Five Rising Sensations at Super Lightweight Await The Reins As The Old Guard Prepares to Move On
The youth at Super Lightweight appear capable of giving a currently intriguing division staying power. And, at the moment fighting, and not business, has a chance to be the major headlines. A group of young fighters including Brandun Lee, Shohjahon Ergashev and Malik Hawkins look to be factors in what’s next over the next 12 to 18 months. Most found ways to stay active during the ongoing pandemic, and didn’t lose ground in case boxing fully picks up in 2021.
Super Lightweight of Late
The division’s recent history includes a season of the World Boxing Super Series. The field of eight culminated in Scotland’s Josh Taylor left standing with the IBF and WBA titles. The Muhammad Ali Trophy also sits atop his mantle.
Jose Ramirez skipped the tournament. However, he lifted the WBO belt off of Maurice Hooker to add it to his WBC strap. Top Rank‘s planning is underway for the undisputed clash between Taylor and Ramirez.
The undisputed champion’s life expectancy is short-lived. Shortly after, a date with Welterweight champion Terence Crawford will loom. Fortunately, the loser will have options too.
Then a version of boxing’s “hunger games” begins.
5 Rising Lightweight Prospects
|Fighter Name||Age||Wins||Losses||Draw||KOs||No. of Fights||KO %|
The Young Guns
Young fighters like Shohjahon Ergashev, Malik Hawkins, Brandun Lee, Elvis Rodriguez and Josue Vargas all hold aspirations to fill any void.
Ergashev is the eldest at 28 years old, but the group’s average age is 23 years and 9 months. Combined, the group represents 83 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw and 64 KOs. The blemishes belong to Rodriguez and Vargas, the result of a technical draw and a disqualification, respectively.
The five are at different stages of seasoning. Recent talks of Ergashev facing former champion Regis Prograis next never materialized. He’s aggressive, heavy-handed and also currently ranked in all of the major sanctioning bodies but the WBC. Along with Lee and Rodriguez, the three possess the big power numbers in the group with around 90 percent each.
Boxer-puncher Hawkins, 24, faces Subriel Matias on October 24. A win versus the IBF’s No. 11-ranked Super Lightweight improves his standing. He is tall for the division, standing at 6 feet tall with a 73-inch reach.
Lee is the baby at 21-years old. He is both rangy and powerful. On October 7, he obliterated Jimmy Williams in a vicious first round KO. The fight was Lee’s fifth consecutive stoppage on a ShoBox telecast.
After dropping Williams three times, Lee’s remarks served as a warning to future opponents. And to anyone thinking of missing a bout of his.
“I’m blessed with the natural power and that’s what the fans saw from me tonight – I’m here to entertain the fans and seek and destroy,” said the 21-year-old Lee.
Rodriguez’ signature “guitar-playing” pose, following his knockout wins, is an homage to legendary performer Elvis Presley. The 24-year old southpaw struck the pose four times in as many fights inside Top Rank’s Bubble at the MGM Grand. Top Rank resumed live fighting in The Bubble in early June. He just stopped a durable Cameron Krael in three rounds this past Saturday.
Vargas, the shortest of the five, is a slick well-rounded boxer from Bronx, New York. He has the chance to shine on this Saturday’s Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez undercard in a bout versus Kendo Castaneda.
This is boxing. Guarantees typically only exist in the latter stages of fighters’ career – if at all. Each of these young fighters hold a degree of promise, but that could vanish in a single round. We certainly need to see them in the face of adversity. For boxing fans it’s just great for a loaded division to already have a group of potential successors on standby.
Now, the aforementioned group might have next, but they don’t get to skip the likes of Jose Zepeda, Mario Barrios, Alex Saucedo, Jack Catterall or Arnold Barboza. Beware: the waters at 140 are quite infested.
Featured image by Amanda Westcott/Showtime
The body photo is by Mikey Williams/Top Rank