Around the Curve with Abe Presents: Class of 2021
This year was a condensed one in boxing, which didn’t allow for club shows to develop their young talent. Major promoters put their young fighters on tv or a stream as part of their cards which gave those fighters some good exposure.
I want to touch on a small group of fighters that next year will either make a splash or continue to build on the buzz they have developed.
Before you start throwing the virtual beer and rotten tomatoes at me, understand that this is not in any order and is subjective. Have to put that disclaimer out there for the social media gangs out on the Twitter and Facebook-sphere.
Elvis Rodriguez (10-0-1)
The fighter that many call either “The Dominican Kid” or “Guitar Man,” has been a wrecking ball in the Super Lightweight division. He has fought a total of five times this year. He has been one of the busiest prospects out there and is now having a hard time finding an opponent. His team has big plans for him so don’t be surprised if he is fighting for an interim belt by the end of next year.
Charles Conwell (14-0)
This Junior Middleweight fighter that goes by “Bad News” is one tough guy. There is no questioning his punching power but as the kids say these days “it hits different.” That it does, and Conwell is oozing with confidence which is why he gave me the exclusive earlier this year by calling out Jarrett Hurd (Click HERE for that article). Many boxing circles have him as a future champ and next year, we will see him fight some of those big names, so stay tuned.
Gabriel Flores Jr. (19-0)
This Super Featherweight has made plenty of noise and is a household name in Stockton, CA. He has been slowly developing his style and learning on the job better than most of the young fighters out. Flores Jr has received some criticism with his performances, which have revealed later on were due to some sort of injury. He is a young fighter with plenty of raw talent to build upon, which is what caught the attention of J Prince.
Look for “G-Squad” to make that leap and move up some levels in 2021, which will get boxing fans really excited.
Danielito Zorrilla (14-0)
Danielito is a Super Lightweight who is Cotto Promotions’ #1 prospect. He recently fought in Puerto Rico and scored a knockout victory. “El Zorro” reminds me a little of Felix Trinidad. His dedication to boxing shows in the ring with his performances. When fighting in the States, he has Freddie Roach in his corner and Miguel Cotto is mentoring him in Puerto Rico. Since he is 27, there will be some thought of moving him up faster next year, so get familiar with his name.
Brandun Lee (21-0)
Brandun Lee is a buzzsaw! Lee will be someone who will cause a ton of problems for fighters in the Super Lightweight Division. He has real power and in October, Jimmy Williams found out what that felt like when he was knocked out. Lee has been on ShoBox cards and PPV undercards, but next year, look for him to get more of those primetime slots as he will certainly be a player in that division.
Ebanie Bridges (4-0)
Ebanie is a Bantamweight fighter from Australia who has really used this year to develop her fan base while she was not fighting. With the powerhouse management company of Split-T, Bridges is ready to have a breakout year in 2021. She was scheduled to have a title fight, but it was cancelled. It could be looked at as a blessing in disguise as she can now build her brand even more. Known as “The Blonde Bomber,” this fighter will certainly have you tune into her next bout as she always tries to impress in the ring.
Edgar Berlanga (16-0)
Do you want to know who the next Super Middleweight phenom is? Then look no further as this hard-hitting fighter from Brooklyn has everything you are looking for: skills, looks, punching power and charisma. He’s been making his media rounds on all of the major NYC outlets to include those that are relevant within the current popular culture. Next year, he will be facing top ten fighters and don’t be surprised if he really starts campaigning for those big fights at the end of the year.
Lorenzo Simpson (9-0)
One thing I know for sure, “Truck” Simpson has the skills to be a future star in the Junior Middleweight division. Matchmaking will be key to his development and he does have to step on the gas a little bit more in fights. That should not take away from the fact that his boxing IQ and talent is exactly what you are looking for when you think of a prospect to get behind. Next year, he will continue to build his profile and hopefully sign to a promotion company now that he is being advised by MTK Global.
Aaron McKenna (11-0)
This young welterweight from Ireland is a straight beast. I first saw Aaron about two years ago and interviewed him right after his fight. He is a humble young man who does the loud talking in the ring. Golden Boy Promotions is doing a good job in slowly bringing him up. Next year, you’ll hear a lot more from him and his brother, Stevie, who is also an undefeated professional fighter.
Feifilimai Faiva (4-0)
She goes by “Lady Tyson” and works out of the Cus D’Amato’s KO boxing gym. Fei is a young up and coming fighter who is ready to make some noise. This featherweight is only 18 years old and has aspirations of becoming a world champion in the near future.
I expect to hear more from her as she has linked up with Preeminent PR to help get her name out there.
Sebastian Fundora (16-0-1)
“The Towering Inferno” is definitely a sight to see as he is 6’5 in the junior middleweight division. He is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, who has a knack of finding talented fighters within the Latin America region. He recently put away his opponent early on the Spence vs Garcia undercard and is looking to start facing top ten opponents. Look out or should I say look up when it comes to Sebastian Fundora.
Xander Zayas (6-0)
This kid is only 18 years old and is already hitting the radar of boxing media and fans. He has big power, is athletic and has the smile to become a star in the sport.
Zayas has manager Peter Kahn (Fight Game Advisors) and promoter Top Rank in his corner. Xander has all of the tools to become a blue-chip prospect in the future. Next year will be the year that has his name ringing bells throughout the boxing world.
Jamaine Ortiz (13-0)
Ortiz was recently showcased on the Tyson vs Jones card on thriller a few weeks ago. If it wasn’t for the name Tyson on the marquee, some would say that Ortiz had the standout performance of the night. He is in a very competitive division but with that performance, he will get some more work in the future. Those fights may lead to some upsets. He has an exciting style and one that fight fans would enjoy watching. Ortiz' promoter is Jimmy Burchfield Sr/CES Boxing.
Carlos Caraballo (13-0)
Carlos is another fighter underneath the Cotto Promotions Banner who has impressed many, including me. He is a composed fighter who is a technician in the ring and someone the purists would love to see. At Bantamweight, he will certainly have his hands full, but I think he will break out of the pack soon. Put him on your radar ASAP!
Jared Anderson (7-0)
Not to be confused with anyone else but this is the latest version of a fighter naming himself “Big Baby”. If there is a young heavyweight to get excited about, then it’s this guy right here. He has some polishing to do but you will hear his name a lot more next year. TR will certainly keep booking him in hopes of a breakout year in 2021.
Olympic Fighter to Watch:
As we move into the Olympics next year, a fighter who is primed to medal is Oshae Jones. She is the daughter of Otha Jones Jr and along with Roshawn Jones, coaches Otha Jones III, Charles Conwell and Isaiah “Z-Wop” Steen. This southpaw is relentless! She will not only dominate as a welterweight in the Olympics but also in the pro ranks. With numerous amateur titles under her belt, next year will be the time for her to shine the brightest.
My Three Cents:
There is a lot to be excited when you look at all of these young fighters and their potential. I want you all to get in early on these fighters as they have the potential to become tomorrow’s stars. Will they? Only time will tell but for now, put them on your radar.
You can follow me on twitter @abeg718 and follow @nyfights on Instagram.