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2010 Prospect of the Year

Boxing’s Best Prospect for 2010:

In recent years, England (and the whole U.K.) has undergone somewhat of a boxing renaissance. Name fighters from the U.K. are beginning to make a big impact and the upswing looks to continue well into the future. Heading the youth movement is London super middleweight James DeGale—ProBoxing-Fans.com’s 2010 Prospect of the Year. DeGale won gold at the 2008 Olympics, following an illustrious amateur career. The switch-hitting dynamo turned pro in February of ’09 and has since scored 9 straight wins (7 by kayo) in just under 2 years.

There are certain things that leap off the screen when watching DeGale. He is amazingly quick, possesses an advanced knowledge of angles and distance, and has a rugged, hard-edged side to his boxing. He throws a lot of punches, but is always defensively aware. His punches lash in with a lot of velocity and he strings combinations together seamlessly.

It is not uncommon to peg a prospect with the “future great” tag, only to have that fighter’s defensive liabilities manifest in a way that prevents greatness. It’s easy to focus too much on a fighter’s offensive abilities early in a career. Most prospects face iffy opposition in the beginning stages of their career, making it difficult to notice anything besides their offensive ability.

When watching DeGale, one gets the impression of a more complete prospect. He is somewhat reminiscent of Andre Ward, in that he’s a stylist with a mean streak. His fast punches and nifty moves can distract an onlooker from the mean streak he fights with. In addition, there is a thoughtfulness to his attack that belies his age. He has great ring awareness and an apparently high boxing IQ, which will surely be tested the more he rises in class, as will his chin.

Last week, DeGale closed out a good 2010 by TKO’ing 29-1 Paul Smith in Liverpool. His performance indicated he might be ready for the best fairly soon. He is in a tough division, but looks to have the combination of talent and ability that should have him in very good stead in the future. How far he goes is anyone’s guess, but it should be fun watching the climb of this gifted and ambitious young fighter. It was a major step up in class for a fighter still so fresh to the professional game; congratulations to James DeGale on winning the 2010 Boxing Prospect of the Year award.

Thanks for checking out this installment and be sure to check out the complete list and collection of the ProBoxing-Fans.com 2010 boxing awards!