Top Prospects 2019

Top Prospects to watch out for in 2019

Published On Monday, December 31, 2018By Tim Rickson

BBN asked key boxing figures for their top prospects to watch out for in 2019

BBN asked boxers, trainers, managers, promoters and other key figures for their pick of the prospects - of which there is an abundance to choose from - to watch out for in the New Year. It will be a make-or-break year for many of boxing's rising stars but we wanted to know who the experts had leading the pack.

The UK have finished the year with five World champions - Charlie Edwards; Khalid Yafai; Josh Warrington; Callum Smith and Anthony Joshua - and below is a list of potential future world rulers, as picked by our panel of boxing experts.


Jamie Arlain: Linus Udofia

British Challenge lightweight belt champion, Jamie Arlain, picked Nigerian-born Lutonian Linus Udofia, an unbeaten middleweight gunning for Southern Area title honours early next year.

"This is an easy one for me, the top prospect of 2019 is Linus Udofia.

He is 12-0 with six stoppages, managed by Steve Goodwin, and this year boxed on some big platforms and come out on top of all his tests and he next fights for the Southern Area middleweight title in March against the champion Tey Lynn Jones (11-1) in what, I believe, will be easy work.

I can see Linus, still only 25-years-old, winning the British title by end of the year."


Frank Greaves: Simon Corcoran

Top trainer, Frank Greaves, picked unbeaten lightweight Simon Corcoran from Wembley, younger brother of World title contender Gary.

"My top prospect is Simon Corcoran

Quality amateur, he was an ABA runner-up. Currently 2-0 as a pro and is only 26-years-old. 

He's spiteful, sharp, has a very good punch variety, and is very aggressive. He has all the qualities he needs to go far in the professional game, so definitely one to watch out for in 2019.

Also, a special mention for Denzel Bentley (8-0, 7KOs), 23 from Battersea - absolute quality fighter, very big for a middleweight, super sharp and very dedicated."


Peter Sims: Craig Richards

Essex-based trainer, Peter Sims, picked his light-heavyweight charge Craig Richards, who is proving to be a handful in his new division.

"Although not such a prospect and maybe being slightly biased, but I think Craig 'Spider' Richards at his new weight - light-heavy - and having three KOs inside three rounds since fighting Frank Buglioni is going to flourish this year, with him fighting Jake Ball on 2nd Feb with a victory it should be a determined factor in his career.

There are also two new prospects from the Matchroom stable to look out for, one is John Docherty, a tall 6'3” southpaw that can fight, he’s got speed and can punch and being a big super-middle is one to watch out for; also Charlie Frankham, yet to make his debut is one to watch in 2019, as he had a flourishing amateur career and he carries power and speed and, in my opinion, will do very well in the pro ranks."


Chris Glover: Joshua Buatsi

Boxing writer, Craig Glover, went for Rio 2016 bronze medalist Joshua Buatsi, who has won all his last three fights in the first-round.

"Personally, I think it's very hard to see past Joshua Buatsi at this stage.

He's coming on leaps and bounds at a scary pace and is technically excellent. He is showing raw power as well as an excellent skill set that will no doubt take him to the top level with the backing of Matchroom Sport. 

Also a shout out to Joe Joyce, who looks like he will be blasting his way to competing at the business end of the heavyweight division in 2019. Joe is a scary athlete, who oozes class, and, with the guidance of Abel Sanchez, I expect him to be around the pinnacle of the heavyweight Ddvision in 2019.

Other mentions are undefeated super-lightweight Sam Maxwell and flyweight Andrew Selby, who will look to put 2018 behind him and kick on in 2019."


Sergio Michel: Tommy Fury

American guitarist and songwriter, Sergio Michel, is a boxing superfan and picked the yongest of the fighting Fury family.

"Tommy Fury is a generational fighter and comes from the same stock as the Lineal Champion, his brother Tyson Fury.

Tommy has an added benefit  of John Fury and Bartley Gorman's ancestral pedigree. He also benefits from seeing his brother and cousin Hughie Fury and friend Billy Joe Saunders navigate the boxing business. He has a headstart, as you will, over others, as the fight knowledge in his family is astounding. If he learned lessons from and avoid the trials, tribulations and mistakes of his older brother, he has the potential, resources and tools to be great.

