FirstClassBoxing 2016 Awards: Prospect of the Year

Who is the standout prospect of the year in world boxing? Who has impressed in his first year or two in the paid ranks? Who will be looking to fight for major titles in 2017? The FirstClassBoxing team make their picks for ‘Prospect of the Year’.

Andrew McCart (@Andy_FCBoxing)

This might not come as a shock to most people, but my prospect of the year is Scotland’s Josh Taylor. The 25-year old Scot has only been a pro for a year and a half and has already racked up a perfect 7-0, 7KO record. In his last fight Taylor stopped the always tough Dave Ryan to claim the Commonwealth super-lightweight title in only his seventh professional bout. Taylor will now fly out to Las Vegas in January where he will look to continue his 100% record on the Frampton Vs. Santa Cruz undercard. This will be the Scot’s fourth time he has fought on a major world title fight undercard and I’m sure it wont be long until he is headlining is own.

POTY – Josh Taylor (7-0, 7KO)


Josh Taylor

Jerome Souza (@Jerome510)

20 years old, 16-0 with 15 KO’s. In 2016 he went 4-0 with 4 KO’s. My 2016 Prospect of the Year is Super Middleweight David Benavidez. “El Bandera Roja” which is Spanish for “Red Flag” is Benavidez’s nickname which comes from the notion that he’s truly dangerous to those in his division. At 6’2″ and still growing, Benavidez uses his height and reach combined with natural power to stop opponents in their tracks. Benadivdez, who’s trained by his father and is the younger brother of undefeated welterweight Jose Benavidez Jr., grew up in boxing and had the luxury of sparring with the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Kelly Pavlik at a young age. With a style that’s visibly comparable to the great Tommy Hearns, Benavidez will start to face tougher opposition in 2017 starting with a 10-round bout on the undercard of Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz II on January 28, 2017.  

POTY – David Benavidez (16-0, 15KO)


David Benavidez

Jake Collins (@MelancholyFolly)

Maybe I’m overlooking fighters from other parts of the globe, but Josh Taylor is my pick for prospect of the year. Stopping Dave Ryan (a solid domestic level fighter) in your 7th fight may not be quite on the Lomachenko level of fight development but it is still impressive. Taylor really looks the goods to me; he is technically very sound and has shown he’s also exciting to watch. We won’t see the best from him until he works his way up the ranks to better competition and I think he will be fast tracked after the dispatching of Ryan. Taylor winning a world title in the next couple of years wouldn’t shock me at all.

POTY – Josh Taylor (7-0, 7KO)


Josh Taylor

Dallas Orysiuk (@Chargers204)

I know he may be 29 years, but for me, light heavyweight, Oleksandr Gvozdyk is 2016’s prospect of the year.  Gvozdyk is 12-0 with 10 KOs and only turned pro in 2014.  Gvozdyk was not only an impressive amateur, winning a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic’s but he has also had a stellar start to his professional career.  In 2016, Gvozdyk fought 4 times, going 4-0 with 4 KO’s. Last April, Gvozdyk impressively KO’d Nadjib Mohammedi.  His next bout, he rose off the canvas to TKO another solid opponent in Tommy Karpency.  Finally to finish off the year, fighting on the Kovalev-Ward undercard, Gvozdyk did what Kovalev could not and caused Isaac Chilemba to quit in the 8th.  Not only is he a crafty and extremely skilled boxer, but Oleksandr Gvozdyk can pop, displaying power in both hands.  Lookout because Gvozdyk is someone to watch for and he will be a champion soon.

POTY – Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0, 10KO)


Oleksandr Gvozdyk

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