As was the case a year ago, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are the current main men of the heavyweight division right now; while Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker, Andy Ruiz, Kubrat Pulev and one or two other guys make up the next tier. But what of the young, unbeaten up-and-comers of the division, how did they get on over the past 12 months?
The following four heavyweights that were catching the eye of fight fans in 2019: Filip Hrgovic, Daniel Dubois, Efe Ajagba and Darmani Rock, all retained their unbeaten records. However, one of the four suffered some real adversity and forced some fans to have a re-think about his chances of reaching the top as a result.
Filip Hrgovic of Croatia fought three times last year, the 6’6” continuing to make waves. A fine amateur who won a gold medal at the 2015 European champions and won a bronze at the 2016 Olympics, the 26 year old turned pro in September of 2017 and he has met only fighters with winning records. This year, fighting in May, August and December – Hrgovic crushing Gregory Corbin in a round, and Mario Heredia and Eric Molina inside three rounds. Hrgovic is now 10-0(8) overall
Daniel Dubois of the UK has scored some chillingly impressive KO’s since going pro in 2017, and the 22 year old looked good in fighting five times in 2019. Dubois boxed in March, April, July, September and December – taking out Razvan Cojanu, Richard Lartey, Nathan Gorman, Ebenezer Tetteh and Kyotaro Fujimoto. Dubois is now 14-0(13)
Efe Ajagba of Nigeria (now based in Texas) looked for a time as though he might be the most promising young heavyweight out there. Trained by the great Ronnie Shields, the chiseled 6’5” hope with the incredible 88” reach also had a fine amateur career, winning bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Going pro in 2017, Ajagba made some noise with a string of quick KO wins. Ajagba fought four times last year, boxing in March, April, July and December – beating Amir Mansour, Michael Wallisch, Ali Eren Demirezen (on points) and Iago Kiladze. It was in the Kiladze fight when Ajagba was hit too often, dropped and made to look what he is: a young fighter with plenty to learn. Ajagba is now 12-0(10).
Darmani Rock is perhaps a little less known than the other fighters on this list, yet the 23 year old from Philadelphia has been working away steadily. A pro since 2016, the 6’5” boxer/puncher fought four times in 2019, in February, April, June and October – beating Steven Lyons, Mike Bissett, Raymond Ochieng and Maurenzo Smith, stopping them all. Rock is as ambitious as the next young heavyweight. Rock is now 17-0(12).
Now let’s see how these four get on here in 2020.