames: The Chosen One
Edgar Berlanga rode an enormous hype train which was understandable given that his first 16 professional fights ended with 16 first knockouts in his favor. Before he started flooring people, Berlanga had an accomplished amateur career with a 162-17 record.
The Puerto Rican born in New York started as a pro without any major promotion backing him, but after 9 first-round Kos, he was picked up by Top Rank where he continued his impressive streak of destruction. Once he leveled up the opposition though Berlanga has not looked so impressive.
He did win his last 4 fights, but all of those came by a decision in which he did not look all that spectacular. But at just 25 years of age, the super-middleweight prospect likely has a bright future ahead of him.
Since he started his career with 16 first-round KOs. Berlanga was looking like he would be the next great power puncher. But his less-than-convincing performances in his last 4 fights since 2021 show he still has much to prove. With more work on his skills and ways to better channel his power, he may become a great boxer-puncher.
17. Brandon Figueroa
Record: 22-1-1 (17 KOs)
Nicknames: The Heartbreaker
The Texan Brandon Figueroa is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting boxers in the sport. “The Heartbreaker” is the younger brother of former lightweight world champion Omar Figueroa and is looking to forge his own path toward boxing greatness.
After a brief amateur career of going 33-17, Figueroa decided to go pro in 2015. Brandon quickly earned respect with 18 wins in 4 years before he challenged Yonfrez Parejo for the WBA interim super bantamweight title. In 2021 Figueroa produced his finest performance to date and broke down Luis Neery and won the WBC super bantamweight strap. However, Brandon lost the belts a few months later in a fantastic battle with Stephen Fulton in a very tight split decision.
Brandon Figueroa may not look it, but he does not want to fight pretty once the bell rings and becomes a pure pressurizing slugger. As he relies on his grit as much as he does on boxing skills. Figueroa’s relentless pressure and damage inevitably wears them down even when his opponents outbox him.
16. Conor Benn
Record: 21-1 (14 KOs)
Nicknames: The Destroyer
There are plenty of sons who follow their father’s footsteps in the ring, and some have managed to outshine their father, while others remain forever in the shadow. It remains to be seen if Connor Benn can outdo the success of The Dark Destroyer, Nigel Benn, who was a two-division world champion.
Connor actually started boxing relatively late at age 16 and fought just a handful of times as an amateur in Australia, but this did not stop him from becoming a successful professional. He quickly started racking up wins and in 2019 won the WBA continental welterweight title, which he defended multiple times since. His famous last name and crowd-pleasing style found his spots on some marquee cards, so the future looks very bright for the Brit.
Connor Benn may be from England, but he prides himself on fighting like a Mexican. While he has a good jab and footwork, Benn loves to rip his opponents ruthlessly from up close, and his explosiveness and power very rarely let his opponents hear the final bell.
15. Daniel Dubois
Record: 18-1 (17 KOs)
Nicknames: Dynamite / DDD
Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois is another of the few promising heavyweights to come out of England in recent years. Dubois had a good amateur career and became a five-time national junior British champion. He was on the 2020 Olympic team but decided to leave that road and signed with Queensbury Promotions.
As a pro, the heavy-handed Brit has knocked out all but one of his opponents but was stopped in an all-out domestic clash vs Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce. Despite the disappointing setback, Dubois has returned to winning ways with two more knockouts before knocking out Trevor Bryan for the WBA regular heavyweight title.
Daniel Dubois is a devastating boxer-puncher who carries serious power in both hands but fights calm and collected, without recklessly swinging. He often demonstrates impressive patience, typical for a much more mature fighter. ‘Dynamite’ relies more on technique than pure power to deliver the knockouts, and for now, this approach looks to be very efficient.
14. David Morrell Jr
Record: 7-0 (6 KOs)
David Morell Jr comes from the famous Cuban boxing school and has a very different path compared to most of the other boxers on this list. As an amateur, the Cuban compiled a 135-2 record and became champion at the 2016 Youth World Championships.
After defecting, Morrell turned pro in 2019, The Cuban fought against only 1 fighter with a losing record, and in his 3rd pro fight, challenged for the WBA interim super middleweight title in a 12-round contest. Morell has been promoted to regular champion and his streak of impressive performances continued with knockout wins over Mario Abel Cazares, Alantez Fox and Kalvin Henderson.
