Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Beltway Boxing 2015 Prospect Of The Year!

Article courtesy of Gary "Digital" Williams,
Boxing Along The Beltway

Many Beltway Boxers made solid progress throughout 2015.  The majority of our top prospects moved from boxing in local club shows to appearing on cards that were seen by national and international audiences.

However, one prospect became the Webster’s Dictionary-style definition of moving from the prospect level to a level where boxers, boxing fans and media will have to look out for him in the coming year.

The Beltway Boxing Prospect Of The Year for 2015 is:

“Swift” Jarrett Hurd (17-0, 11 KO’s), super welterweight, Accokeek, MD

The Al Haymon-signee only had three bouts in 2015 but all three were quality contests.  Hurd started the year with a third-round TKO of veteran Eric Mitchell on April 18 in Valley Forge, PA.  The bout was Hurd’s first scheduled eight-round contest.  Hurd’s next opponent, Jeff Lentz, raised some eyebrows on August 14 in Newark, NJ because, although Lentz was undefeated as a boxer, he only had five contests compared to 15 for Hurd (Lentz was also, however, a talented MMA fighter).  Hurd dominated the contest, stopping Lentz in the seventh round.

However, Hurd saved his best performance of 2015 for the last one of his year.  In front of a nationally-televised (Showtime) audience, Hurd faced fellow undefeated boxer Frank Galarza on November 14 in Las Vegas, NV.  Hurd, participating in his first nationally-televised contest, did not let the bright lights blind him as he knocked down the heavily-favored Galarza in the fourth  round, punished Galarza in the fifth and put him away in the sixth as Galarza turned away from Hurd to avoid further punishment, stopping the contest. 

Here is the video:
The Galarza win gave Hurd instant notoriety and a number 11 ranking by the WBA.  Hurd's entire year became the blueprint of what a prospect wants to do with his career.  A remarkable year, indeed.

Honorable Mention (In Alphabetical Order):

D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard (11-0, 1NC, seven KO’s), super middleweight, Temple Hills, MD

Ballard continued his busy career with four bouts in 2015, facing tougher competition along the way. Three of Ballard’s four victories came against opponents with double-digit victories and Ballard won all three by unanimous decision. 

On March 12, Ballard stopped Jason Zabokrtsky in the first round in San Antonio, TX.  On June 30 in Philadelphia, PA, Ballard captured a six-round unanimous decision over Josue Ovando in front of a nationally-televised audience.  That win was followed by another six-round victory over Juan Carlos Rojas on October 3 in Carson, CA.  Ballard ended his year with a shutout six-round win over Fabiano Pena on December 19 in Verona, NY.  Ballard’s progress continues to be steady and he could have a big year in 2016.

Gervonta “Tank” Davis (14-0, 13 KO’s), super featherweight, Baltimore, MD

Davis made this category a close race for two reasons:  One: his performances in 2015 and Two: his affiliation with recently-retired pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr.  Davis scored five knockouts and was the only Beltway prospect on this year’s list to venture into scheduled 10-round contests.

Davis began 2015 with a first-round knockout over Israel Suarez in Pittsburgh, PA on February 20 and followed that win with another first-round stoppage of Alberto Mora on May 22 in Atlantic City, NJ.  On September 12, Davis competed on Mayweather’s final bout in Las Vegas, NV and scored another first-round knockout over Recky Dulay.  For the rest of the year, Mayweather took a vested interest in Davis and placed him in two high-profile, nationally-televised contests against increasingly tougher competition.  Davis flourished in both bouts, scoring a third-round TKO over former world champion Cristobal Cruz on October 30 in Orlando, FL followed by a ninth-round stoppage of Luis Sanchez in Las Vegas on December 18.  Davis should be a factor in the super featherweight division in 2016.

Mykal “The Professor” Fox (8-0, two KO’s), lightweight, Forestville, MD

The 20-year-old lightweight moved up into the six-round bout category in just his second year of pro competition.  On January 17, Fox won a unanimous decision over Luis Rodriguez in Washington, DC.  Fox fought twice more in the Nation’s Capitol scoring a first-round TKO over Thomas DeLeon on March 14 and winning a six-round unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Castillo on July 18.  Along the way, Fox signed a promotional contract with King’s Promotions.

Fox took a nice step in competition in his last bout of 2015 and put on his best performance of the year.  Fox won a shutout six-round unanimous decision over 24-bout veteran Adam Mate on December 4 in Fort Washington, MD.  Do not be surprised if Fox makes fewer and fewer appearances in the Beltway in 2016 as he starts to make waves in the lightweight division.

Travis “Seveer” Reeves (11-2-1, five KO’s), cruiserweight, Baltimore, MD

In 2015, Reeves proved to be one of the most improved boxers in the Beltway region.  Reeves won four times in the year facing steadily improving competition.  Reeves won a rematch with Lamont Capers on March 20 in Woodlawn, MD scoring a six-round unanimous decision.  One month later on April 23 in Parkville, MD, Reeves put on a nice performance winning a six-round unanimous decision over Dan Biddle.

Reeves started to open eyes with his first scheduled eight-round contest as he registered a crushing six-round knockout over Samer Barakat on July 9 in Parkville.  Then, on December 12 in Baltimore, Reeves scored a first-round knockout of Anthony Caputo Smith.  Reeves seems to be turning the corner in his career and 2016 should be an interesting year for him.

Lamont Roach, Jr. (9-0, three KO’s), lightweight, Upper Marlboro, MD

The 2014 Beltway Rookie Of The Year made some steady movement in 2015 as he advanced into six-round contests throughout the year.  Roach stopped Herbert Quartey in the fourth round on January 20 in front of a nationally-televised audience in Philadelphia, PA.  On April 18, Roach won a six-round unanimous decision over Jose Miguel Castro in Verona, NY.

Roach made his second national television appearance on June 30 in Philadelphia and won a six-round unanimous decision over Christian Santibanez.  Roach ended his year by winning another six-round unanimous decision over Jose Bustos on October 17 in Madison Square Garden in New York City on the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux undercard.  Roach continues to be a promising talent in the lightweight division.

Previous BATB Prospects of the Year:

2006: Tyrell Samuel
2007: Tim Coleman
2008: Bayan Jargal
2009: Mark Tucker
2010: Gary Russell, Jr. and Seth Mitchell
2011: Maurice Byarm and Venroy July
2012: Thomas Williams, Jr.
2013: Dusty Hernandez Harrison
2014: Mike Reed

Tomorrow: The Beltway Boxing Knockout Of The Year!
(Award winner photo created by Ross Molovinsky)

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