We will take a look at some of the most interesting boxing prospects of 2017 from around the world who have recently turned professional over the course of a few articles.Some you may know already but hopefully we will shed a light on some you dont know so well
From: Hackney, London, England
Promotion: Matchroom Boxing
Gym: Koolbox gym
Trainer: Brian O’Shaughnessy
Professional Record: 2-0-0
His story is one that has been covered by all of the major sports outlets already. He went from being inspired to being an inspiration himself. After watching Anthony Joshua at the Olympics in 2012 he changed his life completely. Lawrence Okolie was an employee at McDonald’s, who was tired of a dead end job and decided to do something about it. He went to work one day and said that he would have to cut his hours so he can focus on boxing, a decision that many thought was a high risk turned out to be very high in reward
Starting out as an amateur he may not have won medals or trophies of any kind but he would be impressive enough to qualify to get on the Olympic team set to go to Rio in 2016. He came up short against Erislandy Savon, in what was only his twenty-sixth amateur fight, and lost to a decision. The Savon was not a boxer to take lightly as he previously fought Okolie’s inspiration, Joshua, at the 2012 Olympics and gave him trouble as well. He decided to turn professional after the Olympics, signing with Eddie Hern’s promotion Matchroom Boxing.
Okolie would debut on March 25, 2017, on the undercard of the world lightweight championship fight between Jorge Linares vs Anthony Crolla at the Manchester Arena. What a debut he would have, a really impressive outing for the cruiserweight from Hackney. He fought Geoffrey Cave, a boxer with no wins and two losses, Okolie would catch Cave with two rights and the referee stopped the fight after Cave was unable to continue only twenty seconds into the bout. Then in his second fight on April 15, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland he fought Lukasz Rusiewicz. Rusiewicz had a record of twenty-two wins and twenty-nine losses leading up to the fight. Okolie would make quick work of him, knocking down the Polish boxer twice in the first round, ending up with a first round stoppage at 2:36.
Lined up to fight his third professional bout on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko, April 29th at Wembley Stadium, he would be moved to an earlier date to fight Russell Henshaw. Missing out on fighting the same night as his hero. He currently does not have another fight lined up at this moment but when one is announced it would be a wise decision to tune in to see this former fast food worker show his hands are just as fast.
From: Greenwich, London, England
Division : Heavyweight
Promotion: Queensberry Promotions
Gym: Peacock Gym
Trainer: Martin Bowers
Professional Record: 2-0-0
Another boxer coming out of England is the heavyweight Daniel Dubois. Not an Olympian, this 19-year-old from Greenwich would decide to opt out of boxing at the 2020 Olympic games, deciding to turn professional instead. Becoming a professional at such a young age he wants to become the youngest heavyweight world champion, he couldn’t wait to show his abilities to everyone. His confidence in himself is very high, thinking of himself as a “young Lennox Lewis” and citing Mike Tyson as his all time hero, he wants to show the world what a heavyweight from England is supposed to be.
It has been noted already that this young star has sparred the likes of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. Which is insane to think about that he has been in the ring with two of the sports biggest stars in their respective division. He has signed on with promoter Frank Warren. Dubois has won both of his first two fights by technical knockout, both of them being in England.
In his professional debut, Dubois would fight Marcus Kelly who at the time only had one win and no losses on his record. This fight between Kelly would be quick for Dubois, as Kelly was seemingly swinging for the fences Dubois looked for a counter and caught Kelly. Kelly backing up into the corner Dubois would finish him off with a barrage of punches making the ref step in and stop the fight. His second fight he matched up against Blaise Mendouo, a slugger from Cameroon with a record of three wins and one loss. In the first round Dubois would manage distance well avoiding the wild punches the Cameroon native was throwing and remaining composed. Dubois had him in trouble at the end of the first, with the bell ringing it would go into the second round. Where Dubois would catch Mendouo with a right setting up a flurry of punches getting Mendouo in trouble and earning his second victory. He works alot on the mental aspect of boxing, before a fight he likes to meditate and go over his game plan in his head instead of hyping himself up with music like most people would do. This mindset will carry him far into the future and he very well could be on track to becoming England’s youngest heavyweight champion.
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Promotion: Queensbury Promotions
Trainer: Virgil Hunter
Professional Record: 2-0-0
The only way to start out talking about Nicola Adams is bringing up the one thing she has done that no one else ever will. She is the first woman to ever gold medal in women’s Olympic boxing. A gold medalist not only at the 2012 games she’s also acquired gold medals at the 2016 Olympics, 2016 World Championships and 2015 European games, just to name a few. Not only is she a medalist she’s also is considered a well known advocate for LGBT rights. Being openly bi-sexual herself, she has made many lists as being one the most admired and influential LGBT athletes active right now. She’s probably one of the oldest prospects that’ll grace this list but age makes no difference, she’s about as athletic as any younger fighter could ever be.
