Boxing fans experienced several peaks and troughs in the past year. There was the excitement of the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward superfight, there was the subsequent controversy surrounding its decision, there was tragedy and there were some terrific prizefights and standout performances.
Who and what stood out the most?
Find out when THE RING reveals its annual year-end awards for 2016. The categories: Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Knockout of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Upset of the Year, Event of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Round of the Year, Prospect of the Year and Most Inspirational.
Leading up to the announcement, we will give you the five finalists in one category each day. Day 2: Prospect of the Year.
The finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
DAVID BENAVIDEZ 16-0 (15 KOS) Four fights in 2016 resulted in four KOs for the 20-year-old super middleweight puncher from Phoenix. The younger brother of former welterweight contender Jose Benavidez Jr. made quick work of Kevin Cobbs and Phillip Benson before stopping both unbeaten Francy Ntetu and solid vet Denis Douglin.
RASHIDI ELLIS 17-0 (12 KOS) The 23-year-old welterweight from Lynn, Massachusetts, turned the heads of hardcore fans by blitzing once-beaten Eddie Gomez in one round in December. Gomez, once a respected prospect himself, had never been stopped. Ellis used his speed to outpoint Luis Hernandez and Marco Antonio Lopez earlier in 2016.
IVAN GOLUB 13-0 (11 KOS) Golub, a welterweight, is yet another former amateur standout from Ukraine. The tall (5-foot-11), rangy southpaw, who is based in Brooklyn, scored four knockouts in 2016. He showed grit by getting up from a knockdown to stop unbeaten Marlon Aguas, and most recently the normally durable James Stevenson.
IEVGEN KHYTROV 14-0 (12 KOS) The 28-year-old former Ukrainian amateur standout fought only twice in 2016 but exhibited brutal efficiency in outpointing once beaten Kenneth McNeil over 10 rounds and wearing down game young gatekeeper Paul Mendez to a ninth-round TKO. Mendez, 19-2-2 at the time, had never been stopped.
ERICKSON LUBIN (17-0, 12 KOS) The 21-year-old Orlando, Florida, native gave up what many felt was a sure-fire route to Olympic gold when he elected to turn pro in 2013. That decision has been a good one so far for the talented junior middleweight. In 2016, he stopped Daniel Sandoval and Juan Ubaldo Cabrera, and easily outpointed Jose De Jesus Macias and Ivan Montero.
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