Ryan Garcia wins FightNights' 2017 prospect of the year honors

He fought six times in 2017 and won all six of his bouts by knockout. Now, he is FightNights.com's 2017 Prospect of the Year.

The Victorville-born Garcia (13-0, 12 KO's), 19, who compiled a 215-15 amateur record, has already emerged as a future star for Golden Boy Promotions. To some, he already is and could get a world title shot in 2018.

A 27-second knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the vacant NABF Junior super featherweight title in September put Garcia on the map. Carrizoza had never been knocked down until he was clipped with a quick right hand just nine seconds into the fight. The bout resumed, but Garcia sent him right back down with a lead left.

Garcia defended his title in November with a third-round TKO of Cesar Valenzuela and faced adversity for the first time in his career on Dec. 16 when he fought the rugged southpaw Noe Martinez Raygoza on the undercard of Billy Joe Saunders vs. David Lemieux at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.

Garcia struggled to find his range in the opening round as the cagey Raygoza landed combinations to the body and an overhand left. No opponent had been able to do much to Garcia leading up to the fight.

By the second round, however, Garcia cut off the ring and countered Raygoza effectively, and hurt him late with an uppercut. It was a one-sided contest from that point, and Garcia won by eighth-round TKO.

Now, for some honorable mention, as we take a look at four more prospects to look out for in 2018.

2. Regis Prograis (20-0, 17 KO's), 28, of Houston, Texas. Prograis is currently the NABF super lightweight champion and defended his title for the second time in June over the previously undefeated Joel Diaz Jr., who he knocked down four times en-route to a second-round TKO. While he has some defensive flaws, Prograis cuts off the ring effectively, has solid power, and utilizes good head movement to throw off his opponents. When he becomes a world champion, and he will, the fans will show him a lot of love.

3. Josh Taylor (11-0, 10 KO's), 26, of the United Kingdom.

Look out! Taylor turned professional in 2015 after capturing a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and has made quite the impression. Taylor outboxed and forced O'Hara Davies to quit in July with an outstanding performance, and knocked out a very tough Miguel Vazquez with a right to the liver in November. It was the first time that Vazquez had ever been knocked out in his 11-year professional career. Taylor is an all-around solid fighter. He is a precise puncher, blocks shots effectively, and his feints to the body can be devastating. Taylor can get too aggressive at times and has been caught with shots rushing in. However, no one has been able to capitalize.

4. Marcus Browne (20-0, 15 KO's), 27, of New York.

The light heavyweight division is red hot. We have Adonis Stevenson, Badou Jack, Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, Sergey Kovalev, and Sullivan Barrera. Marcus Browne looks to join this battle. He had a very successful 2017 with campaign with knockout victories over Thomas Williams Jr., and the previously undefeated Sean Monaghan. Browne is slick and has a powerful straight left hand, as well as a very stiff jab. He is hard to hit and very elusive. Williams, for instance, found himself charging at Browne, but had little success landing punches, and was eventually iced in the sixth with a big right hook. Besides being a 2012 U.S. Olympian, Browne won two National PAL titles, a U.S. national amateur championship, and was a three-time New York Golden Gloves champion. He returns to the ring on Jan. 20 when he takes on Francy Ntetu (17-1, 4 KO's), 35, of Canada, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

5. Vergil Ortiz (8-0, 8 KO's), 19, of Texas. Trained by the famed Joel Diaz, Ortiz is a seven-time national champion and the winner of the 2013 Junior Olympics with a record of 140-20. Ortiz has so much power, his hand wraps have been examined at least three times to ensure legality. He knocked out Cesar Valenzuela in the second round on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin in September. Valenzuela previously went the distance with Alexis Rocha following a three-year hiatus but was no match for Ortiz, who ripped him with hard jabs and rights to the head, and tremendous body shots. Ortiz capped off the year with a first-round knockout of Evandro Cavalheiro in November

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