By: Ste Rowen
10. Charlie Edwards 15-1 (6KOs)
Edwards ended 2018 by winning his first ever world title at flyweight, and then proceeded to defend his WBA belt against Angel Moreno with a 12 round unanimous victory. Unfortunately, his 2019 was slightly marred by a No Contest against Julio Cesar Martinez. The fight, in which Charlie looked completely out of his depth in, was originally scored a stoppage win for Martinez but was eventually switched to a ‘NC’ due to the Mexican firing Edwards with a body shot whilst his opponent had already taken a knee. Edwards goes into 2020 with a world title and a 15-1 (6KOs) record.
9. Dereck Chisora 32-9 (23KOs)
Dereck Chisora seems to be having a late-career resurgence that Bernard Hopkins would be proud of. The one-time world title challenger has won four of his last five fights, losing only to Dillian Whyte when he was knocked out in the final round. In that five-fight run, Chisora has racked up impressive stoppage victories over Carlos Takam, Artur Szpilka, and most recently David Price. With Anthony Joshua looking for a new opponent in 2020 after victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, don’t be surprised if Del-Boy is the man who steps up to the challenge.
8. Billy Joe Saunders 29-0 (14KOs)
Despite becoming a two-weight world champion, it was a massively underwhelming year for BJS. The former middleweight champion jumped up to super-middle to claim the WBO strap after beating Shefat Isufi. Then, after switching promoters to Matchroom and waiting six months, Saunders appeared on the undercard of Youtubers, KSI vs. Logan Paul, where he stopped Marcelo Coceras in the 11thround. Billy Joe fans have spent the last four years hoping for something big, so don’t hold your breath for anything special in 2020.
7. Dillian Whyte 27-1 (18KOs)
This was a tricky one due to the positive drugs test that’s overshadowed Whyte’s year. Dillian’s year consisted of two decision wins over fringe contenders; the previously unbeaten Oscar Rivas, and Marius Wach, but the heavyweight’s 2019 will be remembered for his adverse test results following his bout with Rivas where Whyte was temporarily suspended. But after being reinstated as the WBC’s number one contender, Dillian will have to wait for the winner of Wilder vs. Fury 2, before he gets a shot at the green belt he’s longed for a chance to fight for.
6. Eubank Jr 29-2 (22KOs)
Eubank Jr bounced back relatively strongly from his second professional defeat, and loss to George Groves in the 2018 World Boxing Super Series semi-final. At the beginning of 2019, Eubank outfought and out-thought former super-middleweight champion and domestic rival, James DeGale to claim the IBO 168lb title before taking a lengthy break of almost ten months when he returned to the ring, back down at middleweight in a fight with Matvey Korobov. Unfortunately, Korobov sustained a shoulder injury in the early rounds, and despite it going down as a Eubank Jr victory, the man with the famous name will be hoping for a much more legacy defining twelve months.
5. Callum Smith 27-0 (19KOs)
Where did all the momentum and hype go for Callum Smith? 2018 saw Smith win the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the WBSS and become the WBA super-middleweight champion. Huge things were expected, and anticipation was high and then, well, not much. Fans had to wait nearly nine months before they saw Callum in the ring again, and even then it was pretty underwhelming. Smith fought and stopped career-middleweight Hassan N’Dam on the undercard of AJ/Ruiz Jr 1 and then five months later he took on fellow Englishman, John Ryder. It was a fight many thought he would walk through, but by the end of the twelve rounds it was a fight many thought he’d lost. A rematch with Ryder in 2020 wouldn’t be sniffed at by fans, but let’s not wait another nine months to see him in the ring.
