Boxing in 2017 will live long in the memory of fight fans for a long time with box office mega-bouts and mismatches making for an entertaining 12 months of stoppages and shocks.
Anthony Joshua rose to the top of the heavyweight division while Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez gave us a middleweight clash that didn’t disappoint after years of waiting.
There was no shortage of stunning knockouts and thrilling encounters. Conor McGregor bulldozing his way into a billion dollar fight split the boxing world while Terence Crawford created history across the pond.
Here we take a look back at some of the best and worst moments in the ring this year.
BIGGEST MOUTH OF THE YEAR – CONOR MCGREGOR
Some may be aghast to see Conor McGregor honoured in the boxing awards, but no one can deny the Irishman can talk.
His outrageous one-liners and over-the-top persona literally willed an unlikely Floyd Mayweather fight into reality. It was a car crash that no one could look away from and earned the UFC star a pretty penny.
So not only is McGregor the trash talker of the year, he’ll also go down as the richest active fighter in boxing too.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR – JOSHUA VS KLITSCHKO
The war at Wembley between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will go down as one of the most enthralling heavyweight contests of the modern era.
It was billed as student versus mentor and attracted 90,000 plus fans to Wembley Stadium by the sheer magnitude of the event.
There was no trash talking and both heavyweights said all they needed to say in the ring. Joshua climbed off the canvas for the first time in his career to stop Klitschko and put simply, it was a joy to witness.
SHAMBLES OF THE YEAR – SCORECARDS
Scoring in boxing is still a mixed bag and suspect judges have exposed the ugly side of the sport multiple times this year.
Not taking into account the ridiculous scoring across Britain, Gennady Golovkin’s and Canelo Alvarez’s epic showdown was overshadowed by some seriously insane scoring.
Scorecards continue to pull focus from the action and are a talking point from top to bottom in boxing with Conor Benn’s most recent victory raising eyebrows as much as Adelaide Byrd’s GGG-Alvarez scorecard.
BREAKOUT STAR OF 2017 – SRISAKET SOR RUNGVISAI
You don’t beat Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez twice in one year and not get noticed.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai became the first man to defeat Gonzalez and then improved on that result when he knocked out the elite fighter in September.
It is a remarkable achievement for the 30-year-old who had spent almost the entirety of his career competing in Thailand. The win fired Rungvisai into the pound-for-pound rankings and kicked Gonzalez out of the top ten.
Honourable mentions: Katie Taylor and Errol Spence Jr.
FUNNIEST MOMENT – ‘No Mas-Chenko’
We’ve had quite the year of strange and funny moments in boxing from Mikaela Lauren planting a kiss on Cecilia Braekhus during a face-off, to McGregor rubbing Mayweather’s head.
But, one of the most entertaining moments of the year came when Vasyl Lomachenko gave himself the new nickname of ‘No Mas-chenko’.
The Ukrainian is fast becoming one of the greatest boxers ever and took Guillermo Rigondeaux to pieces in their New York showdown.
After the 4th consecutive opponent throws in the towel against Lomachenko, the WBO junior lightweight champion has an idea. pic.twitter.com/UkLsL3H68G
— ESPN (@espn) December 10, 2017
Honourable mention: Chris Eubank Sr telling ring girls to get of out of Jr’s shot
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR – DAVID HAYE
David Haye gets the nod here in a year that has seen him promise to hospitalise Tony Bellew and pull out of a Christmas fight.
The Londoner was happy to play the villain in his fight with Bellew in March, but his confidence spectacularly backfired on him as he was beaten by Bellew.
Haye then had to pull out of the scheduled rematch less than a month beforehand after he fell down the stairs.
The December 17 showdown was canceled to deprive British boxing fans of one final showdown in the year and lower the general public’s estimation of Haye once again.
MOST IMPROVED FIGHTER – RYAN BURNETT
Ryan Burnett was the British bantamweight champion in October of last year, but closes out 2017 as a unified world champion.
The Northern Irishman won the IBF belt in June with a destruction of Lee Haskins before adding the WBA (Super) strap in October with another commanding display.
Burnett fought three times in 2017 and fans will be hopeful Eddie Hearn will allow Burnett to go for further unification fights in 2018.
Honourable mention: Josh Kelly, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Jeff Horn.
SHOCK OF THE YEAR – DEGALE BEATEN IN LONDON
It has to be Caleb Truax’s defeat of James DeGale in London to strip the IBF super-middleweight champion of his belt.
DeGale was 1/200 going into the contest and on paper picked an easy opponent after coming off an injury lay-off and a big fight against Badou Jack.
Truax was ranked the 55th best super-middleweight in the world when he crossed the water to take on DeGale and beat him in convincing fashion.
Honourable mention: Jeff Horn beating Manny Pacquiao, Tony Bellew stopping David Haye, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai beating Roman Gonzalez TWICE.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR – WAR AT WEMBLEY
This too goes to WBA (Super) and IBF champion Joshua.
There were a lot of eye-catching comebacks, but none quite as remarkable as Joshua’s, considering what was on the line for the young champion.
Joshua was knocked down for the first time in his career and was close to being finished for the next four rounds before staging a thrilling comeback.
And it was all done in front of 90,000 pairs of eyes in a historic night at Wembley against one of the greatest heavyweight champions ever. Not too shabby.
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – LOMACHENKO VS RIGONDEUAX
Lomachenko officially announced himself as the king of boxing by dismantling fellow double-Olympic champion Rigondeaux in December.
The junior lightweight champion showed off his incredible speed, unmatched footwork and remarkable guile against Rigondeuax and after six rounds, his opponent literally decided he had had enough.
Rigondeuax became the fourth fighter in a row to retire on his stool against Lomachenko and it’s hard to argue the 29-year-old does not deserve the pound-for-pound top spot.
KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR – LEMIEUX VS STEVENS
Knockout of the year is often a contentious issue. There have been some stellar stoppages in 2017 like Mikey Garcia’s thundering hook and Zolani Tete finishing Siboniso Gonya with his first punch after just 11 seconds on their world title fight.
But, we’re going to go with David Lemieux who backed up his heavy hitter reputation once again this year when he put Curtis Stevens to sleep in their March fight.
The left hook was so devastating, Stevens went out immediately and almost rolled out of the ring.
BOXER OF THE YEAR – TERENCE CRAWFORD
The 30-year-old American created history this year by beating Julius Indongo in May.
Terence Crawford joined an elite club of champions to hold all four major world titles (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, as well as The Ring and lineal) in one division.
Only Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins, and Cecilia Braekus can count themselves in the same category of Crawford.
He also beat Felix Diaz earlier in the year with his record currently at 32-0.
Runner-up: Vasyl Lomachenko
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