In terms of fighting style, Morell fights as a southpaw and shows great speed, balance, and power. Aside from great boxing skills, Morell has proven to be a great finisher and finds a way to land a de variety of shots.
13. Junto Nakatani
Record: 23-0 (18 KOs)
To break away from the Mexicans and Mexican-Americans we take a look at Japan’s Junto Nakatani. The hard-hitting flyweight is the reigning WBO flyweight champion and boasts a perfect 23-0 record.
Nakatani became a pro after a very brief 16-fight amateur career and quickly rose through the ranks of the very well-organized Japanese domestic scene. After conquering the Japanese flyweight title, Nakatani turned his gaze to the world belt and won the WBO strap in 2020, defending 2 times since. Junto plans on moving up a weight class and facing the tough challenges there.
Not only is Nakatani successful, but the Southpaw is also entertaining to watch. Junto fights from a long stance and keeps his distance well, while always remaining aggressive. Nakatani relies a lot on his left hand and believes in his power there, which has already brought him 18 knockout victories.
12. Issac Cruz
Record: 23-2 (16 KOs)
We will now take a look at yet another young Mexican boxing standout and another one in the crowded lightweight division. Isaac Cruz does not have a perfect record like many of the other prospects on the list, but his latest loss against Gervonta Davis proved he can more than hang with the very best in the world.
Before reaching this fight, Cruz steadily rose through the ranks and defeated former world champions Deigo Magdaleno and Francisco Vargas. After the Davis loss, Cruz bounced back with an impressive KO win over Yuriorkis Gamboa. The Mexican Pitbull has a lot of options at lightweight and perhaps a showdown with Ryan Garcia would be very interesting to see.
Isaac Cruz is often called “Mini Tyson” because of his compact and aggressive swarmer style. Cruz is quite short for a lightweight at 5’4, but makes up for it with aggression and relentless forward pressure, like a true brawler in-fighter. Not a big fan of his jab, as Cruz relies on heavy hooks that masterfully alternate between the body and head.
11. Sebastian Fundora
Record: 19-0 (13 KOs)
Nicknames: The Towering Inferno
As you might figure out from his nickname, The Towering Inferno, Sebastian Fundora is tall. And his 6 feet 5 inches stature might be something normal for a heavyweight, he fights at light middleweight. Fundora may look fragile at first glance, but the American southpaw has yet to taste defeat. In his latest outing, Fundora won the WBC interim light middleweight belt against an overmatched Erickson Lubin.
With a significant reach advantage over everyone, Fundora is built for an out-boxer, but in his heart, he is a fighter. Many of his opponents found out the hard way that he is just as comfortable on the inside and very capable of creating advantageous angles to land hooks and uppercuts from close range. Fundora is a busy puncher and finishes most of his opponents, making perfect use of the leverage of his long frame and limbs.
10. Jaime Munguia
Record: 40-0 (32 KOs)
At 25 years of age, Jamie Munguia already has more fights than many pro boxers have accomplished in their entire careers. The Mexican slugger already had one successful title run, having won and defended 5 times the WBO light middleweight title.
With a perfect record of 40 wins, Munguia now operates at middleweight where he maintains his 90% knockout ratio but is often criticized for not stepping up the competition in his new weight class, despite his wealth of experience.
A typical Mexican power puncher, Munguia fought relentlessly earlier in his career and turned every fight into a brawl. This is great for fans, but not ideal for career longevity. A naturally born brawler, it’s unlikely that we see Munguia outbox someone, but with time he has shown some improvements in his defense. With a bit more work on the technical side, Jamie Munguia may very well be a future middleweight champion.
9. Vergil Ortiz Jr
Record: 18-0 (18 KOs)
As hot a prospect as they come, the Texan native Vergil Ortiz Jr. is a heavy-handed phenom with promised greatness ahead of him. None of the 18 opponents of the 24 old welterweight have made it to the final bell and his flawless finishing ability rated him The Ring Magazines 2019 Prospect of the Year.
