Photo: Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions – Golden Boy Promotions has a great reputation in the sport as one of the leading promoters as well as a skill for creating and promoting world champions and boxing superstars. Having worked and promoted multi-divisional world champions including: Bernard Hopkins, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Marco Antonio Barrera, Sugar Shane Mosley, Canelo Alvarez, Lucas Matthysse, Jorge Linares, Randy Caballero, Abner Mares, Deontay Wilder, Danny Garcias, Keith Thurman, DanielJacobs, Leo Santa Cruz, Peter Quillin, and Adrien Broner. In 2016, Golden Boy Promotions is looking to the future to usher in the New Era of Boxing spearheaded by current WBC, RING Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs).
For 2015, Golden Boy Promotions received extraordinary media acclaim for exciting fights year-round and was awarded the honors of Promoter of the Year, Event of the Year, Fight Cards of the Year, Fight of the Year, Fighter of the Year, and Knockout of the Year. Also, top prospects Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs), Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chingonsky” Shabranskyy (15-0, 12 KOs), Jason “El Animal” Quigley (9-0, 8 KOs), and Diego De La Hoya (13-0, 7 KOs) not only graduated into contender territory, but also received honorable mentions for Prospect of the Year while Shabranskyy debuted at number nine on the light heavyweight pound-for-pound list.
Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs), also debuted on the pound-for-pound list at number five in the heavyweight division after defeating former world champion challenger Bryant “By-By” Jennings via seventh-round technical knockout. Other fighters on the divisional pound-for-pound list include Canelo Alvarez, Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs), Jorge “El Nino de Oro” Linares (40-3, 27 KOs), Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs), Sadam “World Kid” Ali (22-0, 13 KOs), Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (22-5, 7 KOs), Randy “El Matador” Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs), Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (23-0, 15 KOs), Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs), David Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs), Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (30-4, 26 KOs), and Jayson “Star” Velez (23-1-1, 16 KOs).
Golden Boy Promotions’ top picks for “Fighters to Watch in 2016” include (in alphabetical order):
WORLD TITLE CONTENDERS:
WBA International Welterweight Champion, Sadam “World Kid” Ali
Sadam “World Kid” Ali: A member of the 2008 United States Olympic team fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, Sadam “World Kid” Ali (22-0, 13 KOs) impressed boxing fans with his unanimous decision victory over Francisco “Chia” Santana in April, 2015 that earned him the WBA International Welterweight Title and also made him the mandatory challenger for the WBO Welterweight World Championship.
Randy “El Matador” Caballero: Indio star Randy “El Matador” Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs) hit the heights of the boxing world in 2014 when he defeated Stuart “Stuey” Hall for the vacant IBF Bantamweight World Championship. In 2015, forced Caballero to vacate the title, however, 2016 looks promising for the fighter as he prepares his big return to the ring on February 5 against Ruben Garcia at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano: Already a respected welterweight contender after bouts against the likes of Erik “El Terrible” Morales, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi and “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Mexico’s Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano (29-4-1, 21 KOs) kept his march to a world title going in 2015, as he went unbeaten in three bouts against Jorge “Pantera” Silva, Juan Carlos “Merengue” Abreu and Silverio “Chamaco III” Ortiz.
Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos: The mandatory
WBC Featherweight World Championship Mandatory Challenger, Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos
challenger for the WBC featherweight world title, Celaya, Mexico’s Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (23-11, 13 KOs) started his journey to become a champion very differently in 2014. Coming off a loss to Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado in February 2014, Castellanos followed it up with a dominant victory over Ronny Rios in October 2014, stopping the then-unbeaten prospect in the fifth round. Castellanos continued to show his power in January of 2015 facing the warrior Rocky Juarez for the chance to win the WBC Silver Featherweight title and become the mandatory challenger for the WBC Featherweight World Championship. Both fighters showed a lot of heart and put on one of the bloodiest fights of 2015, but it was Castellanos’ dominance that was on display as his powerful jabs, brutal uppercuts and well-timed counter-punching knocked down Juarez in the fifth and twice in the 10th round to win via unanimous decision with scores of 118-106, 118-106 and 118-107. Now, Castellanos is the WBC Feather World Championship mandatory challenger.
Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera: One of the truest warriors in the sport today, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (22-5, 7 KOs) continued to show his supreme boxing skills and heart in a decision win over “Hammerin'” Hank Lundy in July to win the vacant NABF Super Lightweight title, and in 2016, big things are expected from Riverside’s “El Maestro” once more.