He is also a handsome young man, in excellent shape and very marketable, making him easy to promote over here in America."


Johnny Nelson: Jordan Gill

The longest reigning cruiserweight world champion of all time, Johnny Nelson, picked the cureent Commonwealth featherweight champion from The Fens:

"Jordan Gill is someone that I'm a huge fan of. I've seen him come through and he's simply the sweet science of boxing. He's not a banger but a beautiful boxer. Unfortunately, in this day and age, people want crash, bang, wallop, but if you love the sweet science, Jordan Gill is your man.

Another I like is Josh Kelly who, again, is technically class. Unfortunately he fell ill before his Sheffield fight so couldn't perform to give me credence to that, but this guy really is second to none."


Matthew Macklin: Joshua Buatsi

Head of MTK Global, Matt Macklin, also picked the 175lbs wrecking ball that is Joshua Buatsi.

"I've been banging on about Joshua Buatsi since he turned over and I'm not going to change my opinion. I think he's going all the way. He's very well-schooled, solid and compact, picks his punches well, is very economical and sets everything up with a ramrod job.

He is the pick out of the Rio 2016 bunch. There's an audience out there for every personality, just be true to yourself. Buatsi is very humble, but I like him because of his boxing skills. People will see him put in a scintillating performance and it'll be his performances that will do the talking for him."


Darren Barker: Joe Cordina

Former World middleweight champion, Darren Barker, went to Wales to find his top prospect in Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Joe Cordina.

"The one I'm going to go for as the breakout star of 2019 is Joe Cordina, he's got all the skills to go a long way.

Granted, he is already established, eight fights in and a Commonwealth champion, but I think by the end of 2019 he will have climbed very high up the world rankings."


Tim Rickson

Sports Agent and BBN Editor, Tim Rickson, picked 'The Pretty Boy'.

"I'm still a big fan of Josh Kelly.

He's 8-0 with six KOs and has picked up two belts this year - the WBA International and Commonwealth welterweight titles.

I'm really interested to see where he goes in 2019, because he is well above the domestic scene where Johnny Garton is the British champion. I would already pick him to beat Amir Khan who is ranked just above him in the WBA standings. Khan and Conor Benn are both really good domestic match-ups, but I can't see Khan, with all his arrogance and chasing dream world title fights, taking that fight, but fingers crossed that Benn will. One more really good test, like Conor Benn, and then I hope to see him in the mix at world level."


Joe Pyle

Head of Noble Art Promotions opted to stay within his own stable and selected Zak Chelli.

"Zak Chelli, for me.

I may be biased, as I'm his manager, but he has just turned 21 and is 5-0 and rated #14 in the country on BoxRec right now.

Last year he boxed Umar Sadiq, also promoted by Frank Warren, in an eight-round contest where both boys were unbeaten going in - Zak 4-0 and Umar 3-0. The fight was a breath of fresh air as two boys risked their undefeated records to prove who was Frank's best super-middleweight prospect. Zak won convincingly and scored a knockdown and is now the mandatory for the Southern Area title but no one wants to fight him!

Chelli had a standout amateur career, winning the Three Nations and representing England at World and European Championships, he was on the GB squad but decided to turn professional rather than wait for the Olympics.

Zak also wants to fight anyone, so 2019 will see him a lot more active and pushing for titles. He is exciting and dynamic and always comes to fight! He has knocked down all of his opponents except Adam Jones who was schooled and battered over six-rounds live on BT.

If Zak is given the chance next year then you will see him fight for titles."


Daniel Smith: Josh Taylor

BBN writer, Dan Smith, is flying the flag for Scotland with his choice.

"Without pomp or flamboyancy, Josh Taylor never deviates from his primary objective: to get in the boxing ring and win the fight.

The 27-year-old Scotsman emphatically carved out an impressive run within the super-lightweight division last year and now, with World Boxing Super Series glory in his sights, I think 2019 will be a year for multiple titles for 'The Tartan Tornado'."