FanSided’s 2021 boxing awards and greatest performances

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2021 Prospect of the Year: Xander Zayas

Xander Zayas

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 11: Xander Zayas is victorious as he defeats Alessio Mastronunzio during their jr. middleweight fight at Madison Square Garden on December 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

FanSided’s 2021 boxing awards voters were most split on Prospect of the Year. Xander Zayas, Jared Anderson, Jesus Ramos, Jose Valenzuela, and Diego Pacheco appeared on our ballot. The debate came down to Zayas vs. Anderson.

For context, our definition of ‘prospect’ is an extremely high achieving boxer who has been a professional for four years or less. They need to significantly impact their division and are rated within the top 100 by Additionally, they can’t possess a significant title but are on the verge within the next year or two.

Many felt Anderson was deserving of the award.

“‘Big Baby’ has all of the tools to become a heavyweight champ in the future,” said’s Abe Gonzalez. “He continues to impress, and this year was no different.”

Gonzalez was far from being alone in this opinion. It came down to a two-vote difference, but the 2021 FanSided Prospect of the Year is Xander Zayas.

Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) went 6-0 in his 2021 campaign and notched four KOs. He’s only 19 years old and is climbing the super welterweight rankings at a blistering pace. His innocent smile and punishing hands make him an anomaly to behold. His future is very promising, and he’s more than deserving of this distinction.

“6-0 in 2021 with many coming by way of stoppage,” said journalist and TV commentator Curran Bhatia. “Even more impressive that he’s still a teenager. Motivated and driven young man who has an extremely bright future ahead. Excited to see what he will do next. Consolation prize to Jared Anderson for going 4-0 with 4 KO’s in 2021.”

“Many worth prospects this year, but Xander Zayas’ six dominant wins in 2022 on ESPN pushed him to the top of the pile,” said PR maven Greg Domino. “Zayas is being brought along perfectly and seems positioned to be Puerto Rico’s next star.”

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