Vergil won seven national championships and a gold medal at the Junior Olympics, before entering the pro ranks and started flooring people every time he set foot in the ring. Ortiz went through 12 opponents before finally, fighting past the 3rd round against Jesus Barayan, who survived for 5. The constant steps up in competition after that did not slow down the rise of Ortiz, only increased the time he needed to knock them out.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. is a boxer-puncher who fights off a constant high guard and shines with great speed and power. He has an outstanding overhand right that has sent many fighters tumbling to the canvas, but he has fight-ending power with each of his strikes, as we have seen throughout his career.
8. Ryan Garcia
Record: 22-0 (18 KOs)
Nicknames: King Ry
Another huge lightweight star is Ryan Garcia. Despite going pro at 17, Garcia had an extensive amateur career that ended with a 215-15 record, which is an incredible number of fights for such a short time span. The California-born Mexican started his pro career flawlessly with 3 first-round knockouts, which quickly drew the attention of Golden Boy promotions.
Under the banner of Oscar De La Hoya, Garcia is steadily rising to the top. While his amateur rival, Devin Haney, has already become the undisputed lightweight champion, Garcia has his own path and is one of the most exciting prospects. King Ry has an enormous social media presence and many see him as the next big star in boxing due to his good looks, charisma, and aggressive boxing.
Garcia pairs his aggressive style with unrivaled speed. He also has power, but it’s his blazing-fast hands that are his best attribute. His best punch is the left hook. Garcia uses it well offensively, but it becomes his best weapon once he uses his speed and reflexes and blasts his opponents with a check hook. Despite having some obvious defensive flaws, Garcia has the potential of becoming a huge star.
7. Mauricio Lara
Record: 24-2-1 (17 KOs)
The Mexican Mauricio Lara fights just as untamed as his nickname Bronco suggests. Lara started his pro career at 17, and unlike many of the boxers on this list, he lost his first fight by a split decision. He quickly bounced back and won 11 straight fights before suffering a devastating 1st round KO against Elito Chavez.
It’s all flawless performances from that point on, however. His star shined overnight after agreeing to step up in competition and fight outside of Mexico for the first time against a former IBF featherweight champion. Lara showed supreme confidence and won the fight in stunning fashion, knocking out Warrington in the 9th, something no one saw coming. Warrington got an immediate rematch, but this time the fight was declared a no-contest after a head clash opened up a nasty gash on Lara.
If you enjoy Mexican-style boxing, then you will enjoy watching Lara fight. A proud successor of a long line of fearless warriors, Lara unleashes powerful punches until the opponent just can’t take any more of them. An all-action style, that never leaves the fans disappointed.
6. Teofimo Lopez
Record: 16-1 (12 KOs)
Nationality: American / Honduran
Nicknames: The Takeover
Teofimo Lopez was born to Honduran immigrants in New York. That gave him the chance to represent Honduras in the 2016 Olympics, but he did not bring home a belt. The fiery boxer signed with Top Rank soon after and started his professional career. After compiling a perfect 10-0 record, he started fighting more serious opponents before finally winning his first belt- the IBF lightweight title.
What followed next was one of the great boxing upsets in recent boxing history. In October of 2020, Lopez defeated the unified WBA, WBO, and Ring magazine champion and then No. 1 P4P boxer Vasily Lomachenko by a decision. However, he found himself on the other side of an upset a year later against 13-1 underdog George Kambossos jr. who stripped him of all his titles.
As a classic boxer-puncher, Teo loves to use the jab to set up his very powerful right hand. A lot of times the jab does not even land, but occupies the opponent’s attention and opens the way for the right to land either in the head or body. Aside from his powerful right straight and a thunderous gazelle left hook, Lopez also has an affinity for counter punching that has served him very well.
5. Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez
Record: 16-0 (11 KOs)
The young American Jesse Rodrigues delivered a star-making performance in his latest fight, dispensing of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and retaining his WBC junior bantamweight title.
Before getting there, however, the fighter, nicknamed Bam, won two US National Youth championships as well as silver in the Junior World Championships. It was as a pro, however, that he would truly shine. Quickly gathering wins, Rodriguez challenged Carlos Cuadras for the 115-pound title on a six-day notice. He not only won the fight in an impressive fashion but also became the youngest active titlist in the sport after this win.