4. Tyson Fury 29-0-1 (20KOs)
It’s been a funny old year for the lineal heavyweight champion. After scoring unanimous draw with WBC titlist, Deontay Wilder, a fight the majority of onlookers thought Fury won, the Gypsy King wasn’t back fighting for another six months where he stopped the previously unbeaten, Tom Schwarz inside two rounds. The Wilder rematch seemed on the horizon but never materialised and instead Tyson did two things. The first fighting and beating another unbeaten man, Otto Wallin in an awkward twelve round bout. Then secondly Fury attempted to become a crossover star when he appeared on the WWE show in Saudi Arabia. Luckily for boxing fans though Fury is committed to boxing for at least one more bout as he’s confirmed that the Deontay Wilder rematch will take place on the 22nd February in Vegas.
3. Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21KOs)
Talking of strange years, Anthony Joshua was toppled and returned to the throne in two fights against the same wobbly looking man. Arguably the biggest upset in sport for 2019 saw AJ stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr and lose his WBA, IBF & WBO titles inside seven rounds. Ruiz had taken Joshua’s belts, his ‘0’ and for many his credibility. But Joshua wasn’t to be stopped and signed up for an immediate rematch to take place in Saudi Arabia in December. In an unusually wet Saudi, Joshua boxed his way almost perfectly, through twelve rounds to claim a unanimous decision and regain his belts. With mandatories being called in, it seems Joshua’s next opponent will either be Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk.
2. Josh Warrington 30-0 (7KOs)
After an unbelievable twelve months in 2018, beating Lee Selby and Carl Frampton, only unification bouts would eclipse such a run that Josh Warrington was one. Unfortunately, the other titleholders at featherweight were either unavailable or unwilling to take on the IBF world champion from Leeds. Instead, Warrington fought and decisioned his mandatory challenger, Kid Galahad in a twelve-round hug-fest; and then in October, stopped Sofiane Takoucht after two rounds. There’s been talk of bouts with newly crowned WBO featherweight champion, Shakur Stevenson or WBA titlist, Leo Santa Cruz, but Josh may have to deal with Galahad for a second time in a possible rematch to start 2020.
1. Josh Taylor 16-0 (12KOs)
What a year it’s been for the man from Edinburgh. At the start of 2019, Taylor’s future looked in doubt due to the complications with the World Boxing Super Series. But once those difficulties were ironed out the Tartan Tornado put his foot firmly on the accelerator. Firstly, with a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk, who also held the IBF super-lightweight title. And then Taylor unified the division with another decision victory, this time over WBA champion, Regis Prograis to finish the year as the IFB, WBA and Muhammad Ali Trophy champion.
Kal Yafai remained unbeaten and therefore held on to his WBA super-flyweight title, but he fought just once, a whitewash twelve round decision over 29-8-4, Norbelto Jimenez despite continuous talks of a unification bout with the likes of Estrada and Ancajas.
Luke Campbell remains an outstanding title in the British ranks but despite a worthy showing in his decision loss to world pound-for-pound enigma, Vasyl Lomachenko, Cool Hand Luke’s 2019 wasn’t strong enough to enter this top 10.
Kell Brook, what can you say? The guy always talks big but hasn’t delivered anything of note since 2014.
Carl Frampton remains a possible bogeyman for the other feather/super-featherweight champions, but after only fighting once in 2019, a 10-round decision over Tyrone McCreary, Frampton drops out of this years rankings.
By: Ste Rowen
When I sat down to write something this week, I was struggling, and then it came to me.
In a quiet few weeks for boxing what better way to create unnecessary arguments about a popular but ultimately irrelevant subject?
So here goes, this is my Top 10 Pound-For-Pound UK Boxers.
*I also feel like I have to say, the views expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not represent those of other writers at BoxingInsider.com…. Phew!
10 Tony Bellew 29-2-1 (19KOs)
Despite only fighting once and winning in peculiar circumstances, Bellew keeps a spot in the top 10. Still riding high on his first heavyweight fight, and victory over David Haye, the WBC Cruiserweight Emeritus Champion – no, me neither – was hoping to prove his March 2017 victory over Haye was no fluke but an inevitable injury to the Hayemaker has forced the rematch to take place in May next year instead.
