Vargas is one of 2023’s Prospects of the Year, Zayas says

MIAMI: Former Prospect of the Year winner Xander Zayas lauds Top Rank stablemates Emiliano Vargas and Abdullah Mason as 2023's best novice boxers.

"There's a lot of guys I want to say, but Vargas and also Mason are two who are really really coming up," Zayas told ProBox TV days before he returns to the ring Saturday for his own super welterweight fight against Jorge Fortea.

"They are active, and looking good in every fight," said Zayas. "And those two names are thhe best names that come into my head when we're talking prospects right now."

Zayas, 21, earned the best prospect honor in 2021 after he won six fights that year — four of which were by knockout.

This year Vargas, 19, has also won six fights — but five those have been via KO.

He scored perhaps one of the most impressive victories most recently when he defeated Brandon Mendoza in the second round of a Las Vegas fight mid-November, showing off a fluid movement and skillset.

"My goal is to be one of the top prospects and continue to put on impressive performances," Vargas told ProBox TV at the time.

"I'm looking for a step up in competition in 2024," he finished.

Zayas, meanwhile, fights his final bout of the year Saturday, when he collides with Spanish fighter Fortea at the new Charles F. Dodge City Center arena in Pembroke Pines.

"Vargas and Mason are really adjusting to the into the pregame really quick, and they're enjoying it. They train hard and look good every time, man," Zayas told us.

"So I feel like those two guys are at the top of any Prospect of the Year list."

The Zayas vs. Fortea fight is the co-main event before Robeisy Ramirez and Rafael Espinoza battle for the WBO featherweight world title — a show that airs on ESPN+.