By: Oliver McManus
With young fighters making their debut on a weekly basis it’s becoming hard to juggle all the names looking to catch a break. Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren are in a luxurious position of being able to offer television exposure but the ball doesn’t stop in their court. Up and down the country there are jewels in the crown of every promoter or manager: here are five to keep an eye on over the next 12 months.
21 year old Bradley Rea has made a healthy start to life as a professional; moving to eight wins without defeat since his debut in September 2018. Stretford’s middleweight had five outings last year and notched up three wins inside the scheduled distance. Against Alistair Warren, who holds wins over Marcus Morrison and Chad Sugden, Rea was clinical in his pursuit of the body. Rea and, coach, Blain Younis had intended to target the liver from the off and dropped Warren on three occasions – all from body shots. The contest was called off after just two minutes.
2020 should see Rea stepping up to eight rounds in the first few months before targeting titles in the back end.
One of two fiercely impressive heavyweight giants, in every sense of the word, to debut in December. Alongside David Adeleye, a Queensbury Promotions prospect, the future of British heavyweight boxing looks to be in safe hands. Ignatius has secured the backing of Charlie Sims, an early sign of approval, and debuted with Matchroom Boxing. A huffy and puffy Hrovje Bozinovic was in the opposite corner and Ignatius boxed with patience for the first three rounds. In the fourth he could see Bozinovic was looking for a way out and produced classy hooks to the body to finish the contest off in style.
Welsh teenager Rhys Edwards is a precocious talent. One of eleven children, the 19 year old insists he isn’t even the most gifted boxer in his family – younger brother Iestyn supposedly the cream of the crop. The Tonypandy fighter has wasted no time in moving to 9-0 with seven fights in ten months, last year. From his debut the super featherweight has looked ahead of his years but the difference in just over a year is exponential. In his last fight of the year, against Stefan Sashev, Edwards boxed with perfect poise and composure before sinking Sashev with a crisply timed shot to the body.
Edwards has stated he wants to become British champion by the time he’s 21 and you’d be a fool to tell him otherwise.
Born in Lanzarote before moving to Yorkshire as a teenager, George Davey has had his eyes set on professional boxing for as long as he can remember. The 22 year old made his debut in October against a tricky Zygimantas Butkevicius and in the third round you could see him relax – as much in realisation of the occasion. A few weeks later he out-worked Dale Arrowsmithover four rounds to end the year shaking and grooving. Davey was namechecked, alongside Dennis McCann and ShabazMasoud, by, promoter, Frank Warren when discussing “the best youngster in British boxing.” He’ll be staying busy in 2020 and might well bob along under the radar – jump on this bandwagon, now.
Welterweight Ekow Essuman is the most experienced fighter on this list; the English champion has 13 fights and two defenses of the title to his name. The Engine has established himself on the welterweight scene and has risen to challenges at every horizon – the goal for 2020 will be to push on to bigger titles. With a renaissance of talent coming through the ranks in Nottingham, Essuman serves as a wiley figurehead to the sport in the city. His grinding workrate and aggressive shot selection has seen him outwork quality boxers in Tyrone Nurse and Curtis Felix and he looks better with every fight. In a crowded welterweight scene he could well find opportunities aplenty at his door this year.