Irish boxer Michael Conlan has spoken on what referee Kheira Sidi Yakoub said to him during his controversial fight with Russian Vladimir Nikitin in this year's Olympics. The disgraceful decision that saw Conlan robbed of a chance to win an Olympic medal at this year's games - has sparked widespread disgust from sports fans across the globe. Speaking to Ger Gilroy…
Who Will Be Boxing’s Next Superstar?
Becoming a mega star in a sport takes more than just skill, hard work and talent. It’s that almost intangible, undefinable quality that can lead an athlete to crossing over into mainstream media. Who’ll be boxing’s next superstar out of the current batch?
It’s a question perhaps similar to asking how long is a piece of string?
One that probably no one can accurately project given the volatility of a sport like boxing, where passion and human spirit often have a funny way of trumping conventional logic.
But that’s why we love it.
A sport where a single hard blow can derail a dream instantaneously. Stars also take time to develop and don’t happen overnight.
Floyd Mayweather used to struggle to sell out arenas for a large portion of his pro career back in the day.
It wasn’t really until the Oscar De La Hoya fight in 2007 that his star was launched and appearances on things like ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and on WWE wrestling ensued.
It’s surprising how often people overlook this. It seems like it happens over night, but the reality is far different.
Lets take a look at some of the names coming through at the moment as potential new stars in the sweet science era we live in.
Just to premise this list, these are just a handful of potential future superstars of the sport. There’s obviously a whole lot of others too (like Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman and more – honorable mentions) but I’ve decided to keep the list brief for the purpose of this particular article.
A heavyweight in the UK with cross over appeal. A big hitter in the ring with an exciting style. An approachable, friendly young man outside of it.
He’s already built up a significant social media following consisting of millions of fans. After winning a version of the heavyweight title early on in his career he is well on track to becoming a big star.
With promotional clout and a big broadcaster in Sky Sports behind him, he’ll certainly be ‘pushed’ anyway.
Golovkin’s star has been built gradually in recent years. A fighter who needs to be involved in bigger fights on a regular basis to help his brand grow however.
An excellent role model outside the ring, with this public image seeing him secure endorsements from major blue chip sponsors like Apple and the Jordan brand.
However, Golovkin turns 35 next year. He will need to get the big fights soon at middleweight if his star and pay per view attraction in the sport is to get anywhere near the level of a Mayweather or Pacquiao in the next few years.
Errol Spence Jr
They say if you’re going to make it big in boxing you have to make it big in America. Many are tipping this young man as the next great American boxer of his generation.
A welterweight with skills to burn but also an exciting style to watch. A fighter that also has an exciting killer instinct in the ring that can finish fights in the blink of an eye.
With network television promotional clout behind him over the coming years he could be a dark horse for boxing’s next big star.
Canelo has been widely tipped as boxing’s next superstar since Floyd Mayweather ‘retired’ last year. But like Golovkin he needs more big fights for this to happen in the coming years.
Unlike Golovkin however, the Mexican has time on his side at 26 years of age and is already a bigger star than Golovkin is in the States.
Internationally however Golovkin is catching up and could be argued in Europe at least, is the bigger name now.
There is no doubting the potential of Canelo as a future world boxing star though. You only have to look at his recent ability to bring over 50,000 fans out to in attendance to a live bout with Liam Smith in Texas.
An exciting young fighter with an all action style who continues to improve. Canelo’s star will only continue to grow.
Prospects such as Shakur Stevenson and Michael Conlan
From a big picture perspective, there’s also some even newer emerging stars coming into the pro ranks to look forward to after the 2016 Olympics.
Two that stand out for me, who were rivals in the amateurs and potential future foes in the pros – are American Shakur Stevenson and Irishman Michael Conlan.
Both fighters with tremendous amateur pedigree and buckets of talent. If history is anything to go by in boxing the fact both missed out on an Olympic Gold medal should not deter them in their prizefighting careers.
Motivation will not be a problem for these two future stars.