Thursday, July 18, 2024  |

News

Under The Radar

Travon Marshall walks off as Justin DeLoach is counted out. Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Fighters Network
05
Mar

Above: Travon Marshall, after stopping battle-tested Justin DeLoach in three rounds, is one of many potential stars in the boxing pipeline. 

This article is part of the February 2023 issue of The Ring, which can be read here for free.

 

YOU MAY NOT HAVE SEEN OR EVEN HEARD OF SOME OF THESE TALENTED UP-AND-COMERS, BUT YOU WILL



Some prospects are blessed with a magical combination of eye-catching talent, amateur credentials and early pro career exposure that attracts the attention of the boxing world and gets most to agree that they’re watching future world-beaters and stars.

The boxing media had heard all about Olympic standouts like Vasiliy Lomachenko, Anthony Joshua and Shakur Stevenson BEFORE they turned pro, and it didn’t take long for the trio to live up to their hype. 

Fans could see dynamic young guns like Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Jaron Ennis, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney coming a mile away – and so did major promotional companies and networks, who made sure that every step of their evolution would be televised and streamed. 

The Ring’s 2022 Prospect of the Year, Keyshawn Davis, and other Blue Chippers, such Bakhodir Jalolov, Jared Anderson, Diego Pacheco and Xander Zayas, are also developing before our eyes.

But there are scores of talented prospects who haven’t been showcased on the big shows or ballyhooed on Boxing Twitter – yet. 

These up-and-comers could prove to be just as promising as some of the current champions and contenders who snuck up on the boxing public, such as Jai Opetaia, Jesse Rodriguez, Sebastian Fundora and Eimantis Stanionis.

Caleb Plant and David Benavidez were under the radar just five years ago. Now, the top two super middleweight contenders are set to clash in a high-profile pay-per-view grudge match in Las Vegas on March 25. 

Who are today’s overlooked up-and-comers that might evolve into the standouts who headline major events five years (or less) from now?

Editor-In-Chief Doug Fischer enlisted the help of astute Ring Ratings panelists Anson Wainwright and Adam Abramowitz to shine a light on 11 under-the-radar prospects that hardcore fans should keep their eyes on. 

If they missed an underground prospect that you’re aware of, fret not. This will be an ongoing feature, so check back soon for another group of diamonds in the rough.

The following group is listed in alphabetical order.

 

MICHAEL ANGELETTI
Age: 26
Hometown: Spring, Texas
Weight class: Junior featherweight
Height: 5-foot-8
Turned pro: 2020
Pro record: 7-0 (6 KOs)
Trainer: Jeffrey Schlitte
Manager: Jerry Vines
Instagram: @team_angeletti
Notable Amateur Highlights: 2018 U.S. National Champion
Next Fight: TBD

What about him excites us? 

Angeletti is a hyper-aggressive, seek-and-destroy knockout artist who can be devastating to the body. Although he has a significant amateur pedigree, he features a pro style where power and aggression are his calling cards. 

What does he do well in the ring?

He is great to the body with both his left hook and straight right hand. He has good athleticism. He is very comfortable – perhaps unusually so for a relatively novice pro fighter – at fighting on the inside. He also can turn over his left hook to the head with devastating consequences. He immediately tests opponents’ will to compete.

What does he need to work on? 

Angeletti can attack like a buzzsaw, but during his offensive forays he can get his range wrong and miss wildly with shots. He also throws a lazy jab on occasion to start an exchange. It will be interesting to see how he performs against a seasoned counterpuncher. 

(Abramowitz)

***

Adam Azim catches Santos Reyes with a well-angled left on February 11, 2023, in London. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

ADAM AZIM
Age: 20
Hometown: Slough, England
Weight class: Junior welterweight
Height: 5-foot-10
Turned pro: 2020|
Pro record: 8-0 (6 KOs)
Trainer: Shane McGuigan
Manager: Shane McGuigan
Promoter: BOXXER
Twitter: @adamsuperkid
Notable Amateur Highlights: 2020 English Youth Champion, 2019 European Youth Championship runner-up
Next Fight: TBD

What about him excites us? 

Azim has a tremendous combination of hand speed, reach, power and athleticism. He is a knockout artist who can create his own openings with not just speed but a collection of feints that keep opponents guessing. 

What does he do well in the ring? 