9 Khalid Yafai 23-0-0 (14KOs)
Kal Yafai began 2017 as a world champion, superbly outpointing Luis Concepcion to a unanimous decision in December 2016 for the WBA Super Flyweight title. Aside from Ryan Burnett, featured later, Yafai has perhaps had the quickest ascent, and in an especially stacked division has made his mark. In his two fights of 2017 he earnt unanimous decision victories over former Japanese Fly and Super Flyweight champions Suguru Muranaka and Sho Ishida respectively. If Kal is able to get a place in the upcoming HBO SuperFly 2 card, he would be making the perfect start to 2018.
8 Chris Eubank Jr 26-1-0 (20KOs)
Round about this time last year Chris Eubank Jr was still receiving grief for deciding to dodge the Golovkin fight and nobody quite knew where his career was going. Twelve months and three fights later and Eubank is now one of the biggest players in the super middleweight division. He holds a version of the world titles, the IBO; is less than two months from fighting for the WBA Super belt and, in the UK at least, is now a PPV fighter with the help of ITV. Stand out performances against Arthur Abraham and Avni Yildrim have solidified his status with most bookies as the favourite for his February 17th WBSS semi-final against George Groves.
7 Josh Taylor 11-0-0 (10KOs)
In stark contrast to his former stablemate, Carl Frampton, Josh Taylor has had a fantastic year though it did start off with an awkward win over Alfonso Olvera on the Frampton v Santa Cruz undercard in Vegas. He kicked on by dominating Warren Joubert and then humbling the unbeaten and outspoken Ohara Davies, forcing Davies to quit in the seventh. He finished the year in a risky bout vs Miguel Vauzquez but proved yet again he is well worth the hype by knocking out the former lightweight champion with a killer body shot in the 9th. He’s now at number 9 in the Ring Magazine Jr welterweight rankings, and 5th with the WBC.
6 Lee Selby 26-1-0 (9KOs)
It was difficult to place the IBF Featherweight Champion. Despite a busy 2017, fighting three times with wins that included a 9th round stoppage over Andoni Gago, and dominant displays over Jonathan Barros and an overweight Eduardo Ramirez, the level of opposition and an inactive 2016 have harmed Selby’s standing amongst British fans. However, his long-awaited bout with Josh Warrington has been all but confirmed. If he comes through that with the W, and fights at least once more against Carl Frampton or one of the other title holders, we should see Selby shoot up most rankings.
5 Carl Frampton 24-1-0 (14KOs)
It’s been a bad year for Frampton. Twelve months ago, the two-weight world champion would’ve been top of the list but he started 2017 with a defeat to Leo Santa Cruz in an immediate rematch of their July 2016 bout. Then he split with long time promoter Barry Mcguigan and his son, 2016 trainer of the year Shane McGuigan after his return to Belfast fight fell apart the day before the fight. Ending the year with a, closer than the scorecards suggest, decision win over Horacio Garcia and past victories over Santa Cruz and Scott Quigg keep credit in the bank for Frampton who’ll be hoping for somewhat of a comeback year in 2018.
4 Billy Joe Saunders 26-0-0 (12KOs)
The WBO Middleweight Champion has found himself as a late entrant into the top five of this list after a superior display over former IBF Champion David Lemieux. Even the unanimous scorecards didn’t do justice to the way Saunders played with the Canadian in his own backyard. Billy Joe also scored a unanimous decision over fringe contender Willie Monroe Jr in September. Both victories, but more so the performance in Quebec, see the middleweight in the 4th spot.
3 George Groves 27-3-0 (20KOs)
After re-establishing himself as one of the best super middleweight contenders in 2016, Groves, on the fourth time of asking, became a world champion in April 2017 stopping a durable Fedor Chudinov to win the WBA ‘Super’ World Super Middleweight belt – the proper one. Not only did the win get him his first world title, but also counted towards his number 1 seed into the World Boxing Super Series. His second fight of 2017 saw him body-shot KO unbeaten Jamie Cox to seal his place in the WBSS semi-final, there to face number 8 on this list, Chris Eubank Jr in early 2018.
