The Ten Fighters To Watch Signed To The Mid-Major Promoters in 2021

We’ve covered the major promoters, but now we decided to list the ten fighters signed to promoters or promotions that do not get the same exposure as the major four promoters of, Top Rank, PBC, Golden Boy, and Matchroom.

Here are the the top-10 fighters to watch in this category.

01. Canelo Alvarez / Canelo Promotions

A bit of cheating I know, but Canelo Alvarez, the sports biggest star has yet to choose a place which he will call home once he leaves Golden Boy Promotions, but for now – he is his own boss, and able to function where he wants. For those who have watched boxing for some time might say this is out of Roy Jones Jr.’s playbook.

Alvarez is the biggest name in the sport, and the fighter of the decade, who is the direct transition from the stardom of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to Canelo Alvarez, who has largely carried the sport this decade, when others faltered, was inactive or didn’t take on the onus, to grow the sport. 

Canelo is bigger than boxing, and no matter who he fights it is an event. Canelo, and Fury are the two fighters who have transcended the sport.  

02. Claressa Shields / Salita Promotions / PFL

Claressa Shields will probably retire as the most decorated and accomplished women’s boxer ever, as she is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and unified world titles unlike others. That being said, boxing hasn’t caught up to the times, and women’s boxing still offers small paydays compared to their MMA counterparts, which no fault of Shields’ management, or promoters, as Shields’ dominance has made people assume she would win a bout rather than go along for the ride.

Shields now is training with Jackson/Winkeljohn in New Mexico, as she is transitioning to MMA with one of the acclaimed MMA teams in the history of the sport. Shields will build herself up to a mega-fight with a women who is viewed as the future of women’s MMA in Kayla Harrison.

In short, a lot to watch with the talented boxer, who will be in-and-out of the sport next year, but will be must-see-tv.

03. Jaron “Boots” Ennis / D & D Promotions

The fighting pride of Philly, and the youngest of three boxing sons of “Bozy” Ennis, as his two older brothers, Derek is better known as “Pooh”, and Farah were good boxers in their own right.

Ennis has shown aspects of Roy Jones Jr. with a Matrix-like ability to avoid punches coming. The only thing fight fans want to see is…Ennis in with the higher competition. 

Chris Van Heerden is a great step-up as he has been a formidable force in South Africa boxing, but also been one of the most respected gyms in the Wild Card Boxing Gym for years. 

Ennis has all the making of the star, but words don’t define stardom, actions do. Look for Ennis to inch closer to a world title shot in the popular welterweight division.

Ennis has wisdom, talent, and god-given abilities combined into one, along with a family that has been in the boxing business for generations. If all things remain the same, Ennis should get his moment.

04.“Bam” Rodriguez / Teiken Promotions

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez is like the Criterion Collection choice of boxers. A very talented fighter, fighting at the flyweight division, Rodriguez is something special – but will be overlooked by some just based on his size and stature, as the purist more so be drawn to the lower weights.

Rodriguez, who at times has looked like a young “Finito” Lopez, with the experience of seeing what “Finito” Lopez had accomplished, and the world seeing after getting two major spots on Top Rank cards in the past year. Rodriguez made the most of them, recording a first-round knockout of Janiel Rivera, and a second-round knockout of Saul “Baby” Juarez – not very common at the lower weights might I add.

Rodriguez, who is trained by the legendary Southern California trainer, Robert Garcia, and is also the brother of WBA super flyweight world champion, Joshua Franco.

Rodriguez is everything people tell you to watch in a smaller fighter, skillful, great movement, and high volume.

So watch him.

05. Charles Conwell / DiBella Entertainment

The best-kept secret in boxing, Charles Conwell – a massive 154 lbs fighter, who fights like an old-timer who looks to break opponents down using the Soul City Boxing Gym-style out of Toledo, Ohio, run by Otha Jones II and his son Roshawn Jones.

Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is the modern-day tough guy with talent, not unlike a Joe Frazier, or fighters in that ilk. Conwell doesn’t just box guys, he fights them and often takes them into places they don’t want to go. Conwell is relentless and thrives on his opponent’s frustration.

For the first four years of Conwell’s career, he fought on undercards, making brief appearances on television on only here and there, but has moved up to a main-event fighter in his last three fights, with his last fight being a notable stoppage win over Madiyar Ashkeyev, an undefeated fighter signed to Main Events, on Ring City USA, broadcast via NBC Sports Network.

