August 7, 2020, 15:38

NXTGEN: Darren Barker runs the rule over Conor Benn, Lawrence Okolie, Joshua Buatsi and more

NXTGEN: Darren Barker runs the rule over Conor Benn, Lawrence Okolie, Joshua Buatsi and more

With the latest edition of NXTGEN taking place at the home of boxing, York Hall, who better than former world champion Darren Barker to run the rule over the seven young stars in action…

Live Nxtgen Boxing

September 1, 2017, 7:45pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Joshua Buatsi

He’s a great fighter. I remember watching him in the Olympics and thinking he’s going to be a great addition to the professional ranks. He’s exciting, explosive and he’s got very quick hands. He’s definitely someone I’m looking forward to watching and with that style he’ll put bums on seats for sure. I see a great future for Buatsi and I will be keeping a close eye on his career.

Joe Cordina

I think Joe is the one to watch out of all of the main standouts. He’s so impressive in the gym where he really lives up to his name as the Welsh Wizard. He’s got quick hands and he’s so explosive. He’s working with my old trainer Tony Sims, who rates him highly, and he’s a great man manager. When you’ve got a fighter like Cordina who is technically sound and got all the skills, sometimes they just need someone who is going to put an arm around them and get the best out of them.

Lawrence Okolie

He’s a pure knockout specialist and a great finisher as well. I like the rawness to him because it makes him exciting. He probably isn’t as polished as the others coming through, which isn’t a criticism of him, it’s just the way he fights. He’s quite unorthodox in some ways but for me he’s very exciting and he’s got a few more first round knockouts to come.

Felix Cash

He is another one in Tony’s stable and he’s a fighter who I rate highly. I love his confidence in his own ability, he’s very sure of himself and again he’s someone who does things by the book. He doesn’t make any silly mistakes and because he’s come through the GB squad he’s a well-rounded fighter. I think he can progress and go a long way. He’s just one of a long line of very talented fighters coming through. The future is so bright.

Conor Benn

I think he has it the hardest out of all of them because of his dad. I think there’s pressure on him but it seems as if he is enjoying it. He’s carrying his dad’s legacy with him and I think he still has a lot of learning to do because he hasn’t got the amateur pedigree that the other guys have. He’s learning all the fundamental skills now as he is going along and is a step behind a lot of them. He knows that but there’s no reason why he can’t be as good as them all, either.

Ted Cheeseman

Ted’s a great fighter and he’s got an old head on young shoulders. He’s so professional in his approach and he leaves no stone unturned in his preparation. When Tony finishes doing his pad and bag stuff with him he can leave Ted and he knows he’ll do his circuit training and put the extra miles in. When you take into account his talent as a boxer coupled with his work ethic, I think he could be one of our shining stars.

Jake Ball

He’s come back from that JJ McDonagh defeat and he looks to have put it behind him. He’s tall, rangy and he can punch but what I like best is, he seems to have a very good boxing brain. Sometimes when fighters suffer these surprise losses they never get over it but Ball just looks hungry and wants get back to contending for titles. Couple the mistakes and the willingness to learn that he’s got, I think he will be an even better fighter.

Tell us what you think of the future stars of British boxing. If you are using you can comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.

Watch the NXTGEN card involving Buatsi, Okolie, Benn, Cordina and more, live from York Hall on Friday, via our live stream and Facebook live and on Sky Sports Action, from 7.45pm.


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