Bam Rodriguez fights as a southpaw and relies heavily on swift footwork to create incredible angles from which his opponents are rarely prepared to defend. He always presents a moving target, and if he is caught, he usually escapes with beautiful footwork.
4. David Benavidez
Record: 26-0 (23 KOs)
Nicknames: El Bandera Roja / The Red Flag / The Mexican Monster
Like many of his young colleagues on this list, David Benavidez started his professional career very early. He and his father decided to go pro at 16. Early on, he had to fight in Mexico because of the laws in the US. Despite his tender age, Benavidez showed his tenacity and skills and racked up 7 straight knockout wins even before turning 18.
In 2017, David Benavidez won his first super middleweight world title against Ronald Gavril, but was soon stripped for testing positive for banned substances. His misfortunes continue to shadow his flawless in-ring performances. After winning the title again versus Anthony Dirrell, he was stripped of it for missing weight for his next fight. He now holds the interim WBC belt after a fantastic display against gritty veteran David Lemieux.
Inside the ring, Benavidez is a crowd-pleaser. He fights as a true swarmer and uses his very large frame for the weight class. Holding true power in his hands, Benavidez is not shy about receiving a punch in order to give one back, but that does not mean he is just a slugger, and he proves that by expertly using catch counters.
3. Jaron ‘Boots Ennis
Record: 29-0 (27 KOs)
Jaron Ennis is quickly gathering a huge following because of his quite unique boxing style, which is a mixture of flashy techniques and killer instincts. Despite his 29 professional fights, Ennis does not have a major title next to his name, but a quick look through his highlights will tell you why he is amongst the hottest young talents in boxing.
As an amateur, Boots won the Golden Gloves title in 2015 before making his professional debut in 2016. The Philadelphian has been spectacular throughout his career and has knocked out almost all of his opponents. What is more impressive, though, is the style in which he does it. While most punchers use their power, Ennis employs a dazzling and entertaining style in the ring, producing knockouts more on account of his counter-punching.
Ennis is comfortable in both stances, masterfully flowing between them in each situation. He always looks spectacular in the ring and shows the potential for true greatness, but it remains to be seen how he fares against other top talents.
2. Devin Haney
Record: 28-0 (15 KOs)
Nicknames: The Dream
Devin Haney recently completed the monumental task of becoming the undisputed world champion in one of the toughest weight classes of them all—lightweight. The Dream had a good amateur career, racking up a 138-8 record, but he decided not to go for an Olympic medal and turned pro at 17. The following 7 years as a pro have been nothing short of spectacular.
Every fight since signing with Matchroom Promotions in 2019 has been a step up in competition, and he has passed them all with flying colors. After outboxing Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz, Haney became the first undisputed lightweight champion of the four-belt era after a masterclass against Geroge Kambososs Jr. in front of a sold-out crowd in Melbourne.
Haney is a typical outside boxer with a counterpuncher twist. There have been a lot of comparisons with Floyd Mayweather and with good reason. Haney uses a similar stance to Floyd and is great at using the Philly shell stance to shoulder roll, counterpunch, and use his up jab. Haney fights with the intention of getting hit as little as possible, and his most recent outing against Kambossos was a true masterpiece of fighting on the outside
1. Shakur Stevenson
Record: 18-0 (9 KOs)
We start off with one of the brightest talents of his generation, Shakur Stevenson. The owner of the WBO and WBC super featherweight titles recently landed on the No. 10 spot on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list, which is no small task for a boxer that just turned 25.
Stevenson had an accomplished amateur career and brought home the silver medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Like many American prospects, he did not wait a long time to turn pro and did so at only 20 years of age. The decision must have been correct, as Stevenson went on a tear and won the WBO featherweight title in his 13th pro fight and now reigns supreme at super featherweight, holding the WBO, WBC, and The Ring belts.
The crafty Southpaw is a pure boxer. His supreme defensive skills and counter-punching abilities make him a tough nut to crack for any boxer. His boxing style may not make him stand out in comparison with flashier knockout artists, but Stevenson’s textbook-perfect boxing coupled with a great understanding and usage of range makes him a favorite of fans who enjoy the more subtle aspects of the sweet science.
Hope you enjoyed this boxing list. Make sure to check out more similar related articles below or sign up for my boxing newsletter and get 5 Free discounts!
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