Top Rank announced that it has signed the youngest boxer in their promotion’s history to a multi-year professional contract. 16-year-old welterweight prospect Xander Zayas sports an impressive 118-14 record as an amateur. While he originally wanted to remain and amateur and participate in the Olympics for the United States, he would have had to wait until the 2024 games. Zayas would be too young to compete at the next 2020 Olympic games being held in Tokyo so decided to turn pro instead.
Another key decision for Zayas to join the long-time boxing promotion company is that he will be able to join fellow professional prospect Teofima Lopez, who has acted as a mentor to the young Zayas. Lopez currently has a professional record of 12-0 after turning pro on November 5, 2016 with a knockout win over Ishwar Siqueiros.
Zayas was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and began boxing at the age of 5 but is now based out of Plantation, Florida. During his amateur career he has captured 11 U.S. National and Puerto Rican titles. His recent accomplishments include placing second in the 2017 National Silver Gloves, first in the 2017 Junior Open and a first place showing at the 2018 Youth National Championships.
For his part, Zayas seems extremely excited to be joining Top Rank;
“It is very humbling to have a company such as Top Rank getting behind me and believing in me. Although there is pressure to perform, especially being the youngest fighter they have ever signed, I am eager to do my job and show them that they made the right decision investing in me.”
While Zayas first professional bout has not been announced or scheduled, it is believed Top Rank is looking for a September debut after he turns 17. The young welterweight fighter will be competing in one more amateur tournament as part of Team USA. He is scheduled to join the team in April and compete in the Emil Jechev Memorial Tournament in Botevgard, Bulgaria.
Zayas currently trains at Sweatbox Boxing & Fitness with owner/trainer Javiel Centeno. During an interview with the LA times Centeno stated he knew Zayas was something special the first time he saw him in the gym. He also revealed that Zayas promised that he would be the “first world champion” trained by Centeno.
Top Rank has been promoting fighters since their formation in 1973. Legends such as Muhammad Ali, Oscar Del Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard and Joe Frazier have all been part of the company. They also have an excellent track record with young talent having guided the careers of boxers such as Miguel Cotto, lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko and Floyd Mayweather Jr.