With this weekend’s bouts winding down (I was only about 50% on my predictions this week, so the bouts were more interesting than I expected!), I wanted to highlight a few boxers to watch from the Virginia/Maryland region. These fighters- while rough around the edges in some areas- show great promise and potential to become high caliber boxers. I want to preface this list by saying that the mentioned pugilists should take their time in developing and not let pressure from the fans force them into a position before their skill and confidence level is ready.
- Dusty Hernandez-Harrison: The 21 year old D.C. native is an embodiment of the phrase “young veteran”. At such a young age, Harrison already has a record of 29 fights, 29 wins with 16 by knockout. He turned professional at the age of 17, bringing with him a wealth of amateur experience, including several youth national titles. The amateur experience has served him well in the professional ranks, allowing several performances in which he outclassed much more experienced boxers. The 6 foot tall Harrison started his career in the welterweight division, but now looks to be growing into the junior middleweight class, with a current national ranking of 25 and world ranking of 113. He has a stern test in front of him this Friday (May 13, 2016) against Mike Dallas Jr. (21-3-1 10KO). Dallas’ losses are all against higher echelon opponents including Josesito Lopez, Mauricio Herrera and Lucas Matthysse. Harrison’s performance against Dallas could prove that he deserves to be mentioned in the higher rankings. Watch the fight live Friday night on BET.
- Immanuwel Aleem: Aleem is coming off a career best performance in April, defeating the rugged knockout artist Jonathan Cepeda by unanimous decision. In the fight, he showed discipline and grit, bringing the fight to the dangerous Cepeda, while not abandoning his defense to the point of being at risk. The bout was extremely entertaining, with neither fighter backing down. With the win, the 22 year old middleweight moves to 16-0 with 9 knockouts, and gains a national ranking of 33 and a world ranking of 107.
- Thomas Williams Jr.: The Maryland based Williams Jr. scored an impressive knock out over highly ranked Edwin Rodriguez on April 30th and now should find himself in contention for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC Light Heavyweight World Title. While Williams’ conditioning looked suspect, his power was obvious and effective. The knockout was impressive considering Rodriguez’s only other loss is to undefeated Andre Ward. Stevenson is getting up there in age at 38 years old, giving Williams the youth advantage by 10 years, but trading punches with Stevenson is a daring idea, even for the most granite-chinned of fighters. With the proper conditioning to go into deep rounds without being completely exhausted, I like Williams’ chances in the fight. With his win over Rodriguez, Williams Jr. moves to 20-1 with 14 knockouts, a national ranking of 2, and world ranking of 13.
These are just a few of the pugilists in the talent pool of the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region. There are quite a few more contenders showing promise and I hope to cover them in upcoming articles. Do you know of any local talent that you think deserves to be on the watch list in the D/M/V area? Comment below, or let me know on Twitter @TheGreatToddMan.