At the early age of 13 years old, she took on her first opponent in her amateur debut. There was a span of four years in between then and her second amateur bout, but starting out at 13 years old is something a lot of professionals cannot say of themselves. For her pro debut she fought Argentinian Virginia Noemi Carcamo, a boxer with four wins, two losses and two draws. Adam’s would start off using the jab to manage distance, avoiding any clinches that Carcamo would go for she would use her in and out footwork to keep Carcamo at bay. Using that in and out footwork to avoid any strikes thrown her way, Adam’s would pounce on any opportunity she saw to swarm over Carcamo with an onslaught of punches. Adam’s would go on to take Carcamo the distance winning her debut by points.
Her second professional fight she fought Maryan Salazar. Salazar fighting out of Mexico had herself a five win and one loss record. Each round in this fight would last three minutes, a minute longer than regular two minute rounds for a women’s match. Adam’s said she would use that extra minute in each round as more time to take her opponent out. The fight would start out with Adams jabbing Salazar, managing distance avoiding most of the power shots that Salazar would throw. As Salazar came in after missing a punch Adams would take the opportunity to lay on blow after blow to the Mexican native. At the end of round two the fight was almost stopped, with Adams having Salazar pinned in the corner, tenderizing her like a round steak. The bell would ring and go into the third round. Adams would find her opening and press in on Salazar, like she hit a continue button on a video game, from last round. Getting an early round three stoppage by technical knockout. There currently is no third fight lined up for Adams, but chances are whoever it is should prepare themselves for a beating.
Gabriel Flores Jr.
From: Stockton, CA
Promotion: Top Rank
Trainer: Gabriel Flores Sr.
Gym: Los Gallos Boxing Academy
Professional Record: 1-0-0
Gabriel Flores Jr. was signed at the age of 16, by Top Rank (Their youngest ever signing) In 2015 he won a silver medal in the 125 lbs class of the World Junior Championships and in the same division claimed gold at the U.S. Junior National Championships. Last year he returned to the U.S. Junior National Championship, entering in at 138 lbs winning himself the gold.,
he wasn’t allowed to compete on a professional level until the age of 17 after getting a special permit.
In Reno, NV the young prospect out of Stockton, CA made quick work of the 25-year-old Jones. The ref stopped the fight in the second round at 1:45. Flores Jr. said post fight to The Record of Stockton that he “feels blessed” and to “keep working, don’t take no for an answer” realizing that he’s quickly achieving his dream at such a young age. He brought in the majority of the crowd that night according to the promoters, selling 400 ticket.
High praise comes his way from another local Stockton, CA fighter .UFC star Nate Diaz has singled him out in an interview with Inside The Ropes Boxing, saying that Flores Jr. “represents the area (Stockton)”. That it’s hard to break out of “this little nowhere town” claiming that he’s proud of Flores Jr. Not only for being good for the sport of boxing but also for the town of Stockton. Avidly speaking against the town’s reputation of gang violence this young boxer looks to change the image of his hometown in the future.
From: Bekabad, Uzbekistan
Division : Lightweight
Promotion: Top Rank
Gym: World Boxing Gymnasium
Trainer: Abror Tursunpulatov
Professional Record: 1-0-0
The Uzbekistan is a recent gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics at light welterweight. He has also won silver medals at the Asian Championships and World Championships in 2015. He currently trains in the same gym and shares the same manager (Egis Klimas) as the Ukrainian-born Vasyl Lomachenko, who is widely considered as one of the best boxers in the game right now. Signing a multi-year contract with Top Rank he made his debut at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, CA. His first professional fight was against Victor Vazquez, a boxer from Yonkers, NY who carried a record of seven wins and two losses.
Things didn’t start out too promising for the freshly turned pro on debut. Victor looked stronger early and controlled the pace of the fight, constantly moving forward and outworking Fazliddin. Earning himself a knockdown early in the first. It was major adversity, but after the first round, the tide would turn. Starting out the second Fazliddin’s game turned around and Victor was on the defense. Getting a few good shots in with a minute and a half left in the second Fazliddin would tag Victor scoring a knock down of his own. Victor would get back to his feet but visibly shaken the ref called the fight right then. Earning Fazliddin Gaibnazarov his very first professional win.
On May 20th, 2017 he is due to fight his second professional bout. He will be taking on Agustine Mauras, a boxer with six wins and two losses fighting out of Lawrence, Mass. After hitting a slight road bump on debut I expect the Uzbek will steady the ship and go on to do great things as a pro and match the expectations of top rank who regard him as a blue chip prospect.
That is it for this week. Catch us next week for Volume 2 where we will look at another 5 top prospects in 2017 from the wonderful world of boxing.