Tureano Johnson: A native of Nassau in the Bahamas, 31-year-old Tureano Johnson (19-1, 13 KOs) proudly represented his nation in the 2008 Olympics, making it to the quarterfinals in Beijing. In 2010, he turned professional and soared up the middleweight ladder before a controversial 2014 loss to Curtis Stevens. Undeterred, Johnson has since won five fights, four by knockout, and is one of the newest members of the Golden Boy Promotions roster. In his first fight since signing with Golden Boy Promotions, Johnson gave the fans a thrilling performance in the undercard of Gennaday Golovkin vs. David
Antonio “Relentless” Orozco
Lemieux at Madison Square Garden on October 17, 2015. Johnson faced Ireland’s Emmon O’Kane for the IBF Middleweight Title Eliminator, knocking down O’Kane twice in the first round and winning the fight via unanimous decision with scores of 118-108, 117-109, 119-107. Now the Nassau native is next in line for a shot at the unified middleweight championship in 2016.
Antonio “Relentless” Orozco: Unbeaten as a professional, San Diego’s Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (23-0, 15 KOs) made his move to the elite level of the super lightweight division in 2015. In May, Orozco defeated fellow rising star Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor in Phoenix, but the best was yet to come, as he decisioned multi-division world champion Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto in their October bout at StubHub Center.
Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz: On Dec. 19, at Turing Stone Resort Casino inVerona,New York, Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) defended his WBA Interim Heavyweight World Championship against one of the toughest fighters in the division, Bryant “By – By” Jennings in a fantastic display of boxing skill with a dramatic seventh round knockout of the former world champion challenger Jennings. Ortiz, dominated the fight early on with powerful hooks, uppercuts and jabs that kept him in
WBA Interim Heavyweight World Champion,
Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz
control of the pace throughout the 12-round heavyweight brawl. The victory allowed Ortiz to keep his undefeated status but also made a loud announcement to the boxing community that a new heavyweight threat had arrived to the division. This fight catapulted Ortiz on the heavyweight pound-for-pound list debuting at number five.
Michael “The Artist” Perez: Undefeated since 2012, exciting New Jersey native Michael “The Artist” Perez (23-1-2, 11 KOs) had one of the biggest years of his career in 2015, as he decisioned always toughMiguel “Aguacerito” Acosta in January and then knocked out Luis “Chespi” Sanchez in six rounds in July to win the vacant NABO lightweight title.
Ronny Rios: After suffering the first loss of his career to Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos in 2014, Santa Ana, California’s Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs) came back more determined than ever in 2015, and his performances in defeating Sergio “El Frio” Frias and previously unbeaten Jayson “Star” Velez proved that this 25-year-old was ready for prime time again.
USNBC Light Heavyweight Champion, Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chingonsky” Shabranskyy
Vyacheslav “Lion Heart – Chingonsky” Shabranskyy: People might have troublespelling the name of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (15-0, 12 KOs), but among boxing fans, his name spells action, and he continued to deliver the goods in 2015, moving to 15-0 with wins against Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson, Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena, Paul “Pay Per View” Parker and Yunieski “El Monstro” Gonzalez, the latter three foes owning a combined 34-1-1 record and breaking him into the top 10 light heavyweight rankings on USA Today’s Boxing Junkie and ranking number 12 on the WBC’s rankings.
Patrick Teixeira: Brazil’s best boxing import since beloved former champion Acelino Freitas, unbeaten southpaw Patrick Teixeira (26-0, 22 KOs) fought twice in the United States in 2015, impressing fans in New York and California with knockouts of Patrick Allotey and Don Mouton that sent a warning to his fellow 154-pound fighters that he was here to stay.
CONTENDERS TO WATCH:
Manuel “Tino” Avila: Fairfield, California’s Manuel “Tino” Avila (19-0, 8 KOs) has long been one of the most exciting prospects on the local scene, and in 2015, he made his name on the national scene with wins over Erik Ruiz, Yoandris “El Nino” Salinas and Jose Angel “Pepe” Beranza, the Salinas fight earning him the interim NABF super bantamweight title.
WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Champion,
Diego De La Hoya
Diego De La Hoya: Highly-touted super bantamweight Diego De La Hoya (13-0, 7 KOs)made the jump to eight and ten-round bouts in 2015 and he continued to impress every step of the way en route to five more victories. In September, De La Hoya won his first pro title, decisioning against former world title challenger Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz for the vacant WBC Youth World Super Bantamweight belt.
Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr.: A member of the 2008 United States Olympic team, South El Monte, California’s Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs) won his first professional title in his fifth victory of 2015, as he impressively stopped Hugo “Olimpico” Partida in December to win the vacant NABF featherweight title and an honorable mention as one of ESPN.com’s 2015 Top 20 Rising Stars.
KeAndre “Black Magic” Gibson: 24-year-old welterweight undefeated fighter, KeAndre “Black Magic” Gibson (14-0-1, 6 KOs), who now makes his home in Las Vegas, has become quite popular with impressive victories over John Nater, Jose Hernandez and Nelson Lara. In his second fight of 2015, Gibson faced Jorge Ramos in an eight round fight winning the bout via unanimous decision in the undercard of Canelo-Kirkland on May 9.
Frankie “Pitbull” Gomez: East LA’s Frankie “Pitbull” Gomez (19-0, 13 KOs) is known for his exciting style and powerful punches. He is the owner of 13 knockouts in three rounds or fewer and can also box, as shown in his near-shutout victories over longtime contenders Vernon “Ice Man” Paris in July of 2014 and Jorge “Pantera” Silva in October of 2015. A decorated amateur who won the 2009 United States Championship and earned a Silver medal in the 2009 World Championships, Gomez is ready to face the top opposition in the division and chase his dreams of a world championship in 2016.
Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez: A former WBC Youth World Lightweight champion,
Abraham “Chamaco” Lop
Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez (25-3, 21 KOs) picked up two early knockout wins in 2015, halting David “Nene” Rangel and Hevinson Herrera to set up a big 2016 for the Mexico City native.
Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez: Featherweight standout Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez (19-0-1, 14 KOs) returned from three years away from the sport in 2015 and the El Puente product picked up where he left off with knockout victories over former Ghana Olympian Alfred “The Stinging Bee” Tetteh and Jorge “King” Diaz and a draw against Juan “El Pez” Carlos Martinez.
Marcelino “Nino” Lopez: The latest star to emerge from the boxing hotbed of Argentina, Buenos Aires’ Marcelino “Nino” Lorenz (32-1-1, 17 KOs) continued dominating the local scene in his home country, but in October of 2015, he finally got the chance to introduce himself to United States fans when he knocked out David Rodela in three rounds at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez: Los Mochis, Mexico native Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez (32-1, 26 KOs) continued romping through the lightweight division in 2015, adding to his stellar record with a decision over Edgar “Lupillo” Ramirez and knockouts of Daniel “El Mulato” Valenzuela and Cristian “Veneno” Lopez.
NABF Lightweight Champion, Marvin “Cachorro” Quintero
Marvin “Cachorro” Quintero: Born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, but now making hishome in Tijuana, Marvin Quintero is a former world title challenger whose first title fight was a razor-thin split decision loss to Miguel Vazquez in 2012. Since then, the 29-year-old southpaw has won two fights by knockout over Carlos Sanchez and Cesar De la Mora. In September of 2015 the veteran fighter proved he still had what it takes to chase championship gold when he defeated Puerto Rico’s Jeffery Fontanez via fifth-round knockout to gain the NABF Lightweight Title.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH:
Damon Allen: 23-year-old Philadelphian Damon Allen (8-0, 3 KOs) stepped through the ropes twice in 2015, stopping Luis “Yeye” Rodriguez in three rounds at home in Philly before making his Los Angeles debut in November with a decision victory over Oscar Santana.
Nick Arce: Hard-hitting 19-year-old Nick Arce (6-0, 6 KOs) didn’t stick around long for his five wins in 2015, as he knocked out each of his opponents before the final bell. This power and finishing ability has made this featherweight a must see for California fight fans, and the rest of the country should get introduced to him in the coming year.
D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard
D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard: 2015 was a pivotal year for Maryland supermiddleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (11-0, 7 KOs), and he passed his tests with flying colors, showing that he could box as well as bang in decision victories over Josue “Chiquilin” Ovando, Juan Carlos “Chiflado” Rojas and Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena.
Ivan “Striker” Delgado: Keeping a steady pace throughout 2015, 25-year-old lightweight prospect Ivan “Striker” Delgado (8-0-1, 2 KOs) won five more bouts, and with fans packing the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles to see him fight on the LA Fight Club events, the future is bright for this up and comer.
Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez: 20-year-old Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (12-0, 11 KOs) added four more wins to his perfect pro record in 2015, and while he went the distance for the first time against Darryl Hayes in June, he closed out the year with a pair of second-round knockouts of Luis “Lichito” Lizarraga Jr. and Alejandro Ochoa.