Azim has some very advanced trickery in the ring. He incorporates head and foot feints with his blinding hand speed, making him very tough to time. He also does a great job at disguising his left uppercut, which may be his signature punch. It looks like a hook when it starts, but he can adjust the trajectory on the punch so it lands with devastating consequences. 

What does he need to work on? 

Azim loads up on too many punches, eager to push for the knockout. He can overshoot his power shots. In addition, he can get impatient in the ring in certain instances, focusing on knockouts instead of his boxing foundation. His aggression is a plus overall, but it might serve him well to dial it back on occasion to ensure that he lands his punches. He may need to conserve more energy as he works to 10- and 12-round fights. 

(Abramowitz)

***

BRUCE CARRINGTON
Age: 25
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Weight class: Featherweight
Height: 5-foot-8
Turned pro: 2021
Pro record: 6-0 (3 KOs)
Trainer: Kay Koroma
Manager: Self-managed
Promoter: Top Rank
Twitter: @B_Carrington1
Notable Amateur Highlights: First place in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, third place in the 2017 National Golden Gloves, first place in the 2017 New York Golden Gloves tournament
Next Fight: TBA

What about him excites us? 

Carrington looks at home inside the ring. He’s never ruffled or taken out of his stride. That cool demeanor will help as he continues to move quickly up the ranks. 

What does he do well in the ring?  

“Shu Shu” (an Egyptian word meaning “The one who rises above all”) has a smooth and patient style. He boxes behind a good jab and puts his punches together well. He’s disciplined, preferring to break down an opponent rather than force an early KO. He’s always thinking and looking to make adjustments.

What does he need to work on?    

How will he react when someone is able to push him back and make the fight ugly? Can he rise through adversity?

(Wainwright)

***

Travon Marshall (right) overwhelmed Shawn West on January 7, 2023, scoring a first-round stoppage. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

TRAVON MARSHALL
Age: 22
Hometown: Capitol Heights, Maryland
Weight class: Junior middleweight/welterweight
Height: 6 feet
Turned pro: 2021
Pro record: 8-0 (7 KOs)
Trainer: Andrew Council
Manager: Jerry Vines
Instagram: @iamtravonmarshall
Notable Amateur Highlights: N/A
Next Fight: TBD

What about him excites us? 

Despite a limited amateur background, Marshall commands the ring with a piston-like jab that functions as a power punch. He comes forward aggressively but responsibly. He’s a legit power puncher who throws fluid combinations.

What does he do well in the ring?

He controls opponents with his jab. His footwork is purposeful and practiced. His right uppercut is his best knockout weapon – it’s a fantastic punch. He works his way into range well and is responsible defensively when attacking. 

What does he need to work on? 

Marshall is a different fighter when being attacked or on his back foot. He can lose his defensive shape a little when under pressure, and to this point he’s not a natural counterpuncher. He’s excellent when leading, but he’s not as assured and doesn’t seem to have as many weapons when he’s being pushed back. 

(Abramowitz)

***

At just 18 years old, Abdullah Mason (right) already looks like the complete package. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

ABDULLAH MASON
Age: 18
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Weight class: Lightweight
Height:  5-foot-9
Amateur record: 65-15
Turned pro: 2021
Pro record: 6-0 (5 KOs)
Trainer: Valiant Mason (father)
Manager: James Prince
Promoter: Top Rank
Instagram/Twitter: @abdulla_mason / @abdullahmason_
Notable Amateur Highlights: Won back-to-back (2018 and 2019) USA Junior Open titles, first place in the 2017 Junior Olympics
Next Fight: April 1 (vs. TBA)

What about him excites us? 

Mason looks like the full package. He ticks all boxes in terms of technique and athleticism. He’s adept at boxing and using angles before landing a crunching shot. It’s scary to think he’s just 18.

What does he do well in the ring? 

Mason didn’t fight at the senior level as an amateur, but he has impressed many with his ability, carefully honed by his father. The teenager picks opponents off with a stabbing jab. He has very quick hands and good shot selection that looks effortless. He also likes to mix his punches to the body.

What does he need to work on?  

Mason is still getting used to professional boxing, and his man strength is a couple of years away. Time in the ring (getting pro rounds under his belt) and building strength in the gym will be very important to his long-term development. 