2 Ryan Burnett 18-0-0 (9KOs)
What a few years it’s been for the WBA and IBF bantamweight champion. Since winning the vacant British title back in November 2015 Burnett has fought six times and in his two bouts this year, he firstly won the IBF title in a dominant decision win over Lee Haskins and then four months later unified the bantamweight division by defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast, in a great display of skill and heart. Already viewed as a standout talent of the lighter weight divisions, a win in 2018 against the likes of Zolani Tete, could boost Burnett into the an overall P4P player.
1 Anthony Joshua 20-0-0 (20KOs)
Almost inevitably, Anthony Joshua tops the list thanks almost completely to his fight of the year contender and almost certainly event of the year, vs Wladimir Klitschko in a bout to unify the IBF and WBA heavyweight belts. 90,000 people packed into Wembley to see the unbeaten Brit drop and get dropped on the way to an 11th round stoppage victory. Then in October he came through a rough test against Carlos Takam to earn his 20th straight victory and stoppage. With a Tyson Fury return looking imminent and potential unification bouts with Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker in 2018, this time next year AJ could either find himself near the top of the World P4P rankings or pipped to the top of the UK rankings by a fellow Brit.
Kell Brook – Consecutive stoppage defeats to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence, a bout which lost him his IBF title, have forced the Sheffield welterweight to drop out of the rankings. Moving up to 154 will hopefully kickstart Brook’s career.
Anthony Crolla – The Manchester native may have defeated an outgoing Ricky Burns recently but the former WBA Lightweight Champion was also dealt with twice in pretty dominant fashion by Jorge Linares. Whichever weight he decides to fight at he’s got a big job to get back to the heights he reached in 2016.
Terry Flanagan – One decision victory over Petr Petrov and a move up but, as yet no fights at light welterweight make for a disappointing year for Flanagan who was talking about unification fights with any or all of the champions at lightweight that never materialised.
Jamie Mcdonnell – An overlooked fighter whose two victories over Tomoki Kameda back in 2015 seemingly never got the praise they deserved but the Doncaster native has fought just three times since September 2015, and his one fight in 2017 was a technical draw with Liborio Solis after a clash of heads put an end to their rematch.
Liam Smith – The former WBO Jr middleweight title holder fought twice against the same opponent in 2017. His controversial stoppage of unbeaten Liam Williams in April, and then a majority decision in the rematch weren’t enough to see him reach the top 10.
Callum Smith – The youngest Smith brother undoubtedly had the toughest fight of his career in the first WBSS super middleweight quarter final when he earnt a unanimous decision win over Erik Skoglund, dropping the Swede in the 11th round. Unfortunately, it was the only time we saw ‘Mundo’ all year. 2018 could be a career definer, especially if he gets past Juergen Braehmer to reach the final of the super series.
Who is the pound-for-pound ruler: April 2017 Edition
By: Kirk Jackson
Ever since September of 2015, there is a void in the landscape of boxing, as the reigning pay-per-view king and perennial pound-for-pound ruler Floyd Mayweather retired after defeating Andre Berto.
Forget numbers and pay-per-view buys, followers of boxing really want to know is who the best fighter ispound-for-pound?
Since Mayweather’s departure towards the end of 2015,Roman Gonzalez 46-1 (38 KO’s), who at the time was relatively unknown by many boxing observers, ascended towards the top of many pound-for-pound lists.
ESPN, Ring magazine and most notably, the HBO commentary teamjoyfully touted the exploits of the four division world champion from Nicaragua affectionately known as “Chocolatito.” And not without good reason.
Gonzalez is an impressive fighter, boasting extraordinary stamina and an offensive arsenal that would make even the high powered Golden State Warriors envious.
In spite of Gonzalez’s greatness and dominance of the lower weight divisions, his standing as pound-for-pound king was not on steady footing.
Other fighters could be argued as no.1 pound-for-pound.
