In our Top Prospects for 2018, were looking at some of the best prospects in boxing at the moment from Ireland and the UK. Not just young boxer’s, but prospects who at any age are starting out and who have the potential to really do something in the sport, and who have already shown glimpses of what they can do.
So in no order, here’s the fighters that have made it on to part 1 of the Top Prospect list…
- Josh Kelly 5-0 (4 ko’s) / Light-middleweight
A former team GB standout, Kelly has taken to the pro ranks like a true natural. In only his 5th fight he was moved to the 10 round distance and every fight he’s had so far has been against an opponent with a winning record with only Dubliner Jay Byrne taking Kelly the distance. Dont be surprised to see Kelly challenge for domestic titles in the next 12 months as we could possibly be looking at the new star of british boxing.
- Eric Donovan 6-0 (3 ko’s) / Current Celtic featherweight champion
In only his 5th pro fight, the former Irish amateur star comfortably beat experienced Welshman Dai Davies on points to claim the Celtic featherweight title while following this up with a shutout points win over tough Spaniard Juancho Gonzalez. Donovan is now aiming to challenge for a European title by the end of the 2018 and can be fast tracked and looks like he could be the man to bring bigtime boxing back to Irish shores.
- Kane Clarke (Boxing Monthly) – Mick Conlan 5-0 (4 ko’s) / Featherweight
Prospect of the year for me would have to be Belfast featherweight Michael Conlan. Mick has been a massive prospect for many years now, and this might be the final year we get to call him that, but since ditching the vest and debuting at MSG Theater on St. Patrick’s day, the 2015 amateur world champion his been displaying his skills to a much wider audience across the world thanks to his promoters Top Rank.
Although Michael insisted “pressure was for tyres” in the lead-up to his debut, im sure even the coolest of characters would have struggled with some pre-fight jitters, but as Conlan’s pro career has progressed, each fight he has shown a little bit more, culminating in his latest display on the Loma v Rigo card where he was completely calm and composed, even boxing in southpaw for five-rounds, wasting nothing and peppering the body and head with hurtful shots. I believe we have far from seen the best from Conlan, and im excited to see him stepped up in 2018, and hopefully pushing for a title of some sort this time next year.
- Lewis Crocker 4-0 (4 ko’s) / Welterweight
Hard-hitting Welterweight Lewis ‘The Croc’ Crocker has taken only 5 rounds to dispatch his 4 opponents so far. With fight ending power in both hands, Crocker brings real excitement to the domestic scene.
- Regan Buckley 2-0 / Flyweight / Super flyweight
At only 20, ‘The Rocket’ is one of the youngest on the list. With just 2 fights, the former amateur standout has shown flashes of what he can do. In his second fight he stepped up 3 weights to take on and defeat the previously unbeaten Carl McDonald in one of the Irish fights of the year.
Buckley is a talented all-rounder who can stand and trade or fight on the back-foot and he’s shown that he’s more than willing to accept a challenge as he aims to make a serious mark on the pro scene. His next bout is Feb 16th against Craig Derbyshire on a Kieran Farrell promoted show in Manchester and dont be surprised to see Buckley challenge for domestic honours in 2018.
- Linus Udofia – 6-0 (3 ko’s) / Middleweight
Talented middleweight Udofia looks to be getting better with each fight, and with the backing of Goodwin boxing, we could see him rise up the domestic ladder quickly over the next 12-18 months
- Craig O’Brien 7-0 / Celtic Light-middleweight champion
‘The Iron’ had a breakout year in 2017 culminating in his Celtic title win over tough Frenchman Alain Alfred. O’Brien at his best looks like a natural in the ring and makes it look effortless as he goes through the gears. He looks like he’s ready for a serious step up as he aims for the Irish title in 2018.
- Daniel Dubois – 6-0 (6 ko’s) / Heavyweight
‘Dynamite’ has been dubbed the hardest-hitting heavyweight to ever come from the UK. Blessed with size, speed and genuine one-punch knockout power, he’s taken only 9 rounds to destroy his 6 opponents so far. Dubois could be knocking on the door of the big boys Joshua, Whyte & Fury over the net 12-18 months as he continues his meteoric rise.
- Paddy Barnes 5-0 (1 ko) / Flyweight
Barnes has quickly settled into the pro ranks and has claimed the WBO European strap and looked sensational in his last bout when he stopped Quezada to claim the WBO inter-continental title. World title fights will surely be on he horizon for the Belfast man in 2018.
Make sure to check our page for Top Prospects 2018 part 2 to see who made the list…..