(Wainwright)

***

(Twitter: @realtitomercado)

ERNESTO MERCADO
Age: 21
Hometown: Pomona, California
Weight class: Junior welterweight/lightweight
Height: 5-foot-10
Turned pro: 2021
Pro record: 9-0 (9 KOs)
Trainer: Ernesto Mercado Sr.
Manager: Ernesto Mercado Sr.
Promoter: Free agent
Instagram: @realtitomercado
Notable Amateur Highlights: 2020 U.S. Olympic Alternate, 2018 USA Youth National Champion
Next Fight: April 15 (vs. veteran Hank Lundy)

What about him excites us?  

When Mercado is at his best, his in-and-out style with hand speed, power and pinpoint punch placement is a sight to behold. He has every punch in his arsenal and the athleticism and aggressive temperament to become a huge problem at lightweight and/or junior welterweight in short order. 

What does he do well in the ring? 

Mercado’s fluidity in the ring is impressive. He has expert footwork and the ability to lead or counter with multiple shots. His ring generalship is advanced for such a young fighter. His left hook in particular is a tremendous weapon, either to the head or body. 

What does he need to work on? 

Mercado can get overconfident in the ring and doesn’t always respect his opponents. This can lead to a little sloppiness in his performances against opponents who can take a shot. He’ll overshoot his punches and get hit with an occasional shot that he shouldn’t. His focus can drift when he feels like he’s not being challenged. He sometimes will play with his food in the ring. 

(Abramowitz)

***

(Instagram: @ericcpriest)

ERIC PRIEST
Age: 24
Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
Weight class: Middleweight
Height: 6 feet
Turned pro: 2020
Pro record: 9-0 (7 KOs)
Trainer: Pedro Neme Jr.
Manager: Vishare Mooney
Promoter: Free agent
Instagram/Twitter: @ericcpriest
Notable Amateur Highlights: First place in the 2017 Kansas Golden Gloves tournament
Next Fight: TBD

What about him excites us?  

Priest combines raw boxing talent with considerable crossover potential. A part-time model (signed to the Wilhelmina agency) and official adidas-sponsored athlete, he’s good-looking, well-spoken and explosive in the ring.  

What does he do well in the ring?  

Priest is an agile boxer-puncher who sets up his power well. He’s a patient boxer until he hurts his opponent, then he pounces with a crowd-pleasing finishing instinct. 

What does he need to work on?     

Protecting his hands and wrists from injuries and not overtraining are concerns for Priest and his management this year. He fought three times in 2022, scoring three first-round stoppages, but he remained in hard training (and sparring) throughout the year, which may have led to the undisclosed injury that canceled a bout vs. unbeaten (7-0) Joeshon James that was scheduled for January 27.

(Fischer)

***

FLOYD SCHOFIELD
Age: 20
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Weight class: Lightweight
Height: 5-foot-7
Turned pro: 2020
Pro record: 13-0 (10 KOs)
Trainer: Floyd Schofield Sr. and Ronnie Shields
Manager: Floyd Schofield Sr. and Mike Miller
Promoter: Golden Boy Promotions
Twitter/Instagram: @kidaustin11
Notable Amateur Highlights: Compiled a reported 180-20 record
Next Fight: April 29 (vs. TBA)

What about him excites us?   

Schofield is a gifted athlete blessed with fast hands and reflexes that serve his aggressive boxer-puncher style. He has gained both experience and confidence from high-level sparring, which includes rounds with two-division titleholder Shakur Stevenson, undisputed lightweight champ Devin Haney and veteran contender Joseph Diaz Jr., among others. Schofield also has personality and panache. He has already engaged with Haney and Keyshawn Davis via social media – and not in a friendly or sporting way – but he’s getting fans talking.

What does he do well in the ring?    

Schofield moves well about the ring and with purpose, emboldened by his punching power. He exhibits good punch selection, which includes body shots, and solid ring command. He knows how to control and close distance while putting his opponents on the defensive. 

What does he need to work on?     

His defense has room for improvement, especially his head movement (he ate his share of straight lefts from veteran southpaw Alberto Mercado during his most recent bout). Also, his punching technique could be a little tighter (sometimes he swings wider than he needs to). And there’s the question of his bravado, which might border on overconfidence.

