Over the last few years we've seen a number of young fighters making a mark on the sport with many moving between “prospect” and “champion” at an alarming rate. The speed with which fighters like Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka have become world champions have seen the term “prospect” change slightly. Despite that there are still plenty of fighters who are still prospects, and here we take a look at our 2016 Prospect of the Year.
For us the decision to pick a particular prospect was very tough. On paper the man who accomplished the most, whilst remaining a “prospect” was Takuma Inoue (6-0, 1). Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya, fought twice claiming and defending the OPBF Super Flyweight title. The 20 year old claimed the OPBF title in his first bout of the year, taking a clear decision over Mark Anthony Geraldo in July, and defended it against Rene Dacquel in December.
On paper those two wins were excellent, even if the youngster himself wasn't happy with either performance. Both saw him show flaws, drop off in the middle of fights and, in both, he was the clear betting favourite.
Despite feeling that Takuma the most of any prospect this year, he's not actually our prospect of the year. That honour instead belongs to Daigo Higa (8-0, 8), pictured with Kenya Yamashita who didn't at the same level of Inoue but did show a more sizeable improvement in his performances and “proved” himself more compared to what he had done in the past.
was a skilled fighter, wins over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Daniel Nestor Narvaez in 2014 proved that he was special. Higa however had fought just 4 rounds prior to the start of 2015 and yet ended up proving his ability to fight 10 high paced rounds.
We suspect it'll be a controversial choice but for us Higa has outshined the likes of Iwan Zoda (8-1, 7), Ken Shiro (6-0, 3), Mark Magsayo (12-0, 10), Riku Kano (8-1-1, 4) and Hinata Maruta (1-0), who in our eyes claimed the most impressive single win of any prospect in consideration for this honour.
(Image thanks to Kenya Yamashita)
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