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!
Iskander Kharsan (7-0, 6)
Kazakhstan has had a real star over the last decade or so in Gennady Golovkin, but "GGG" is very much on the back end of his career and the search for the next Kazakh star is very much rife. There are several clear contenders as the next face of Kazakh boxing, including Sadriddin Akhmedov and Ali Akhmedov, but the country has plenty of other supporting fighters, including talented youngster Iskander Kharsan. The Kazakh born-US based Super Bantamweight hopeful has been slowly making a name for himself among hardcore fans and looks set to have a break out fight in the next year or two. He has been stepping up his competition in recent bouts, and his best wins have come in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and we'd expect that to continue in 2020, though we don't expect him to make a huge mark next year, with the 22 year old likely to be given another year or two to develop into a genuine fringe contender. There is a chance he will out grow the 122lb weight class by the time he's ready for a big fight, but even if that happens we suspect he will settle in perfectly at Featherweight, given his psychical size.
Expectations for 2020?
With just 24 professional rounds under his belt we don't expect Kharsan to be fast tracked in 2020, however we do expect to see him tested and face better opponents than he has so far. We'd like to see the unbeaten youngster taken deeper into bouts, and whilst he has gone 8 rounds once there's no reason to hold him off from 10 rounders in 2020.
If Kharsan can get a 10 rounder under his belt in the new year then there's every chance he'll be able to go in 2021 with the idea of facing fringe contenders or former challengers and by the end of '21 he could well find himself in the mix for a title fight. The focus for 2020 however needs to be building his experience, testing his stamina, testing his mental toughness and finding out what he can do against better fighters. He looked really good in stopping Isidro Ochoa in September and now needs to kick on from that win.
For those who haven't seen Kharsan in action before we've included his March bout against Jaba Memishishi below.
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