It’s that time of year again where we ponder the winner of each category on offer at the TopClassBoxing End of Year Award. This year has been a very successful year for the sport so it has been very difficult picking overall winners as there were so many to choose from.
2016 has for the most part been a great year for the boxing community with fighters vying for the most prestigious spot at the top of our pound 4 pound listings now that Floyd Mayweather has vacated the position, leaving very big shoes to fill with a handful of fighters putting their argument forward for occupancy of that top spot.
We’ve had knockout’s by the bucket loads, upsets which have left us all in shock and the emergence of the new wave of young fighters who hope to make strides in fulfilling their potential.
On a more somber note, I would also at this time like to take a moment of contemplation for some of our fallen soldiers who continue to fight an all together more important one of life and death, let us send our well wishes to Eduard Gutknecht, Prichard Colon, Nick Blackwell, Magomed Abdusalamov and to the family of Mike Towell who passed away this year.
Thank you for your support in 2016, without further ado here are our picks:
Carl Frampton was the obvious choice for fighter of the year, in a highly successful 2016 the Irishman backed up claims that he was ready for world domination with wins over Scott Quigg followed by a couple of steps up in weight class to dethrone Mexican Leo Santa Cruz in one of this years most memorable.
It was definitely one to remember for Frampton who secured his place not just on our top spot but also on many other illustrious listings, It was clear cut, the fact being no other fighter could couple two wins of the magnitude and occasion in which Frampton did. In so doing, winning both on the road making victory that little bit sweeter.
Memorable Mention: Vasyl Lomachenko, Terence Crawford, Andre Ward
This was a tough category with many that could have featured, but for me Francisco Vargas’ draw with countryman Orlando Salido is the one which springs to mind when looking back at 2016’s best.
The styles that were on offer gelled perfectly, virtually guaranteeing that those in attendance would recoup the price paid at the door or via various ticket sellers, an all out high octane Mexican war with similarities to Barrera V Morales and Vasquez v Marquez.
Memorable Mention: Keith Thurman Dec Shawn Porter, Roman Gonzalez Dec Carlos Cuadras, Jamie Conlan W KO 8 Anthony Nelson, Tom Doran W RSF 2 Luke Keeler
The outcome was inevitable to most but there was a slight glimpse that Amir khan could pull out the victory, out boxing the Mexican for much of the earlier rounds. Khan’s handspeed was at it’s blurring best but like the old saying goes “Timing beats Speed” which is what happened in the sixth.
In 2015 Alvarez landed another of his famed right hands which rendered James Kirkland motionless which is exactly the scenario of his contest with Amir Khan.
Memorable Mention: Deontay Wilder Vs. Artur Szpilka, Julius Indongo vs. Eduard Troyanovsky, Vasyl Lomachenko Vs. Roman Martinez
Making the decision to tag along with his older brother to his local gym, Erickson Lubin found a natural fit in boxing which has now started to yield the fruits of his labour. Lubin was a stand out amateur receiving many prestigious awards to go along with his plaudits, including winning gold medals at the 2013 Police Athletic League nationals and 2013 U.S. National Golden Gloves taking his overall record to 143-7.
Lubin was a certainty to make the US Olympic team but quizzically instead turned to the professional ranks much to the disdain of the US committee who believe he had his head turned, nevertheless since that time Lubin has continued his ascent up the rankings guided along the way by the powerful adviser Al Haymon.
In 2016 he elevated his level of opposition, fighting four times he has impressed with each visit beating the likes of Daniel Sandoval, Ivan Montero and Juan Cabrera before now turning his immediate attention to Jorge Cota in March 2017.
The Sky is the limit for Lubin but wants titles to go along with financial gain “Everybody wants to make that money and be like Mayweather, but my ultimate goal is to unify the titles,” he said recently. “I want to unify titles and I want to be pound-for-pound. That would put me with the greats. I want to unify at 154 and do the same thing at 160 and 168.”
Memorable Mention: Jarrett Hurd, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Felix Verdejo, Joseph Diaz Jr, Diego De La Hoya, Andrew Selby
Jerzeel Corrales was an unknown commodity when challenging the 12 year champion of the time, Takashi Uchiyama, many believed it would be another straight forward defence of the champions title, looking over the horizon at more meaningful match up’s, but there lies the danger.
Corrales came in to the bout not renowned has a puncher but held enough venom to put Uchiyama on the seat of his pants on three occasions before the fight was stopped, leaving many, myself included shocked by the turn of events. There may be more higher profile upsets out there but for me this stands at the top of my list.
Corrales has since repeated the feat of defeating Uchinyama this time without the shock factor
Memorable Mention: Joe Smith KO Andrzej Fonfara, Sullivan Barrera TKO 7 Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Julias Indongo KO 1 Eduard Troyanovsky
Abel Sanchez was the stand out pick for winning trainer of the year, I mean when you have a Middleweight wrecking ball in the shape of Gennady Golovkin it already gives him a head start on the rest of the field.
In his gym in Big Bear, California, Abel works tirelessly to perfect the array of fighters he has at his disposal, the likes of Murat Gassiev who is now a world title holder at Cruiserweight, Sullivan Barrera who captured one of this years best scalps in beating the much fancied Vyacheslav Shabranskyy plus too many more to fill this space.
Hopefully a BIG fight between Golovkin and Canelo can be made in 2017 which is sure to bring with it many more plaudits from one of the sports best.
Last but most certainly not least, we have the award for Featured Fighter of the Year, We have had the privilege to feature many great fighters in 2016, each deserving of this award in their own way but like the old saying goes “There can only be one” which fell after a vote to Danny Roman who had a sensational year, going unbeaten in 2016, putting himself in contention for a world title shot with an eliminator lurking against Adam Lopez.
Memorable Mention: Isaac Zarate, Giovani Santillan
Fighter of the year: Carl Frampton
A victory over Scott Quigg which was regarded as a 50/50 type of fight and then defeating Leo Santa Cruz while going into the fight as a underdog. Frampton had quite the year.
Fight of the year : Orlando Salido vs Francisco Vargas
Knockout of the year: Murat Gassiev KO on Jordan Schimmell
Trainer of the year: Abel Sanchez
Golovkin kept dominating opponents . Numerous fighters under Abel Sanchez scored upset Victories such examples include Murat Gassiev over Denis Lebedev . Denis Shafikov over Herring and Andy Ruiz Jr should have won over Joseph Parker the judges got that fight wrong in my view. The summit gym is a marquee training ground for elite level fighters.
Upset of the year: Julius Indogo Ko win vs Eduard Troyanovsky
Prospect of the year; Custio Clayton:
For Canadian boxing fans this pick wont be a suprise but for the rest of the world it will be . Clayton finished 4th place in the 2012 olympic games. Boxing judges took a medal away fro him but in 2016 Custio has numerous stoppage wins against veteran opponents. Clayton has shown a vicious right hand , high ring IQ and good body work the list could go for a while but you get my point. Look out for him in the welterweight division.
Fighter Of The Year – Roman Gonzalez
Fight Of The Year – Francisco Vargas v Orlando Salido
Prospect Of The Year – Teofilo Lopez
Knockout Of The Year – Canelo Alvarez v Amir Khan
Upset Of The Year – Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz
Trainer Of The Year – Abel Sanchez
Fighter of the Year – Carl Frampton
Fight of the Year – Whyte vs Chisora
Prospect of the Year – Anthony Yarde
Knockout of the year – Canelo vs Khan
Upset of the Year – Julius Indongo vs Troyanovsky