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Jared Anderson and boxing’s best heavyweights age 25 and under

Jared Anderson returns Saturday and has built real buzz as a future heavyweight star, and there are other young names around the world who might be there with him in a few years.

Richard Torrez Jr, Jared Anderson, and Daniel Dubois are among today’s top young heavyweights
Richard Torrez Jr, Jared Anderson, and Daniel Dubois are among today’s top young heavyweights
Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images

Boxing’s heavyweight division, even it is most boring and darkest periods, is always a glory division. There is a constant hunt across the world for great heavyweights, because “the world heavyweight boxing champion” — even though there are upwards of four to six people claiming that at a given time now — still means something in culture, and probably always will as long as there is boxing.

I wouldn’t really call this a darker time for the division, though it is becoming a frustrating one at the moment. What’s fairly clear is when you look at the ages of the top names, it is an aging division, and the need for fresh stars will be there sooner than later.

Tyson Fury is 34. Oleksandr Usyk is 36. Anthony Joshua is 33, Deontay Wilder is 37. Andy Ruiz Jr, who might still be a professional boxer, is 33. Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce are 40 and 37, respectively.

There are younger guys who may be of more immediate concern: Filip Hrgovic (31), Frank Sanchez (30), Martin Bakole (30), and Bakhodir Jalolov (28) may get top cracks before the guys we’ll talk about today, but we’re trying to look at the REAL! youth, those currently 25 and under, as we project a ways down the road.

These are the fighters who should be hitting the beginning of their prime years, if things work out, when this old guard is truly ready to leave the stage.

Jared Anderson

  • Age: 23
  • Record: 14-0 (14 KO)
  • Nationality: United States

Anderson returns to action on Saturday in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, stepping it up a bit against former titleholder Charles Martin (29-3-1, 26 KO), a late notice replacement for Zhan Kossobutskiy, but a good late notice replacement. A big, experienced southpaw with some power, Martin represents more danger than Jerry Forrest or George Arias.

“The Real Big Baby” can probably just use “Big Baby” now, as Jarrell Miller has been disgraced, irrelevant, and now largely ignored for almost five years. He’s not picture perfect all the time — for instance, Forrest landed some wild shots on him. Sure, that fight only lasted two rounds and Anderson put the thump on his veteran opponent but good, all in all, but these are things worth noticing. While Jerry Forrest didn’t have the power to really damage Anderson with those shots, Martin might, and someone better than Martin really will.

But Top Rank and ESPN huge on Anderson, and it’s not hard to understand why. Not only is he a big, powerful, skilled American heavyweight, and possibly a worthy successor to Deontay Wilder’s throne as the biggest U.S. name in the division, but he’s got a lot of personality, presents himself with flair and flash, and can talk a little bit. He has the look of a serious contender and title threat down the line.

Daniel Dubois

  • Age: 25
  • Record: 19-1 (18 KO)
  • Nationality: United Kingdom

The only guy named with a loss, but also the only guy named who has fought someone really good. Dubois took an L to Joe Joyce in late 2020, fighting in a “bubble” in London, because he got his eye socket fractured.

There was some call that Dubois was some type coward for not finishing the fight, but that’s to be expected. It’s boxing. It doesn’t seem to have gotten to him too badly, and after returning seven months later, he’s rattled off four straight wins.

In his last two, he really got back in the game. Dubois went to Miami and smashed the badly over-matched Trevor Bryan in June 2022, finally ending Don King’s absurd grip on the WBA’s secondary “world” (“regular”) title. But there were reasons to raise eyebrows again this past December, when Dubois appeared to hurt his leg and was dropped three times in the first round against Kevin Lerena, a small-ish heavyweight and really a cruiserweight by trade. He did rally for a TKO-3 win, putting Lerena down twice, but if you’re gonna notice Anderson getting hit a little clean by Jerry Forrest, you gotta notice that.

Dubois, to me, looks like a good-but-not-great heavyweight, but he is still young and that potential may be there to tighten things up and become a top guy. Wladimir Klitschko got actually stopped by Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster before he truly hit his stride at age 29 or so.

Right now, Dubois appears headed for a mandatory shot at Oleksandr Usyk, possibly in August, but it is now June 30 and that hasn’t been made official, either. That does look like the fight that will happen, it’s now a matter of when and where.

Johnny Fisher

  • Age: 24
  • Record: 9-0 (8 KO)
  • Nationality: United Kingdom

“The Romford Bull” has gained some buzz on Matchroom undercards largely, being honest, because he and his boisterous dad sell a good amount of tickets to any fight show he’s on, which has seen Johnny pushed up cards into slots usually reserved for bigger matchups.

He’s also still very raw, though both he and promoter Eddie Hearn have always been aware that this is a learning period for the big bruiser, and there has been no attempt to have him call out top names or be overly brash about his ability. Hearn, too, speaks realistically about Fisher’s standing in the division and where he’s at. This is not a rocket ship to the top, this is an attempt to build something.