(Fischer)

***

Ashton Sylve (Instagram: @mostvaluablepromotions)

ASHTON SYLVE
Age: 19
Hometown: Long Beach, California
Weight class: Lightweight
Height: 5-foot-8
Turned pro: 2020
Pro record: 8-0 (8 KOs)
Trainer: Ivan Sylve
Manager: Ivan Sylve
Promoter: Most Valuable Promotions
Instagram: @ashtonsylveh2o
Notable Amateur Highlights: Compiled a reported 120-8 record
Next Fight: April 1 (vs. TBA)

What about him excites us?  

Sylve is a teenage standout with the potential to be not just a world champion but a superstar. Signing with Jake Paul’s rather inexperienced Most Valuable Promotions is a gamble of sorts, but from a marketing point of view it could be genius.

What does he do well in the ring?  

Sylve is hugely talented with very quick hands and, so far, his power has shown up well. His boxing ability will come to the fore as he moves up levels, but he hasn’t needed to show that so far.

What does he need to work on?   

Adding professional experience inside the gym and in the ring on fight night will greatly aid his development. He still needs to mature physically before he can take another step up in competition, but he has time and there is no need to rush him.

(Wainwright)

***

Omar Trinidad (Instagram: @trinidad_boxing)

OMAR TRINIDAD
Age: 27
Hometown: Los Angeles (Boyle Heights)
Weight class: Featherweight
Height: 5-foot-9
Turned pro: 2018
Pro record: 11-0-1 (9 KOs)
Trainer: Jesus “Don Chuy” Lopez Sr.
Manager: Jesus “Don Chuy” Lopez Sr.
Promoter: 360 Promotions
Instagram: @trinidad_boxing
Notable Amateur Highlights: N/A
Next Fight: April 14 (vs. Adan Ochoa)

What about him excites us?  

Trinidad has an aggressive, fan-pleasing style without being reckless. He’s made up for his lack of an amateur background by being 100 percent dedicated to training and learning his craft. The Boyle Heights native is also willing to challenge himself against increasingly tougher opposition, which has seen his advancement from club fighter to legit prospect in just four bouts that spanned one year (2022). 

via decomp clothing on YouTube:

What does he do well in the ring?  

Trinidad is a technician. His craft can be hidden by his aggression and recent knockout victories (he has stopped his last four opponents), but he’s a thinking fighter, effective from long- and mid-range and very comfortable battling in close. He’s shown the ability to adapt to various styles. 

What does he need to work on?  

Trinidad is very passionate once he’s dialed into his next opponent – and, so far, that fierce spirit has produced impressive performances – but controlling his emotions will be important as the quality of his opposition increases. And getting a late start to the pro ranks (22), means he will have to advance quickly to take advantage of his athletic prime.

(Fischer)

***

King Callum Walsh works the mitts with trainer Freddie Roach. (Photo by Brandon Rivas)

CALLUM WALSH
Age: 22
Hometown: Cork, Ireland
Weight class: Junior middleweight
Height: 6 feet
Turned pro: 2021
Pro record: 5-0 (4 KOs)
Trainer: Freddie Roach
Manager: Self-managed
Promoter: 360 Promotions
Instagram: @kingcallumwalsh
Notable Amateur Highlights: First place in the 2017 European Junior Championships, winner of six Irish national championships
Next Fight: March 16 (vs. Leonardo di Stephano Ruiz)

What about him excites us?  

Walsh is a fast and fluid seek-and-destroyer who balances his aggression with a poise that seems beyond his age and experience. His natural talent attracted the eye of Freddie Roach, who is overseeing his development at Wild Card Boxing Club, where Walsh has sparred with veteran Gabriel Rosado, welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz and promotional stablemate Serhii Bohachuk (22-1, 22 KOs). Walsh also has the attention of UFC czar Dana White, whose UFC Fight Pass platform featured the Irish attraction five times in a 12-month span. 

What does he do well in the ring?  

Walsh has creative punch selection and a quick mind that makes him hard to predict. He likes to walk down his opponents, but he’s got nimble feet and can stick-and-move with impressive agility when he needs to. Excellent timing and accuracy add to his punching prowess. 

What does he need to work on?  

Although poised in the ring, patience is something Walsh will need to work on outside of it. Headstrong and fearless, despite fighting in his first scheduled 10-round bout in March, he’s made it no secret that he wants to fight legit contenders this year. His handlers will have to resist moving him too quickly.

(Fischer)

What’s your take on this crop of prospects and what other up-and-comers do you see as potential stars? Send us your comments at [email protected].

SIGN UP TO GET RING NEWS ALERTS