Five to Watch in 2019
By: Oliver McManus
2018 was a sensational year for boxing, wherever you’re based. Mind you it does seem as though we say that with the passing of every annum. The first month of the new year is, always, relatively dull and mostly dedicated to looking ahead. With that in mind let’s take a look at five under-the-radar prospects for 2019.
Christian Kinsiona – Super Middleweight
We’ll start off up North with Christian Kinsiona who enters the year with a record of 7-1-1. The 28 year old’s only loss came against Scott Westgarth, narrowly, in March 2017 so not one to be sniffed at. Since then, however, Kinsion has built a strong record with four impressive victories on the trot.
Up against Curtis Gargano and Richard Harrison, two durable journeyman, Kinsiona displayed his killer instinct with stoppage victories. To close off 2018, The Grenade secured victory over Harry Matthews to claim the vacant Central Area belt. A confident and assured performance from the Sheffield-man saw him boxing patiently from the centre of the ring.
A dominant figure with imposing stature, Kinsiona has looked comfortable in the three fights of his that I’ve watched and is capable of mixing up the style. What I like the most about Christian are his body shots – it’s something really simple but Kinsiona works the body of his opponent effectively and it produces results.
Scheduled to face Mickey Ellison, in an English title eliminator, on March 30th, Kinsiona has a real opportunity to force himself into the title mix and continue his journey, guided by Stefy Bull.
Harvey Horn – Super Flyweight
Dropping down massively in weight class we’ll turn our attention to Harvey Horn who emerges as one in a number of fly / super-fly prospects coming through the ranks. Horn stands out for a variety of reasons and, off the back of a frustrating 2018, he’ll be looking to really push on over the next 12 months.
A GB Lionhearts in the World Series of Boxing, Horn has the pedigree to see him making rapid development and has honed his technical skill set over the course of four professional fights. Moving up to six rounds on the Warrington-Frampton undercard, Horn shook off the dust to claim a close contest against Adam Hutchinson.
Despite being just 23, Horn possess supreme confidence in his ability and takes to the centre of the ring and boxes with a constant, busy work-rate. The young man is willing to take a step back and evaluate the situation before landing the shot and is an intelligent boxer, not rushing into shots, as he pieces shots together nicely.
I’ve said it before but Harvey has really nice stance which is, let’s be honest, an odd thing to appreciate in a boxer but he looks light on his feet and is set up with a staunch defence that allows him the room of the ring.
Having ended 2018 on a relative high, Horn will be looking to gain some momentum over the course of the next 12 months in order for him to really push on.
Denzel Bentley – Middleweight
2 and 0 as we entered 2018, Denzel Bentley finished the calendar year boasting an impressive record of eight without defeat. A ferocious fighter, Bentley himself has admitted to not fully appreciating the scope of his power but the 23 year old really grew into his strength over 2018,
Starting out of the blocks in fast fashion, Bentley looks to impose himself straight from the off and against Daniel Urbanski, in September, Bentley did so to perfection. A searching, looping right dropped his Polish opponent within 20 seconds and on a further two occasions before the bout was waived off after a mere 71 seconds.
Perhaps more impressive was his win over Serge Ambomo (6-7) on less than 12 hours notice… Bentley turned up and blasted Ambomo out, who had never previously been stopped, within two rounds. Mightily impressive from the young man and, indeed, resulting in an ever growing fan base.
With one eye on the winner of Tey Lynn Jones vs Linus Udofia, that fight for the Southern Area title, Bentley has insisted he isn’t concerned with names on his record but simply wants to start collecting titles as soon as possible.
Edward Muscat speaks highly of him and rightly so – Denzel is some talent that Ed has got on his hands and, even better, 2 Sharp is a lovely bloke, too!
Deion Jumah – Cruiserweight
The most established of names across this list, Deion Jumah secured the first title of his career last night when he stopped Ossie Jervier in the fifth round on December 1st. The Southern Area title duly found a new home and, in equal rhythm, was vacated shortly after.
That’s a sign of the lofty ambitions that Jumah possesses – his next fight will be for the English equivalent. A professional since 2013, Jumah’s career has bounced along far more rapidly since hooking up with Steve Goodwin and the new management team has put him in a promising position.
Three fights last year, after an absence of 26 months, saw the 29 year old rack up three knockout victories with a particular penchant for body shots. The Ghost is one of the hottest prospects flying under-the-radar on the small hall circuit and it’s only matter of time before he starts headlining arena shows.
It is easy to see the distinguished amateur background within Jumah, not least in terms of his patience within the ring. Make no mistake, when there’s blood in the water, Deion is merciless in his hunt but he’s not reckless and that, for me, that temperament and level-head is what sets him apart from the rest of the troops.
James Beech Jnr – Super Featherweight
The current Midlands Area Super Featherweight champion, James Beech Jnr, burst onto the scene in dramatic fashion towards the back end of last year. Already growing a fan base in and around the West Midlands, his four fights in 2018 saw him step up to eight rounds for the first time and, subsequently, win his first career title.
21 years of age and already boxing like a seasoned professional, Beech stepped up in weight to take on the experienced Louis Fielding for the vacant Area title. The dazzling fighter, promoted by BCB Promotions, was quick out of the blocks and established his dominance from the off. Beech looked in fine form and maintained his front foot pressure even after a nasty gash emerged above his eye in the fourth. Beech controlled the bout but came out in the ninth with a renewed urgency, with a flurry of right hands bowling his opponent over to the canvas in sensational style.
But it’s not just the big occasions in which James has stepped up to the plate, across his nine professional fights, Beech has visibly matured and shown an eagerness to develop. Adapting to the opponent, the Bloxwich-resident has racked up 48 rounds in two rounds and looked impressive throughout.
With two years left of his BCB management, I’m sure Errol Johnson will be looking to push this young fighter on towards bigger things because his talent and development shows no sign of slowing down.