So it’s a fight-by-fight situation with Fisher. Maybe he keeps improving. Maybe not. But he’s got size and some raw power, and a certain charisma that comes naturally and is clearly inherited. Gut feeling is he probably tops out at domestic level, but if he goes down at some point, you figure it’ll be swinging.

Justis Huni

  • Age: 24
  • Record: 7-0 (4 KO)
  • Nationality: Australia

6’4” and about 240, Huni is right about on par for notable heavyweights today. Some are taller, some are heavier, but on average that’s probably about the norm. It’s not “too small” and it’s not massive. I mean, it is massive, in regular everyday life, but we’re not talking regular everyday life.

Huni won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Yekaterinburg. After turning pro in Oct. 2020 with a win over 15-fight veteran Faiga Opelu, Huni has won his first seven fights — including a press-notable TKO of Paul Gallen — before signing with Matchroom in February.

Not to overrate modern amateur experience, which is a thing that consistently befalls TV analysts who never actually watch any modern amateur boxing, Huni on-paper has the amateur experience most of these fighters don’t, and that can be a big base. On the other hand, he doesn’t look he has the power of an Anderson or Dubois, maybe even not that of a Fisher. Huni could be a wild card; when you watch him, he doesn’t jump off the screen, like, “Wow! There’s a future champ!” But he has ability. Branching out and fighting outside of Australia will tell us more.

Moses Itauma

  • Age: 18
  • Record: 3-0 (2 KO)
  • Nationality: United Kingdom

The youngest notable name, the #teen Itauma is the younger brother of light heavyweight prospect Karol, who was hyped up before losing a step-up to Ezequiel Maderna in January, and is now on the career rehab path for the time being. At 22, Karol still has time to prove it.

The 18-year-old Moses turned pro the same night — and after — his brother was knocked out, and he went out and did his job in 23 seconds all the same. It took him 35 seconds in his second fight in March, but then he got a proper scrappy journeyman in April, going a full six with Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko. It was clear Itauma wasn’t aiming for a stoppage in that fight, never pressing. This might be at least an orange flag to people unfamiliar with British boxing, and I’m not saying it’s a genius idea, but it was the assignment that night, and not unusual for the place and style.

Itauma is well-liked at Queensberry, and not just because, y’know, they signed him, but they clearly see a real future in the big youngster. He’s about 6’5” or so, has weighed in just shy of 250 in his first three fights, and his body’s going to change in the next few years as he adds the man-strength that may help him go through the gears with greater spitefulness. It’s way too early to make even a cautious call on this kid, but he’s worth some attention.

Antonio Mireles

  • Age: 25
  • Record: 7-0 (6 KO)
  • Nationality: United States

Boxing’s “El Gigante” is not a basketball player who just doesn’t have NBA skills so he turns to the squared circle, it’s a 6’9” dude from Iowa!

Managed by David McWater, Mireles turned pro in Oct. 2021, and has been on Top Rank undercards each time out so far. Being totally honest, Mireles has looked very much like a project bordering on a gimmick, and got dropped and nearly upset last time out against Patrick Mailata on Mar. 25 in Fresno. Now granted, Mireles isn’t gonna fight a lot of 6’6”, 320 lb Samoans, but he was also down against 6’1”, 235 lb novice Kaleel Carter last August in San Diego.

Like Johnny Fisher, Mireles is a work in progress, but unlike Fisher, he’s had some actual struggles already, and against low-level opposition. If you watch Top Rank shows, you’re gonna see him, so he’s worth a note there, but I’d consider it an upset if Mireles becomes a legit contender.

Richard Torrez Jr

  • Age: 24
  • Record: 5-0 (5 KO)
  • Nationality: United States

Don’t be fooled by his comedy mustache, he’s a real prospect. Another name from the Top Rank roster, Torrez is the smallest guy here, as the Tulare, Calif., native scales at 6’2” and has weighed between 222¼ and 229½.

Torrez won silver at the Tokyo Olympics, losing in the final to the excellent Bakhodir Jalolov, the Uzbek who was simply a class above the field. Though small for the division these days, this is a fighter with boxing in his blood, as his grandfather and father were both boxers, and Richard Sr was a standout amateur, winning Golden Gloves and reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Olympic trials in 1984, back when that meant a fair bit more than it does now.

In Tokyo, Torrez ended a U.S. medal-less streak at super heavyweight that dated back to Riddick Bowe’s silver in 1988.

So far as a pro, it’s really hard to tell for sure what Torrez is or isn’t, but he’s easily done the jobs he’s been given, let’s put it that way. He’s way beyond the level of the five fighters he’s faced thus far, and really, Top Rank could probably step on the gas a little. This is a polished fighter who isn’t getting much out of brutalizing guys in 44 seconds.

Torrez’s size is a potential issue, no question. He simply is small compared to most of the top heavyweights, and with respect to him, he does not have Oleksandr Usyk-level skills; few do. But “talented and tough” can keep you in the race with bigger guys. We are all terrified that Top Rank will use Torrez to legitimize the WBC’s nonsense “bridgerweight” division, but I get the feeling Torrez wants to be a real heavyweight and go after a title that has any sort of legacy, history, or meaning.

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