The Beltway Boxing Rookie of the Year for 2014 is:
Lamont Roach, Jr. (5-0, two KO's), lightweight, Upper Marlboro, MD
The 19-year-old Roach came into the pro game with impressive amateur credentials, winning the 2013 National Golden Gloves and the USA Nationals along with the capture of a bronze medal at the Klitschko Brothers tournament in the Ukraine.
The amateur pedigree truly impressed Golden Boy Promotions who signed him prior to making his pro debut. That initial pro outing would come on April 19 at the DC Armory on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov championship bout. Roach would pitch a four-round shutout over Victor Galindo.
Roach hit the road in his second contest and defeated Miguel Antonio Rodriguez in the first round on June 5 in Boston, MA after Rodriguez hurt his shoulder and could not continue.
Roach's toughest battle was on September 6 on the undercard of Adrian Broner's bout with Emanuel Taylor in Cincinnati, OH. Roach won a four-round majority decision over Rocco Espinosa.
Roach would finish his first year with two dominant performances -- a first-round TKO over Rafael Francis on October 30 in Plymouth, MA and a four-round shutout over Alexander Charneco on December 6 in Brooklyn, NY. Roach has proved he can perform at home and on the road. That should make for a very interesting 2015.
Honorable Mention (in Alphabetical Order):
Seth "Killer B" Billups (5-0, four KO's) junior welterweight, Ashburn, VA
Billups rapidly became a fan favorite in the Beltway with some solid performances. The former Virginia State Golden Gloves champion made his pro debut on March 15 in Springfield, VA and scored a second-round TKO over veteran Darrell Martin. Billups followed that performance with a first round knockout of Anthony Dave on May 17 in Annandale, VA. Billups would go the distance for the first time on June 28 in Baltimore, MD, winning a four-round majority decision over Benjamin Olinga. Billups would face some adversity in his next bout on September 27 in Springfield as he was dropped in the first round by Ty Felton. Billups would come back, however, and drop Felton twice in the second round to get the TKO. Billups finished 2014 with a third-round stoppage of Sean Lockhart on November 15 in Fairfax, VA.
Mykal "The Professor" Fox (4-0, one KO), lightweight, Forestville, MD
Fox followed in his big brother Alantez's footsteps and impressed Beltway fans with his height, reach and jab. Fox debuted on April 18 in Fort Washington, MD and won an easy four-round unanimous decision shutout over David Ruiz. On June 13 back at Rosecroft Raceway, Fox would win a majority decision against Benjamin Olinga. Fox would score his first pro knockout on July 18 stopping Mason Wicket in the third round and finish his year with a four-round unanimous decision over Sean Lockhart on November 1. Fox is already looking to enter six-round territory in 2015.
Patrick Harris (3-0, two KO's) junior welterweight, Hyattsville, MD
Harris made a big splash in his pro debut on June 13 at Rosecroft Raceway needing just 45 seconds to defeat George Palmer. On July 18 at Rosecroft, Harris stopped Michael Doyle in the third round. Harris had a little tougher time with Jeffrey Ramos on his third appearance at Rosecroft on October 24 but won a four-round majority decision. Harris is slated to make his first trip into DC in January.
Previous Beltway Boxing Rookies of the Year:
2006: Jessie Nicklow
2007: Bayan Jargal
2008: Fernando Guerrero
2009: Dominic Wade
2010: Nick Kisner
2011: Dusty Hernandez Harrison
2012: Duane Mobley
2013: Mike Reed
Tomorrow: The Prospect of the Year!