Fighter of the Year

I will break down my fighter of the year after shortlisting 6 fighters from around the world and their achievements which have earned them a spot in my list.

Number 6: Anthony Joshua – GBR

Joshua had a very decent 2017 and just kept George Groves of my list, he secured the IBO and WBA world championship titles beating the legendary Vladimir Klitschko in a modern day classic. He stopped the 40 year old legend in front of 90,000 screaming fans at Wembley arena in the 11th round. I remember watching this in my Jerusalem hotel room screaming down the suite at 3am, the fight was that engaging. The contest was full of twist and turns but my admiration was more for the 40 year old than the Brit, as he outboxed the younger man for large portions of the fight. However Joshua showed heart and courage to secure the victory. In the 2nd half of the year Joshua defended his titles against Carlos Takam in front of another sell out crowd of 75,000 at the principality stadium in Cardiff. Joshua isn’t here because of his displays but because he dethroned a legend and sold out 2 of the 4 biggest stadiums in the UK, as well as unifying the heavyweight division.

2018 –  We look forward to AJ attempting to unify the division first fighting Joseph parker on the 31st March again in Cardiff and then hopefully Deontay Wilder at Wembley stadium in the Summer before a late clash with the lineal champion Tyson Fury.

Number 5: Wisaksil Wangek aka Srisaket sor Rungvisa – Thailand

Rungvisai scored 2 massive victories over a P4P lister who many placed at the number 1 spot. His 1st victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was heavily contested by boxing fans and some experts as he was out landed by Gonzalez over the 12 rounds. Chocalatito was undefeated in 46 fights and had held titles in numerous weight divisions before Wisaksil Wangek beat him on points. In their second fight however Wangek left no room for disputes by knocking down and then knocking out Chocolatito within 4 rounds. It was a performance that has propelled him to the forefront of the super flyweight division.

2018: It would be great to see Rungvisai attempt to unify the division against the WBA champion Khalid Yafai or the undefeated Naoye Inoue who is a 2 weight champion rumoured to be moving up a weight class.

 

Number 4: Vasyl Lomachenko – UKR

The 29 year Ukrainian who now many refer to as No Mas Chenko fought 3 times in 2017 forcing all 3 fighters to retire on their stools. The guy is so skilled he breaks the souls of his opponents to the point where they lose the will to engage in battle any further. 1 of those 3 fighters was Guillermo Rigondeaux who is an exceptional fighter but was 10 years older than Loma and 2 weight devisions below. Lomachenko himself admitted that it wasn’t such a big win due to these facts, even though Rigo was on the P4P list and many thought it would be significantly closer than the 1 sided fight we witnessed. The other 2 victories were over good but not elite level fighters but they were convincing and to an extent humiliating wins. Marriaga was a former world title challenger, while Sosa was a world champion who vacated to fight Loma.

2018 – Ideally we want to see Lomachenko finally unify a division by fighting the other champions or moving up another weight class to tackle established champions such as Jorge Linares or Mikey Garcia.

Number 3: Jermell Charlo – USA

The younger of the Charlo twins may be smaller in size but punch for punch probably hits harder than his older brother. He fought twice in 2017, both of them ended in brutal knock out of the year contenders. The 1st came in April against number 1 contender Charles Hatley, the KO showcasing Charlo’s brutal punch power. However the more impressive victory came against prospect of the year and highly talented Knockout artist Erickson Lubin. Charlo showed excellent timing and power to dispatch of the highly rated Lubin within 1 round.

2018 – Unification seems to be the theme at 154lbs with the Jarrett Hurd or Sadam Ali fights most likely as Charlo trains alongside WBC champion Erislandy Lara. However with Sadam fighting on HBO and Lara considering moving up it opens the door for Jermell to pick up his brothers former belt.

 

Number 2: Mikey Garcia – USA

Mikey was on the p4p list before he began having contractual issues,as soon as he was free to compete again he began to show exactly why. In 2017 he moved up to lightweight to strip the undefeated Dejan Zlaticanin of his WBC crown with a KO of the year candidate. He then moved up to super lightweight/Junior Welterweight to outclass the multi-weight champion Adrien Broner. To move up twice in 2 fights, remain undefeated and beat 2 world champions definitely earns Mikey a spot on this list.

2018 – It’s quite simple for Garcia, win another world title in a 4th weight class by beating the undefeated Sergey Lipinets for his IBF world title.

 

Number 1: Terence Crawford – USA

Terence Crawford is an undeafeted American who this year became the undisputed champion at 140lbs. He became the first person to hold all 4 major world championship belts belts in the Junior welterweight devision, adding the Ring title for god measure. He wouldve had the IBO title also but refused to pay their sanctioning fees. The last time all 4 titles were on the line was when Jermaine Taylor defeated Bernard Hopkins in 2005. Crawford’s 2017 also saw him forcing former Olympic Gold medalist and world champion Felix Diaz to retire on his stool, before beating little known but excellent fighter in Julius Indongo to unify the division.

2018: Crawford has a world title shot at 147lbs (not confirmed yet) where he will be moving up to, facing Australian Jeff Horn. If we can get past all the boxing politics we may see him in the ring with some excellent fighters such as Amir Khan, Keith Thurman and of course Errol Spence Jr.

Notable mentions and absentees

  • George Groves
  • Chris Eubank
  • GGG
  • Sadam Ali
  • Erroll Spence Jr
  • Andre Ward