It’s the time of year when we look back and reflect on what’s happened in the last 12 months. In the boxing world the RING Magazine, the Boxing Hall of Fame and, of course, the Paddy Power Awards are some of the most prestigious annual events.
At Paddy Power, we recognise the fight of the year, the best KO and the top boxer in 2018, but any fighter will tell you the hard work happens outside of the ring, so we also have awards for the best interview, the most out of control practitioner of the sweet science and the dressing room disaster trophy.
Credit where credit’s due.
AWARD FOR … FIGHT OF THE YEAR
The stand-out scraps for sheer quality have to be Golovkin-Canelo 2 and Lomachenko-Linares – whenever two top ten pound-for-pound stars meet in the ring you’re guaranteed something special.
In terms of brutality, Chisora-Takam was on another level to almost everything else this year.
But the fight that had it all – titles on the line, knock downs, skill, pre-fight drama and post-fight controversy – is Wilder-Fury.
The bout was scored a draw but we all know Tyson won, what nobody can work out is, how did the big man get up in the 12th?
And the winner is … Wilder-Fury.
AWARD FOR … BEST KO
Dereck Chisora’s double right hand devastation of Carlos Takam will be a popular choice, while Teofimo Lopez’s first round one-punch finish is the favourite of the hardcore boxing nuts. Naoya Inoue represents the lighter weights with his levelling of the world class Juan Carlos Payano with a one-two.
Dillian Whyte’s icing of Lucas Browne is a close runner-up, because everybody loves a face-plant finish, but the triumphant KO is Alexander Povetkin switching off David Price with a right hand before unleashing a huge left hook on the defenceless Scouser.
And the winner is … Alexander Povetkin.
AWARD FOR … BOXER OF THE YEAR
To win this award you need to have a perfect record this year and you must be a bit special to stand out from the crowd. 6’6” super welterweight (that’s a lean 154 pounds, 11 stone, or 69.8kg) Seb Fedura, with three KO wins this year, fits the bill, but after only 11 pro bouts this title has come a little too soon for the 20 year old Mexican-American Peter Crouch.
Oleksandr Usyk won three times this year against the three best cruiserweights other than himself, picking up the World Boxing Super Series title and all four major belts in the process. The Ukrainian funnyman even made Tony Bellew smile on fight-week – maybe the toughest task of the lot.
And the winner is … Oleksandr Usyk.
AWARD FOR … BEST INTERVIEW
There is no competition for Prince Naseem Hamed’s rant after Chris Eubank Jr’s points defeat to George Groves in February. Naz tore into Junior for his performance, saying the failed title challenger is not a good boxer and calling for 28 year old to retire despite only having suffered just his second defeat.
And the winner is … Naz Hamed.
AWARD FOR … MOST WELL BEHAVED FIGHTER
There is one man this year who has stood head and shoulders above any other boxer as a dream to work with.
Six foot nine David Price signed up to fight at the last minute for Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, he’s been relentlessly amiable for fans and media, and he’s given his opponents every chance to knock him out.
This weekend Price has a chance to record his first win of the year, but he’s such a nice guy I’m sure he’ll accept another punishing stoppage loss.
And the winner is … David Price.
AWARD FOR … MOST OUT OF CONTROL FIGHTER
Most of the wildest characters in boxing have had a quiet year: Tyson Fury is on the straight and narrow, Adrien Broner is merely leading some of boxing’s brightest talents astray and Brandon Rios has been less vocal since piling on the pounds and getting beaten up by bigger boys.
Roy Jones Jr is still boxing at 49 and someone needs to have a word, but it’s Canelo who’s clearly out of control. The ginger Mexican has the power of the most notorious cartel boss – he gets reduced sentences for drug offences, he’s judged favourably in tight fights and he’s raking in hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
And the winner is … Canelo Alvarez.
AWARD FOR … BEST COMEBACK
Coming back to boxing from drug and alcohol problems, depression and obesity is a mighty feat, but Tyson Fury’s performances in the ring weren’t captivating the world…until Saturday, December 1.
‘The Gypsy King’ demonstrated stunning all-round boxing skills against Deontay Wilder to complete an awesome comeback.
And the winner is … Tyson Fury.
AWARD FOR … BEST MEME INSPIRED BY A BOXING MOMENT
Wilder’s face when Fury got up in the 12th session was just too good.
‘The Bronze Bomber’ was strutting off around the ring after flattening his opponent, but a sideways glance six seconds later and he realised the fight wasn’t done. Pair that sequence with the appropriate audio from ‘Snatch’ and it’s the perfect meme.
And the winner is … Deontay Wilder.
The look on Wilders face when Fury got back up ?? pic.twitter.com/c1Gj6tNU26
— GoonerWez (@BigWezza) December 2, 2018
AWARD FOR … A YEAR TO FORGET
Billy Joe Saunders hasn’t appeared in the ring in 2018 but he’s been a busy boy. The Hatfield man arranged two fights with Martin Murray but mugged him off twice, he caused a stir on social media with some really poorly judged actions and the champ had to give up his belt when he used a dodgy nasal spray. Saunders has had a stinker.
And the winner is … Billy Joe Saunders.
AWARD FOR … DRESSING ROOM DISASTER
Demetrius Andrade’s early English colonialist look for the ill-fated Billy Joe Saunders bout was a serious wardrobe malfunction, Jono Carroll took hipster beards about five inches too far in early December, but the winner is Deontay again – for that shocking mad king crow ring walk costume.
And the winner is … Deontay Wilder.
AWARD FOR … TRIUMPH AGAINST THE ODDS
Joe Hughes was born with Erbs Palsy, a condition which resulted in his right arm being significantly shorter and weaker than his left arm. You might think that boxing is not the sport for that guy, but after using it as physiotherapy as a kid he turned pro in 2010, and the tenacious bastard won the European title in November.
And the winner is … Joe Hughes.