Xander Zayas Will Be Competing for a World Title in 2023

Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Xander Zayas Will Be Competing for a World Title in 2023

Fighting

Xander Zayas Will Be Competing for a World Title in 2023

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Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images 

On Saturday, December 10, a huge boxing card filled with rising stars will be taking place at Madison Square Garden. The card is headlined by Teofimo Lopez taking on Sandor Martin, on the undercard though there is a rising prospect that you need to be watching closely. That boxer is Xander Zayas.

Zayas put together an amateur record of 122-14 and became a National Amateur Champion during that time. Zayas would sign to Top Rank in March 2019 at just 16 years old, becoming the youngest fighter to ever sign with the company. His professional debut came on October 26, 2019, as an undercard for Shakur Stevenson vs. Joet Gonzalez. This debut was against Genesis Wynn, and he made his impact known early. 55 seconds into the first round, he knocked Wynn down with a straight right. Wynn was able to get back up, but then with 1:36 to go in the first round, Zayas would land a right to the head and body to secure the knockout victory. 

Zayas would turn around and fight a month later on the Carlos Adames vs Patrick Teixeria card as he took on Virgel Windfield where he secured a TKO again in the first round. In 2020, he kept his undefeated streak going with four more wins, three by TKO and one his first win by unanimous decision. It would be 2021 where he launched his name in the industry even further.

He started the year on the Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Berchelt card at the MGM Grand Convention Center against James Martin in his first six round fight. A fight in which he looked majorly improved in. Zayas worked the body of his opponent more, and was extremely effective with landing combos. He followed it up with great counters when Martin tried to pick up his pace late in the fight. The fight would go the distance, and Martin would fall to 6-2 as Zayas secured the unanimous decision victory. The improvements shown in this fight were a product of working with former champions Robert Easter Jr., and Adrien Broner. 

Including his fight against Martin, Zayas fought in six bouts during the 2021 year. He won each of them to launch his record to 12-0, nine by knockout and three by decision. 

He took another step up to begin 2022 with his first eight round fight against Quincy LaVallais. Zayas once again showed his poise and power against a 28-year-old LaVallais. Zayas came out swinging in the first round and landed a right to the head early and continued to pour on the pressure from there. In the second round, he threw 96 punches and landed 54 of them. The fight went the distance, but it was a shutout unanimous decision victory for Zayas to start the year. His second fight of this year came in August against Elias Espadas. Once again, Zayas dominated as the fight only went five rounds before he secured another knockout victory and the NABO junior middleweight championship. In five rounds, he was effective with his jab and landed 27 body shots and 59 connected to the head. The sweeping right that knocked out Espadas marked the first time the 10-year pro had been knocked out.

At 20 years old now, and a record of 14-0, Zayas now turns his attention to his toughest challenge yet in Alexis Salazar who has a 24-4 record. Zayas has shown throughout his boxing career so far that he is calculated when he throws his punches, which leads to him connecting at a high rate. That is something Salazar is going to have to be ready for. Salazar uses his jab to keep the fight at a distance, and slow down the pace of his fights. It is the versatility of Zayas that has made him standout, he can brawl if that is what the fight calls for, or he can take his time and go the distance. That is what will lead to Zayas being able to win this fight because Salazar doesn’t throw enough to win on the scorecards, and will have to speed up the pace to try and out-strike Zayas. This will play right into the strength of Zayas who will capitalize on this just as he has done multiple times to set up a knockout blow. 

It has been an impressive career for the rising star so far, and another victory on Saturday should launch Zayas into contention for a World Title bout in 2023. 

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