Fighters such as Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Keith Thurman, along with a few others.
With Gonzalez recently tasting defeat in stunning and controversial fashion, the pound-for-pound ranking reflects the change and displays a new king on the mythical list.
Who steps up to fill the no.1 position?
First thing to establish is the criterion used to judge the qualities of a pound-for-pound fighter
If we are to abide by the “Bible of Boxing” fromRingmagazine,the metrics for analyzing the pound-for-pound list is as follows:
1. Results. This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence over all others.
2. Performance. How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.
3. Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.
All bases are covered with this set of criteria. These are great bench marks to test the merit of fighters and to grade the selected few who make up the pound-for-pound list. The criteria can be subjective, just like with scoring a fight.
Scoring the fight ties in with performance. It is important to note the criterion for scoring a round, tallying up points round by round and ultimately scoring a fight.
Effective Aggression: Assuming the role of aggressor may leave an impression of dominance, but the aggressor must actually land punches and avoid counter-punches in return, in order to be effective.Chasing the opponent and throwing punches does not necessarily suggest fighter is effective with their aggression. Cutting off the ring is a sign of effective aggression.
Ring Generalship: The fighter who controls the pace of the fight; the fighter enforces his/her will and is the conductor of the action. Setting the range, establishing the distance in which the fight takes place, which can include clinching/in-fighting or lateral movement and cutting off the ring.
Defense: How well a boxer is blocking, parrying and slipping punches. Clinching/tying up the opponent, moving around the ring, moving from side to side, presenting different angles is considered defense.
It’s not running; there is nothing stated within the rules of boxing that suggests a boxer must only
step forward throwing punches. It’s important to keep in mind good defense is just as important as offense.
Clean/Effective Punches: To the untrained eye, it can appear as if a boxer is landing a lot of punches, when in fact, most are either blocked, not landing flush or grazing punches. A judge or observer needs to look for hard punches that land clean. Hard punches can definitely constitute as effective, but a boxer should not be penalized if he/she is not a powerful puncher.Again, it’s about clean, landed punches. Clean punches score points.
Now that we have a barometer on how to score rounds, fights, and a general consensus for how to analyze and format pound-for-pound lists, let us proceed with the pound-for-pound selection.
The pound-for-pound results post-Gonzalez loss:
1: Andre Ward 31-0-0 (15 KO’s). Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion.
2: Terence Crawford 30-0-0 (21 KO’s). WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion.
3: Guillermo Rigondeaux 17–0 (11 KO’s). Super WBA and lineal super bantamweight champion.
4: Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s).
5: Manny Pacquiao 59-6-2 (38 KO’s).WBO and lineal welterweight champion.
6: Roman Gonzalez 46-1-0 (38 KO’s).
7: Keith Thurman 28–0–0–1 (22 KO’s). WBA and WBC unified welterweight champion.
8: Vasyl Lomachenko 7-1-0 (5 KO’s). WBO Super featherweight champion.
9: Mikey Garcia 36-0 (30 KO’s). WBC Lightweight champion.
10: Gennady Golovkin 36-0-0 (33 KO’s). Super WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion.
