By Adam Canavan @adam_canavan
With the new boxing season just around the corner these are my 5 prospects in Britain to look out for in the upcoming season:
Chad Gaynor (22)
Gaynor, from Rotherham, has a professional record of 13(7)-1 with his sole loss coming against the quite highly touted Glenn Foot in the Prizefighter series so there isn't much damage in that loss, but then I believe Gaynor was coming on strong in that fight and he had Foot rocked a few times in the 3rd and if that fight was any longer than 3 rounds I personally think that he may have stopped Foot. Gaynor has very solid fundamentals, good head movement and a solid right hand with good power. I expect Gaynor to progress well this year although he is in a tough division (welterweight), it is a division with many oppurtunities opening up and good fights available for him: Frankie Gavin will win the lonsdale belt outright should he win his fight on Sept 21st and will likely vacate the belt after that leaving the division wide open domestically with the likes of Ronnie Heffron, Lee Purdy, Denton Vassell all being potential future opponents for Gaynor. Glenn Foot and Larry Ekundayo also fight eachother on Oct 5th so the winner or the loser could be a possible opponent and the Foot rematch, in particular, is probably at the top of Gaynor's wishlist. Gaynor's next fight is on Oct 4th against Bogdan Mitic (18(11)-4) on the Dave Coldwell bill at the Ponds Forge Arena in Sheffield.
Mitchell Smith (20)
Super Featherweight Mitchell Smith, of Harrow London, is one of Britain's top rising prospects and, since turning pro in June 2012, he has racked up a record of 6(3)-0. In his most recent performance he stopped the semi-durable Gavin Reid in the 1st round this April. 'The Baby Faced Assassin', of course named after the modern great Marco Antonio Barrera, seems to have very good skills at this early stage of his career. He is calm and composed in the ring but has a good finishing instinct of he hurts opponent, he has good punch power which can only improve as he physically matures. He fights for his first professional title (the Southern Area title) on the 21st of this month against the durable Scott Moises (7(2)-7), who has never been stopped (despite being in with the likes of Terry Flanagan and Stephen Foster) and so if Smith stops him he has made a big statement domestically and if not then gets a good 10 rounds under his belt, which is great considering he hasn't been past 6 rounds yet. I expect him to beat Moises and, I presume, Gary Sykes may vacate his English title to fight for the British title and I predict that Smith will be fighting for the English title by the end of the season. I would like to see fights with the likes of Jon Kays, Kris Hughes and Ben Jones this season and maybe even Gary Sykes depending on the progress of both fighters.
Hughie Fury (18)
Hughie, the cousin of Heavyweight contender Tyson Fury, has made a fast start to his career so far: Fury turned pro in March of this year after winning gold in the 2012 Youth Amateur World Championships and has accumulated a record of 8(5)-0 and has already made a big statement, for a heavyweight of his age and experience in my opinion, by stopping Ivica Perkovic, a feat that neither Alexander Ustinov or Alexander Dimitrenko could accomplish. At 6 foot 6 inches Fury posseses good physical strength and for a man of his size he has quite fast hands. Hughie has also gained valuable experience in boxing away from home: so far, only 8 fights into his career, he has boxed in Canada (on his debut), New York, Belfast, Dundalk and Romania. Fury's next fight is on Sept 14th, on the Kid Galahad vs Jazza Dickens undercard, against former British Cruiserweight champion Shane Mcphillbin (8(5)-7-1): Mcphillbin's record may not be inspiring but unlike a journeyman he will come to win and packs a decent punch, I believe this is a good warmup/keep-busy fight for Fury. After that the plan is for Hughie to fight just two weeks later on the undercard of his cousin's mega fight against David Haye, this fight is supposedly going to be a big step up as Hughie is lookinh to bypass British level and achieve his goal of breaking Mike Tyson's record of being the youngest ever world heavyweight champion and that is the reason I think you should keep an eye on him this season as he has until September next year to reach this goal.
Isaac Dogboe (18)
Dogboe was born in Ghana but resides in London, hence why I have included him in this list. At just age 17 Dogboe was the youngest competitor at the London 2012 Olympics, unfortunately his Olympic experience was soured by a controversial loss to Japan's Satoshi Schimizu that many, including me, thought Dogboe won. He recently turned pro with Gary Hyde and made his professional debut against Csaba Toth in Switzerland, stopping him in the 3rd round. He is starting his pro career at Super Bantamweight. I think Hyde has signed the hidden gem of the 2012 Olympics as already, in his debut, he has shown several promising qualities: he has good footwork, good reflexes and timing, he selects his shots very well and has a good punch variety, he attacks to the body often (particularly with the jab) and seems to have speed and some power already. I know it's only his debut but at only 18 years old these qualities are only going to improve and hopefully we will see him take some big steps this season.
Kal Yafai (24)
Birmingham's Kal Yafai (8(6)-0) turned pro in 2012 after a successful amateur career consisting of being a 2008 Olympian, a 2010 European championship silver medalist and being part of the elite GB team set up. In his first year as a pro he seemed to be progress nicely, stopping 6 of his first 8 opponents (all of those stoppages happening within 4 rounds) and he even developed what seemed to be a signature punch in his vicious left hook to the body, but unfortunately Yafai tore his left bicep in his last fight which has kept him out of action since the end of march. Yafai is set to return to action on oct 26th on the undercard of Kell Brook vs Vyacheslav Senchenko and I fully expect him to be winning the english title at either super flyweight or bantamweight and by the end of their season maybe even having a british title shot.