Sunday 25th September 2016,
Balltribe

Balltribe Year-End Boxing Awards

boxing awards

Fighter of the Year: Saul Alvarez No clear-cut winner stands out this year. Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez were their usual dominant selves, and deserve consideration. But I ultimately chose Canelo, based on his thrilling knockout of James Kirkland and his intelligent, one-sided defeat of future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto.

Fight of the Year: Francisco Vargas KO 9 Takashi Miura: Vargas has one eye nearly swollen shut and had been rocked badly at the end of Round 8 when he came out and took Miura’s WBC super featherweight title in Round 9. Miura had to come back from being nearly stopped in Round 1 to take control of the middle part of the fight. This one had everything: great courage from both men, exciting swings in momentum and a sudden, thrilling finish. Other candidates: Krzysztof Glowacki KO 11 Marco Huck, Andrzej Fonfara UD Nathan Cleverly, Lucas Matthysse MD Ruslan Provodnikov.

Breakout Fighter of the Year: James DeGale James DeGale became the first Olympic gold medalist from England to follow up with a world title in the professional ranks when he beat tough veteran Andre Dirrell to capture the vacant IBF super middleweight title in May. He was oustanding in trouncing the former champion, Lucian Bute, in Bute’s own backyard of Quebec City in November. Viktor Postol also deserves consideration for his brilliant, Round 10 KO of Lucas Matthysse, as does DeGale’s super middleweight rival, Badou Jack, who captured the WBC belt from Anthony Dirrell in April and followed that win by beating George Groves on the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto undercard in September.

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Timothy Bradley It’s not as if Bradley really went away. But in 2014 he looked sluggish in a one-sided defeat to Manny Pacquiao in April and then drew with the limited Diego Chaves in December. Many thought he had seen his best days. But in 2015, a one-sided victory of previously unbeaten Jessie Vargas and a stoppage of Brandon Rios pushed him back to the top of the welterweight rankings.

Upset of the Year: Tyson Fury UD Wladimir Klitschko It was an ugly, slow-paced fight, but Fury definitely deserved the win over one of the longest-reigning and most dominant champions in the history of the heavyweight division. In a normal year, the previously unknown Glowacki’s dramatic stoppage of Huck would have been enough to earn this honor.

Follow Briggs Seekins on Twitter and check out his blog, Pioneers of Boxing, to read about the early, bare-knuckle era of the sport

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