Who’s the Best Prospect in the Sport in 2015?
Many excellent prospects continued to make their mark this year. So who deserves the honor? It’s important to remember that prospects who essentially do so well that they graduate from prospect status cannot win the award. That eliminated several of the runners-up you’ll see below. We look for true prospects who have stayed busy, performed at a high level, and have advanced through the ranks accordingly. That makes our winner…
2015 Prospect of the Year – Ievgen Khytrov
Khytrov fought five times this year, advancing to 12-0 with 11 KOs. He’s best known for his power, but has a deep pool of amateur experience and the resulting skills which have developed, enabling him to properly setup and dispense those power shots.
While he has been moving up the rung, he hasn’t assumed the status of full-fledged contender yet. We’ve seen him taken to the cards for the first and only time thus far in his career, we’ve seen him overcome slow starts to score late round stoppages, and we’ve also seen him simply blasting through his opposition with early knockouts as well.
“The Ukrainian Lion” is 27 years old, and looks to become a major force in the middleweight division. Expect him to do so in 2016.
- Artur Beterbiev: With just 9 fights, all KO wins, Beterbiev seems to fit into best prospect status easily. Yet, he’s already fought himself beyond it, moving up the ladder quickly and looking to compete with the top of the division. If not for an injury, he would have fought a title eliminator this fall.
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko: Fellow Russian Derevyanchenko has fought just 7 times professionally, four of which came this year. He’s wasting no time either, and is looking to move straight ahead to contender status.
- Antoine Douglas: Another fighter who has really moved past the prospect stage, and is looking to contend for titles in short order. Now 19-0-1, he fought three times this year, winning each fight, two against unbeaten fighters, by stoppage.
- Errol Spence: Spence has also graduated from the role of mere prospect. He fought four times on the year, against fighters with a combined 97-5-2 record, and looks ready to step up in class even more in 2016.
- Mario Barrios: Barrios has gotten a lot of exposure through various PBC fights. On the year, he fought seven times, improving to 14-0 with 8 KOs. At 6-feet tall in the super featherweight division, he presents a unique challenge.