1)Prospect Of The Year. Vergil Ortiz the Dallas Native has had an amazing 2018 going 3 for 3 with 3 KO’S to run his overall record to 11-0 (11). WAt just 20-years-old Ortiz is already the brightest star in De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Stable and is in good hands with trainer Robert Garcia. We also won’t have to wait long to see how he has improved and what he does for an encore to follow up to being named prospect of the year. We will get to see him on January 26th against Abraham Cordero on the Munguia/Inoue card at the Toyota Center in Houston!
2) Best Fighter You have never heard of it- Alessandro Riguccini the 30-year-old undefeated Italian welterweight is finally starting to open some eyes and garner some attention. He went 2-0 with winning both matchups by relatively easy stoppage. In his last time out he traveled to Mexico and stopped undefeated prospect Andres Villaman to capture the interim WBC Silver Welterweight Title, The Italian champ has an interesting story that includes up and moving to Cuba to improve his boxing skills. He fights predominately in Mexico and has a combination of styles that includes European as well as Cuban and Mexican components.
3) Robbery Of The Year – This was a tough one with so many attractions scorecards this year. However, we will go with the biggest fight! Tyson Fury took at least nine maybe 10 rounds against Wilder making him look really bad and amateur at times. Out working and outlanding him round after round, we thought he was pilling up the points to a one-sided UD until two judges did the unthinkable. One scoring the fight a draw and the other Alejandro Rochin scoring the bout 115-111 for Wilder. Fury pulled off an amazing comeback in 2018 that should have concluded with him being the WBC and Lineal heavyweight champ of the world but two judges took that away from the Gypsy King
4) Trainer Of The Year- When you have two fighters in the top five pound for pound fighters in the world and those two fighters go 5-0 you are going to win this award. That’s why Anatoly Lomachenko is our 2018 trainer of the year! Sure Robert Garcia and Andre Rozier are outstanding candidates for this award as they are every year and so is Kevin Cunningham, but none of those guys have two fighters in the top five pound for pound.
5) Round Of The Year- This should be fairly obvious, the final stanza between Wilder and Fury was absolutely epic, it isn’t just the round of the year it is simply one of the most dramatic and memorable rounds in the history of the heavyweight division and the history of boxing. Wilder, seemingly having lost nearly every round and in desperation mode lands a left hook/Right-hand two-piece that puts Fury on the floor and out cold. Fury awakes like The Undertaker and gets to his feet, but with way, too much time left in the round. He somehow not only hangs on but goes on to badly hurts Wilder at the end of the unforgettable round.
6) Knockout Of The Year- This was a great year for knockouts, big names like Danny Garcia, Errol Spence, Naoya Inoue, and superstar prospect Teofimo Lopez all made a really good case for this award. But Dillian Whyte places first and second place in this category in 2018. With his KO of Chisora taking the runner-up and his brutal way too violent, not fit for British TV KO of Lucas Browne was the clear winner of this year’s award. A Knock out so violent Sky Sports wouldn’t show the replay. That didn’t stop HBO from airing it over and over and over again in the US as the KO was akin to trainwreck you couldn’t look but you also couldn’t look away.
7) Performance of the Year- Saving the best for last the Whyte/Chisora undercard was supposed to be a platform to exalt Cristofer Rosales into another stratosphere. Charlie Edwards would have had to fight brilliantly to not get knocked out by the high powered hard hitting Nicaraguan flyweight. He would have to hand in not a nearly perfect performance to pull the upset, it would have to be absolutely perfect and he’d have to change his style and fight off the back foot and expose Rosales. That’s exactly what Edwards did, handing in a picture perfect performance that defined ring generalship that no one thought he was capable.
8) Fight Of The Year- Erislandy Lara entered his 154-pound unification bout with Jarrett Swift Hurd as a sizeable favorite to outbox and school the young, tough Hurd. That looked to be the case early. But as we have grown to expect from Swift Hurd he began breaking down Lara, and Lara’s legs seemed to give way as he boxed well but was stationary fighting into the hands of the bigger, stronger, younger heavier hitting Hurd. Going into the last round the fight was 50/50 and completely up for grabs. When Swift got to Lara and dropped him in dramatic fashion and nearly stopped him altogether. The Cuban pro was able to hang around but dropped the very close decision. By scores of 114-113 x2 for Hurd and 114-113 once for Lara.
9) Fighter of The Year- Last Year it was the little man Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who came out of nowhere to capture the Fighter Of The Year award. This Year it was a champion who was on the verge of superstardom and being a pound for pound elite who cleaned out the cruiserweight division become undisputed, capture the Muhammad Ali Trophy and then sign with Eddie Hearn and DAZN, and make a career-high purse by brutally knocking out Tony Bellew in Manchester. It was a banner year for Ukraine boxing as well as the Usyk training camp in particular, sweeping the Fighter of the Year and Trainer Of The Year awards. It certainly appears that Hearn signed Usyk to challenge the rest of his stable of heavyweights. 2019 should be an interesting year that may see the undisputed king of the cruiser’s challenge for the heavyweight throne.