ProBox TV's Top Five Prospects of the Year

After impressive performances in 2023, fighters from around the world vie for Prospect of the Year honors.

US-based Abdullah Mason, Cuban fighter Andy Cruz, and Britain's former gold medal-winning boxer Caroline Dubois all excelled throughout the year at various shows, as did the USA's Bruce Carrington, and Ernesto Mercado, who flies the flags of Nicaragua, Mexico, and USA.

Here are ProBox TV's top-5 Prospects of the Year:

5: Ernesto Mercado

Cali-based super lightweight boxer Ernesto Mercado may have only been a pro for two and a half years now, but he's building an intriguing resume that belies his age, 22. 

In 2023 alone, Mercado returned five knockout wins from five fights and has beaten emphatically beaten Jose Angulo, Henry Lundy, Xolisani Ndongeni, Carlos Manuel Portillo, and Jeremia Nakathila.

That win over Nakathila was his most impressive to date as he finished in the second round an opponent who has shared the ring with Shakur Stevenson (over 12 rounds), Miguel Berchelt (lasting six rounds before losing), and also Raymond Muratella (lasting two).

This suggests that Mercado's days as a prospect are over, and he'll likely be competing at the world level in 2024 and beyond.

4: Bruce Carrington

'Shu Shu' Carrington scored the best win of his novice pro career at the end of the year, finishing Jason Sanchez in the second round with shots that could be felt around the Florida arena.

That victory advanced Carrington's record to 10 wins (6 KOs) and, as he told ProBox TV backstage afterwards, put the rest of the featherweight division on notice.

Carrington is rapidly rising up the 126-pound rankings and, judging by the way he's performing already, will prove a handful at the contender level should he graduate from prospect bouts — as he should — in the months and years ahead.

3: Caroline Dubois

The younger sister of resurgent heavyweight boxer Daniel Dubois, Caroline is forging her own impressive path in the women's game having picked up the vacant IBO world lightweight title earlier this year, winning all three of her 2023 bouts, to advance her pro record to 8 wins (5 KOs).

Dubois has stormed to the top of the women's lightweight division in lightning-fast fashion, has shown she is a force to be reckoned with at high levels, and could, in theory, secure mega-fights against the likes of Alycia Baumgardner, Delfine Persoon, Katie Taylor, or Chantelle Cameron, depending on how she's moved.

2: Andy Cruz

Andy Cruz, a decorated fighter who holds amateur wins over Keyshawn Davis, transferred his success to the pro game in 2023 with two considerable wins over Juan Carlos Burgos (who, at the time, had fought 45 pro bouts) in his debut, before scoring a third round finish over Jovanni Straffon (who fought 32 times) in just his second fight.

Promoter Matchroom is moving Cruz at a speed not too disimilar to Vasiliy Lomachenko when the former gold medal magnet turned over to the pro game — and with good reason, as he, too, has an Olympic gold medal to go with his three World Championship wins.

We've seen Cruz's compatriot David Morrell blast his way through the pro ranks in a short space of time and Cruz looks even more equipped to cross over and produce sensational performances than his fellow Cuban.

1: Abdullah Mason

And finally, at No.1, we have ProBox TV's best prospect of the year — Abdullah Mason. 

The Top Rank standout has nine knockouts from 11 wins, is undefeated, and scored five finishes in a row in 2023, aged 19.

The lightweight fighter, who caught the eye of James Prince, could be the next in line to wow crowds much like Jared Anderson and Shakur Stevenson have in recent years.

The southpaw, who has drawn comparisons to Floyd Mayweather, carries a lot of pop in his punches — as his horrific finish over Jose Cardenas will testify.

Mason is well-poised to develop superstar status in the years ahead.

Honorable mentions

Paddy Donovan, Moses Itauma, Najee Lopez, Curmel Moton, David Picasso, Lauren Price, Floyd Schofield, Hayato Tsutsumi, Ben Whittaker, Galal Yafai, and DJ Zamora.