Year End Awards
Fighter of the Year:
Carl Frampton - sure he only had two wins but they were the two best out of anyone out there by taking the 0's of two top fighters in two different divisions. He first beat Scott Quigg in front of a sellout crowd at Manchester Arena and then it was Leo Santa Cruz at The Barclays Center in New York. Only two wins but I must ask: why vote for more wins that are subpar? I will take quality over quantity.
Fight of the Year:
Francisco Vargas vs Orlando Salido - it's a classic slugfest that set a compubox record with 1593 punches thrown in the Jr. Lightweight division plus 615 power punches landed. Those stats tell the story of a great fight without even watching it.
Round of the Year:
Robert Easter Jr vs Richard Commey Round 9 - brutally tough fight between two undefeated power punching prospects that was very close at the start of ninth round. Easter had just been blasted with the best right hand Commey could throw in the eighth round but these two young guns warred it out in the ninth like their futures depended on it. Easter showed guts and amazing conditioning by turning the momentum of the fight back in his favor as he threw everything plus the kitchen sink at Commey, who was all too happy to oblige back as neither man wanted to lose this one. Very underrated fight and I think the ninth round was the best of it.
Knockout of the year:
Mason Menard KO3 Eudy Bernardo - look at the insane leverage he got on that right hand for the knockout. With the elbow up like it was you can't hit someone any harder with that punch. Plus he's a puncher. Bernardo was out before he hit the canvas.
Event of the year:
Roman Gonzalez vs Carlos Cuadras and Yoshihiro Kamegai vs Jesus Soto Karass at The Forum. Both fights had fight of the year potential and one is very historic on top of it with Chocolatito winning a title in his fourth weight class - an accomplishment that his late great trainer and mentor Alexis Arguello would not quite achieve.
Promoter of the year:
Eddie Hearn - easy choice here as he has been the driving force behind British fighters overtaking the boxing scene with Matchroom Sport. Hearn is also the most easily accessible name promoter. He is passionate about the sport and very easy to talk to; what more could fans and media ask for?
Most improved fighter:
Joe Smith Jr - look at his smoker fights where he was a club level fighter and look at him now. For a construction worker I would say rising to the world class level is quite the achievement.
Comeback of the Year:
Denis Shafikov - coming off a loss in December 2015 he went from back list semi-obscurity among fans to beating the All American undefeated Marine Jamel Herring soundly on the Fourth of July, then followed up with another upset win over tough Richard Commey. Suddenly he isn't so underrated anymore and actually has a growing fan base. Close second is Yordenis Ugas since he went from amateur standout to pro rank obscurity and now is relevant again after beating two highly ranked undefeated prospects.
Prospect of the Year:
Ryan Martin - not only does his "blue chip" nickname speak the truth but he has the advantage of getting out there on big cards compared to some other prospects. Since he is promoted by K2 Promotions he has appeared on GBP, Top Rank, and even PBC events and dominated every fight while taking boxing seriously by moving to Big Bear to train with Abel Sanchez and get top level sparring.
Trainer of the Year:
Abel Sanchez - GGG, Gassiev, Ruiz, Shafikov, and he is developing more prospects on the radar now too. Sanchez has now undeniably cracked into the upper elite level echelon of trainers.
Upset of the Year:
Joe Smith Jr. KO1 Andrzej Fonfara - this was by far the most emotional outpour I have ever witnessed at a fight. As luck would have it I was situated right next to Smiths family and friends for the fight and it was about every emotion in the book all at once as they knew Joe's life had just changed in an instant and invariably theirs. Add to that the fact that Joe was a 20/1 or deeper underdog and the nature in which he won was really something astonishing.