Joet Gonzalez: Former amateur standout Joet Gonzalez (12-0, 6 KOs) is finding his way onto many hot prospect lists after a 2015 campaign that saw him go 4-0 with three knockouts. Included on that slate is a third-round KO of 12-0-1 prospect Marcos Rios in November.
Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis: A swift and ferocious striker, the undefeated Rashidi “Speedy”
WBA Fedecentro & WBC Interim Latin Welterweight Champion,
Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis
Ellis (14-0, 11 KOs) has repeatedly showcased his skills to audiences, most recently with a fourth-round technical knockout victory in Puerto Rico over Victor “Pambele” Gonzalez in March 2015 to claim the vacant WBA Fedecentro and the WBC Interim Latin Welterweight titles. Ellis won his three previous fights via technical knockout, defeating Joseph De los Santos and Joanthony Vazquez in Puerto Rico and Jose Martinez in the Dominican Republic. Later in 2015, Ellis played a key part in the training camp of Golden Boy Promotions fighter and now WBC, RING Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez. The 22-year-old Ellis trained with Canelo as a sparring partner in preparation for Alvarez’s November 21 super fight against Miguel Cotto. After “Speedy” put Alvarez to the test with his notoriously fast fists in training camp, Alvarez defeated Cotto via unanimous decision.
Travell “Black Magic” Mazion: 20-year-old Travell “Black Magic” Mazion (10-1, 10 KOs) is one of the top prospects in boxing, a fact evidenced by his a perfect professional record and knockout ratio, ending six fights in the first round. Now ready for his biggest year yet, Mazion is looking forward to start off the year strong in 2016.
Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete: Now making his home in Los Angeles, 27-year-old Colombia native Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (12-0, 5 KOs) was a stellar amateur before turning professional on May 24, 2013 with a four-round decision victory over Cristian Ciciliano. Two more wins would follow in 2013 for Negrete, but it was in 2014 that he began to get noticed in his adopted home state of California, as he stepped up to the plate four times and hit it out of the park with each appearance, decisioning unbeaten Carlos
Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa
Medina and stopping Pablo Cupul, Gabriel Braxton, Salvador Perez. 2015 proved to be a
busy year for Negrete as he fought five times winning all his bouts via decision excluding the most recent in December, where he defeated Ernesto Guerro via third-round technical knockout.
Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa: After winning the first nine fights of his professional career onthe east coast, Brooklyn’s Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa (13-0, 6 KOs) took his show on the road in 2015 and he continued to show off the skills that have made him a top prospect as he picked up four wins, including a big victory in Los Angeles over David Rodela and Alejandro “Soma” Rodriguez.
Jason “El Animal” Quigley: Former Irish amateur star Jason Quigley (9-0, 8 KOs) began his professional career in the United States in 2014, and he never left, learning his craft in Southern California. In 2015, Quigley scored five more wins by knockout before decisioning Marchristopher Adkins on November 20 and earning an honorary mention by Boxing News Magazine UK as one of the top prospects in the sport.
Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez: 22-year-old southpaw sensation Julian Ramirez (15-0, 8 KOs) kept piling the wins on in 2015, with his victories over seasoned veterans Raul “Bule” Hidalgo and Hugo “Olimpico” Partida setting Los Angeles’ “El Camaron” up for even bigger bouts when 2016 rolls around.
Lamont Roach Jr.
Lamont Roach Jr.: Washington D.C.’s Lamont Roach Jr. (9-0, 3 KOs) nearly doubled his
professional experience in 2015 with four victories that proved this 20-year-old super featherweight prospect is the real deal and a fighter to watch in 2016 and beyond.
Emilio Sanchez: Popular 21-year-old featherweight Emilio Sanchez (10-0, 7 KOs) had a busy year fighting in Golden Boy Promotions’ LA Fight Club series, going 5-0 with three knockouts at downtown Los Angeles’ Belasco Theater. The wins helped build Sanchez’ following and set the stage for another big year in 2016.
Hector “El Finito” Tanajara Jr.: Hailing from San Antonio, Hector “El Finito” Tanajara Jr. (4-0, 3 KOs) has been fighting since 2007 and during that time has won eight national championships. In 2012, he qualified to attend the Veles Cup in Kurgan, Russia and took the gold medal in his weight class and was selected as one of seven to go to the 2016 Olympic trails. Decinding instead to become a professional boxer and sign with Golden Boy Promotions in 2014, Tanajar Jr. is now the owner of an undefeated record of 4-0 with three knockouts. Tanajara will look to continue his winning streak in 2015 when he fights on Feb.5.