Note: Results are through March 23
1. GENNADY GOLOVKIN
RECORD: 37-0, 33 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Daniel Jacobs, March 18
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
2. ANDRE WARD
RECORD: 31-0, 15 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight (unified titleholder)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 19, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
3. VASYL LOMACHENKO
RECORD: 7-1, 5 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Nicholas Walters, Nov. 26, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Jason Sosa, April 8
4. SERGEY KOVALEV
RECORD: 30-1-1, 26 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Andre Ward, Nov. 19, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
5. ROMAN GONZALEZ
RECORD: 46-1, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight
LAST FIGHT: L (MD12) SrisaketSorRungvisai, March 18
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
6. TERENCE CRAWFORD
RECORD: 29-0, 20 KOs
DIVISION: Junior welterweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO8) John Molina Jr., Dec. 10, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Felix Diaz, May 20
7. CANELO ALVAREZ
RECORD: 48-1-1, 34 KOs
DIVISION: Junior middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO9) Liam Smith, Sept. 17, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., May 6
8. MANNY PACQUIAO
RECORD: 59-6-2, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Jessie Vargas, Nov. 5, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
9. KEITH THURMAN
RECORD: 28-0, 22 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Danny Garcia, March 4
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
10. GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX
RECORD: 17-0, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Junior featherweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO2) James Dickens, July 16, 2016
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
Ring Magazine Rankings:
Rank Fighter Record Weight Class Title(s)
1 United States:
Andre Ward 31–0 (15 KO) Light heavyweight Undisputed WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion
Sergey Kovalev 30–1–1 (26 KO) Light heavyweight WBC Diamond Champion, WBO Super Champion
Gennady Golovkin 37–0 (33 KO) Middleweight Super WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight champion
Román González 46–1 (38 KO) Super Flyweight N/A
5 United States:
Terence Crawford 30–0 (21 KO) Junior welterweight WBC, WBO, The Ring and lineal junior welterweight champion
Vasyl Lomachenko 7–1 (5 KO) Super featherweight WBO Super featherweight champion
Guillermo Rigondeaux 17–0 (11 KO) Junior featherweight Super WBA and lineal super bantamweight champion
SaúlÁlvarez 48–1–1 (34 KO) Junior middleweight The Ring/Lineal middleweight champion, WBO junior middleweight champion
9 Shinsuke Yamanaka 27-0-2 (19 KO) Bantamweight WBC and The Ring bantamweight champion
10 Naoya Inoue 12-0 (10 KO) Super flyweight WBO super flyweight champion
Transnational Board Rankings:
Rank Name Nationality Record Division
1 Andre Ward USA 31-0-0 (15) Light Heavyweight
2 Sergey Kovalev RUS 30-1-1 (26) Light Heavyweight
3 Roman Gonzalez NIC 46-1-0 (38) Jr. Bantamweight
4 Manny Pacquiao PHI 59-6-2 (38) Welterweight
5 Terence Crawford * USA 30-0-0 (21) Jr. Welterweight
6 Gennady Golovkin KAZ 36-0-0 (33) Middleweight
7 Vasyl Lomachenko UKR 7-1-0 (5) Jr. Lightweight
8 Naoya Inoue JPN 12-0-0 (10) Jr. Bantamweight
9 Leo Santa Cruz USA 33-1-1- (18) Featherweight
10 Shinsuke Yamanaka JPN 27-0-2 (19) Bantamweight
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
By: Jordan Seward
With the new year approaching it’s time to reflect on the best boxing action of 2016, so in no particular order….
Orlando Salido vs Francisco Vargas
The two Mexicans treated us to a classic right up to the final bell for Vargas’ (23-0-2) WBC World Super Featherweight title. Vargas, coming off the back of Fight of the Year for 2015 faced a true, steely warrior in the 36-year-old Salido (43-13-4). It was a back-and-fourth slug fest between two champions who don’t know when to quit. In the end the pair couldn’t be separated and the judges correctly scored it a draw.
Tony Bellew vs Ilunga Makabu
The real life rocky story that saw Bellew (28-2-1) finally crowned a world champion. Just after starring in the new rocky film ‘The Bomber’ got his third bite at the cherry facing a dangerous and feared Congolese who had chalked up 18 knockouts in 19 fights. A packed crowed inside his beloved Everton football club’s stadium were stunned when Makabu (19-2) sent Bellew rolling over at the end of the first. The Everton man climbed off the canvas Balboa esque and rallied to stop Makabu in the third with a flourish of heavy punches to claim the vacant WBC World Cruiserweight strap.
Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora
This one had it all. Filled with controversy from the start these two Heavyweights threw everything but the kitchen sink. A table was thrown though. At a press conference. Which, as a result meant the British title wasn’t on the line. But after all the talk, the bad mouthing and the attempted scrapping Whyte (20-1) and Chisora (26-7) done it properly in the ring and fought out a clean and action-packed-12-rounder. Both men were rocked and absorbed a lot of punishment, but Whyte’s superior stamina was just about enough to nick it for him on the judges’ scorecard by split decision.
Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter
Thurman (27-0) was getting in the ring with probably the best opponent he’s faced. The only man to previously have defeated Porter (26-2-1) was Kell Brook, but, in a fierce competitive fight, Thurman successfully defended his WBA World Welterweight title dishing out Porter’s second loss of his career with a 115-113 unanimous decision. Although the announcement was greeted by booing, the stats suggested Thurman deservedly had his hand raised at the end, landing 43.6% of his punches while his opponent made 35.6%.
Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
The fight that everyone scored differently. It was a fight we all wanted as soon as Ward made the jump up from Super-Middleweight. The defensive suave of Ward (31-0) met the aggressive power of ‘The Krusher’ (30-1-1) at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. The American, fighting on home turf, was put down in the second round for only the second time in his illustrious career. But Ward, as Ward does, after falling behind on the cards managed to take the second half of the fight and claim Kovalev’s WBO, IBF and WBA Super World Light Heavyweight titles by unanimous decision.
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz
After unifying his IBF super-bantamweight title by outpointing Scott Quigg, the Northern Irishmen capped off his impressive year by adding Leo Santa Cruz’s (32-1-1) WBA Super World Featherweight belt. ‘The Jackal’ (23-0) jumped up a weight division and battled it out with the Mexican champion in an absolute barn burner. After a hard and punishing 12 rounds it went to the judges’ scorecards and Frampton, was given the nod. Now, just for us, they’re doing it all again at the MGM Grand on the 28th January. Not a bad way to start the new year.
Hosea Burton vs Frank Buglioni
Words were exchanged between the pair in what was a heated build up to this Light-Heavyweight contest for the British title. But when the fighting started it quickly turned in to a very watchable and enjoyable scrap. Both Burton (18-1) and Buglioni (19-2-1) continuously plowed forwards, in attempts to assert their dominance. They were both taking serious damage and in the twelfth-round Burton’s chickens came home to roost. The 28-year-old was slowing down and deserved to hear the final bell but with just one minute left in the bout Buglioni landed some hurtful blows and the ref waved it off.
Thomas Williams Jr. vs Edwin Rodriguez
A fiery, hard fought contest… while it lasted. At the StubHub Center, on the undercard of Andre Berto’s knockout win against Victor Ortiz, Rodriguez, (28-2) displayed courage, grit, determination, and, a chin. In this two-rounder, it was Williams Jr (20-2) who was landing the more powerful and hurtful shots but a number of times Rodriguez remained upright and proudly came firing back. In the end, it took a monster left hook to knock the resolute 31-year-old out.
Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook
As far as unexpected fights go, this one took the biscuit. You couldn’t have called it. This was not a fight many had in mind, but, when it was made it was all the talk. The IBF World Welterweight champion, Brook, jumped up two weight division to face the feared Middleweight kingpin at the O2 Arena. Looking in great shape and as confident as ever the Englishman made a great start to the fight. However, as the fight went on we began to realise Brook wouldn’t be making history as Golovkin’s power started to take its toll and Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle threw in the towel stopping proceedings in the fifth round.
Anthony Crolla vs Ismael Barroso
After prizing away the WBA World Lightweight title from Darleys Perez in their second meeting, Crolla, (31-5-3)made his first defence against the man who, effectively, sent world title challenger Kevin Mitchell into retirement. As expected, the Venezuelan (19-1-2) started strong and, typical of a Joe Gallagher fighter, Crolla did not. He absorbed some early punishment and probably lost the first five rounds. It became clear after six though, that Crolla’s tactics were spot on, as the challenger noticeably began to tire. He had thrown all he had and was on empty, Crolla seized his chance and overwhelmed his opponent, eventually stopping him in the seventh.