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!
Yudai Shigeoka (1-0, 1)
We've been massively impressed by Japanese youngster Ginjiro Shigeoka, who has managed to race to his first professional title in just 4 bouts and looks likely to be fighting for a world title sooner rather than later. What also needs to be noted however is that his older brother is also one exceptionally talented prospect, and a man who looks like he could be raced to a title just as quickly as his younger brother. As well as being slightly older Yudai is the naturally bigger man, and whilst Ginjiro looks like he has the power to move up one or two weights Yudai has the height to go with that power, and there's no reason why can't make a mark on Flyweight and Super Flyweight in the years to come.
Having only debuted in October 2019, and that was at the very end of the month, it might be a touch too soon to declare Yudai Shigeoka as a true one to watch in 2020, though we suspect he will win a title of some kind next year, but he's planning to be fast tracked and sources are reporting that his second bout will take place in December against OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante, albeit in a 6 round non-title bout. On debut he really impressed with great variety, fantastic body shots and he showed touches of genius. If that continues, he should manage to take a decision of Dante and then kick on in the new year with 8 and 10 rounders as he follows in his little brothers big shadow.
Expectations for 2020?
As mentioned in the "Why" section of this article we expect to see Shigeoka moving into 8 and 10 round bouts in early 2020, and chasing his first titles. Given that he's currently rumoured to be facing Dante in a 6 rounder we wouldn't be surprised at a rematch in mid to late 2020 for an OPBF belt, and notably the Watanabe gym could end up having the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champions at 105lbs by the end of 2020.
The key has to be to test Shigeoka in 2020, not rush him to a world title fight, but get him good quality rounds, test his ability to take a shot, find out what he's like when he's forced to call on his defense, and whether he can tidy up the little holes he showed on his debut. He was a top amateur, and the plan had been for him to chase an Olympic position, before he decided to turn pro and his amateur experience will allow Watanabe to push him to the moon sooner rather than later.
A real question regarding Shigeoka's future is whether he's happy to share honours at 105lbs with his brother or weather he's going to add an extra couple of pounds and join the shark infested waters at Light Flyweight.
Sadly due to Shigeoka's debut being shown exclusively on Boxing Raise we can't share his debut.
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