Conwell is an American fighter under-the-radar, ready to emerge.

06. Brandun Lee / D & D Promotions

Brandun Lee will always have an infinity with me since he is from a place I was raised in, Yuba City, California.

Lee, trained by his father, Bobby Lee, is a hard-hitting action fighter, who has 19 KOs, in 21 professional fights, competing at the 140 lbs division.

Lee is respected by all in the gyms around me and often brought up as a decorated amateur whom all hold in high regard. Being with a smaller promoter, Lee has developed off-television until recently, in which Showtime has taken interest in him, and “Boots” Ennis, who are with the same management, Cameron Dunkin.

Lee should be in the running for a world title soon, especially if Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor fight, and the winner of that bout vacates the belt to fight at welterweight against Terence Crawford.

Lee seems like the perfect person to fight in a title eliminator or for a vacant title, when that occurs.

07. Namayoshi Nakatani / Teiken Promotions

I have only seen Namayoshi Nakatani fight twice, and both bouts were brutal. Potentially one of the best chins in boxing taking both the power from Teofimo Lopez, and Felix Verdejo, two of the generationalnal power punchers of this era.

Nakantani makes the list as he was the final nail in the coffin of Felix Verdejo’s run as a true A-side, getting off the canvas twice, to stop Veredjo late in the fight.

Nakatani, who after the fight seemed very hair conscious might I add, is a tall fighter at 135 lbs division, that has no quit in him, and his punches accumulate overtime making him viable to stop foes late – not very common at the highest level of the sport.

Nakatani will be a proving ground for lightweights of the future.

08. Ruben Torres / Thompson Boxing

140 lbs Ruben “Ace” Torres is a rising prospect in the sport of boxing, being built organically by Thompson Boxing and his head coach and manager, Danny Zamora.

Torres has already defeated an undefeated prospect in George Acosta, and now is beating veteran guys, who have faced high-level opposition. Torres is nearing the point of potentially graduating from the Thompson Boxing cards and going on to fight on bigger platforms like fellow Thompson Boxing fighter, Daniel Roman, is doing currently, as well as Ruben Villa did via ShoBox, and his world title fight with Emanuel Navarrete.

Torres is a rangy fighter with good power, but also a well-respected gym guy, working with Arnold Barboza Jr., and a stablemate of Michael Dutchover, Torres feels to be a L.A.-fighter that can really be something.

I mean, when Ring Magazine, Editor-In-Chief, Dougie Fischer, compares you to Josesito Lopez, that is pretty darn good, since he has watched a lot of fights.

09. Jamaine Ortiz / CES Boxing

Jamaine Ortiz is signed to CES Boxing, and recently Ortiz recently got some shine on the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr undercard, showcasing his skills.

Ortiz draws in female fans with his look, as well as impresses fight fans with his skills. Ortiz currently is in a great division, the lightweight division, in which a ton of young fighters need dancing partners.

Ortiz has the talent, and skills, now it’ll just come down to the right opportunity for him. Ortiz could be as good as the situation he finds himself in, but one thing is for sure, Ortiz is skilled and talented. If someone brought up Ortiz in a phone conversation, he’d get the highest praise you can give someone when asking about a fighter, from me.

“Yup, he’s good!”

10. Manuel Jaimes / Toscano Boxing Promotions

Manuel Jaimes, who is signed to Northern California upstart, Toscano Boxing Promotions, run by Jorge Toscano, with assistance from Israel Guajardo, has developed a solid fighter, who is now a world-class one in only in 11 fights.

Manuel Jaimes, who is trained by Steve Salas, out of the Stockton PYA Gym, has fought all, but one fight with the Stockton-based promoter, as the Stockton-native himself recently won the WBC youth super featherweight title.

Jaimes is a cardio-freak with a tremendous endurance that forces others to have met his output and action-packed style.

11. Evgeny Shvedenko

Evgeny Shvedenko is a gym work horse, who is managed by Maxim Michailew, and trained by Eddie Croft in San Mateo, Ca.

Today, Shvedenko won the WBC International super middleweight title to put him into the top-fifteen of a division that has Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant, David Benavidez, Demetrius Andrade, amongst others.

Shevedenko is a thinking-man’s volume puncher, with a high output, and a style that is not common for European fighters. There is great belief that Shvedenko could be a special fighter.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle