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!
Lap Cheong Cheong
22 (Lap turns 23 later this month)
One thing we expected to see a lot more of in 2019 was boxing building on certain emerging markets. Whilst that did happen in some ways, notably in Vietnam, it didn't really jump in the way we had expected. Despite that certain lesser renowned countries do have fighters who can act as figure heads in their growth. One such fighter is Lap Cheong Cheong, who could very easily be the face of boxing in Macau. He's a really exciting Flyweight who has answered a lot of new questions in 2019 and we expect to see him continue to show what he can do in 2020, and promoters could easily look to build the Macau scene around him. Heading into 2019 he was 5-0 (4) but has since proven his stamina with 2 decisions wins over 6 rounds, and shown he can keep a break neck pace over the distance. With that in mind 2020 should be the year that we see him going 8 rounds and potentially facing off with someone of a known quantity, perhaps a naturally smaller Thai foe.
Expectations for 2020?
Whilst Cheong Cheong is a long long way from a bout for a respect regional title, either the OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title, there's no real reason why he can't pick up some lesser titles. Given that he's in his early 20's there's no reason why his team can't direct him to a WBO Youth Oriental title or the WBC Youth for example. Something like that would give him a chance to fight over 10 rounds, allow him to test himself against a fighter coming to win and really show what he has in the locker.
Sadly an issue with Cheong Cheong will be financial backing, however Macau it's self is relatively wealthy and if a boxing promoter in Asia feels like breaking into the country and backing a show or two he does have drawing power. Fingers crossed someone sees it and helps the talented youngster to develop his very exciting skillset.
For those who haven't seen Lap Cheong Cheong we've included his May 2019 bout with Muhammad Wahid 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