In December we are going to be sharing our "20 for 20", a list of 20 fighters to keep an eye on for the new year. Ahead of that we will be looking at a number of fighters who just missed out on that list.
These are the fighters who perhaps won't be ready for a world title by the end of next year, but we feel will make a mark in the year, and go on to do big things in the following year or two. Typically they are the prospects who perhaps need a little more time to develop, or who are still a bit too young for the big fights, or maybe just don't seem like they are quite there yet. These are our "Honourable mentions - 20 for 20" fighters and these will be posted daily until the start of December!
After a very long wait we recently saw 2016 Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov make his professional debut, and whilst it was a relatively low key bout in Mexico it was still the first step for him and his professional career. The talented Uzbek showed that he can adapt to the professional style, he looked a natural in the lighter gloves of the pro ranks, and although he had areas to improve it's clear he's one to watch.
We've seen a number of Uzbek fighters moved quickly through the ranks, and the likes of Israil Madrimov and Bektemir Melikuziev have got themselves on the super fast track to the top. There is no reason that Dusmatov can't follow in their footsteps, be moved aggressively through the professional ranks and find himself in world title bouts by the end of 2020. He has the tools, the amateur experience and the maturity to be moved at a rapid pace, but there is, of course, question marks about his desire. If he wants to move quickly there's no reason why he can't be.
It should be noted that later in his amateur career he did begin to go off the boil, and whilst that could be due him aging we suspect it's more due to a lack of challenge and interest, and hopefully the professional ranks reinvigorate his hunger for success.
Expectations for 2020?
With everything we know about Dusmatov from his days as an amateur we know he can be fast tracked, we know there's very few as skilled as him, and whilst he's not looking a huge 1-punch puncher, like Madrimov and Melikuziev, there is still no reason to hold him back. If we're right, and it's a lack of hunger that caused him to falter late in his amateur career then he needs testing and we expecting to see that in 2020.
Given the depth at 108lbs there's a chance that Dusmatov won't be raced to a title fight there, but it seems like he can make 105lbs and if he can we would expect him to be in the title mix by the end of the year, with a win over a former world title challenger, if not a former champion.
If Dusmatov can squeeze in 3 or 4 next year then he can go in to 2021 as a legitimate title contender.
On the other hand if he, and his team, want to make a statement there's really no reason why they can't look to fast track even quicker, and he could well fight for a world title in the new year, if they feel there's a weaker champion to target.
We expect big things from Dusmatov, and we expect them quickly.
Below we've included Dusmatov's professional debut for those who missed it.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features