Pound4poundireland’s 2017 Fighter of the Year

Rungvisai Gonzalez Boxing

Fighter of the Year

1. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

2. Vasyl Lomachenko

3. Mikey Garcia

Mikey Garcia reminded everyone of his talent this year, continuing his comeback from a long layoff to first destroy titlist Dejan Zlaticanin at lightweight in a KO of the year candidate, then dominate Adrien Broner at 140.

“No Mas-chenko” was coined in boxing lore thanks to consecutive schoolings in 2017 of Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and (the admittedly much smaller) Guillermo Rigondeaux, all of which resulted in corner retirements, cementing Vasyl Lomachenko near the top of everyone’s estimations of boxing’s top fighter.

Wouldn’t it be great to see Lomachenko-Garcia in 2018? A shame that promotional differences, maybe size too, will keep them apart, at least for now.

The outstanding fighter of 2017 to my eyes was the formerly unheralded Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Prior to 2017, the Thai, birth name Wisaksil Wangek, a former kickboxer of over 50 professional fights, was most known for a brief 115lb. title run that ended in a cut-shortened defeat to Carlos Cuadras in 2014.

But, having not faced a fighter with a decent record in two years, he fought a savage war with consensus pound for pound #1 and undefeated lower weight legend Roman Gonzalez, coming out with a hotly debated decision win, one which I felt he had earned.

All debate was quenched in the immediate rematch 6 months later, when Rungvisai stepped it up yet another gear and flattened Gonzalez brutally in the fourth round.

He’s earned his place among boxing’s elite, will have a chance to further his case against another lower weight darling when he takes on Juan Francisco Estrada next month, and is the Pound4poundireland Fighter of the Year for 2017.

 

Fights to look forward to in 2018?

Note: I’ve kept this list to bouts that can realistically happen next year, hence why you won’t see any fights like Burnett-Tete or Kovalev-Beterbiev on this list that are likely prevented by promotional/TV differences etc.

1. Tyson Fury- Anthony Joshua

Now that Fury’s UKAD situation has finally been sorted out, he can end his two year plus layoff and this long-discussed fight can approach becoming a reality.

It’s probably a long shot for 2018, but here’s hoping.

2. Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder

More likely in the immediate future is AJ vs. Wilder for all of the sanctioning body marbles, arguably the most exciting fight that can be made in boxing.

3. Oleksandr Usyk-Murat Gassiev/Yunier Dorticos

As long as Usyk beats Mairis Breidis in his World Boxing Super Series semi, this fight should happen in the final to determine ultimate cruiserweight supremacy.

4. Sergey Kovalev-Dmitry Bivol

Bivol recently signed with Main Events and if Kovalev is really on the wane, perhaps a win in a fight like this could be what launches Bivol to stardom at the expense of his promotional stablemate.

5. George Groves/Chris Eubank Jr.-Callum Smith

Groves-Eubank in February is already as good as it gets in terms of matchmaking, but an expected showdown between the winner and Callum Smith in the WBSS final comes close to as mouthwatering.

6. Gennady Golovkin-Saul Alvarez II

This is a rematch that probably wouldn’t have been necessary if the judges had gotten things right the first time, but it’s still a fight that will be hugely anticipated.

With Canelo in his prime as both a boxer and darling of the judges, and Golovkin looking like he’s slowed down, maybe this will be the Mexican’s crowning glory.

7. Gennady Golovkin/Saul Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders

The winner will have to face slick and underrated Billy Joe Saunders for undisputed 160lb. supremacy, however, and let’s hope that happens by this time next year.

8. Keith Thurman-Errol Spence

This is the obvious fight to be made at 147 (at least until Terence Crawford establishes himself at the new weight), but whether it will happen or not is a different question.

Thurman has expressed reluctance, expressing his preference to push it back until 2019 and admitting he’s lost some of his hunger for boxing.

9. Lee Selby-Carl Frampton

If Selby schools Josh Warrington as expected and Frampton overcomes a potentially dangerous fight with Nonito Donaire, this is the final destination that would make most sense.

They have the same promoter, Frampton wants another world title shot and Selby is looking for his defining fights after a few years in the wilderness.

10. Naoya Inoue-Srisaket Sor Rungvisai/Juan Francisco Estrada

It’s a shame that Inoue will possibly not stick around at 115lbs. long enough to meet the winner of the excellent upcoming SSR-Estrada fight, but why not just make it for 118 instead?

Pound4poundireland’s 2017 Fight, Knockout, Round, Prospect, Upset and Trainer of the Year

Fight of the Year

1. Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko

2. Dominic Breazeale-Izuagbe Ugonoh

3. Orlando Salido-Miguel Roman

Knockout of the Year

1.  Zolani Tete ko1 Sibonsino Gonya

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/full-fight-video-zolani-tete-vs-sibonsino-gonya-fastest-world-title-ko-in-history/

2. Jermell Charlo ko1 Erickson Lubin

3. Carlos Daniel Cordoba ko6 Martin Ariel Ruiz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0ti_zenlbU (@ 5:45)

Round of the Year

1. Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko Round 5

2. Roarke Knapp-John Bopape Round 3

3. Dominic Breazeale-Izuagbe Ugonoh Round 3

Prospect of the Year

1. Josh Kelly

2. Jaime Munguia

3. Vergil Ortiz Jr.

Upset of the Year

1. Caleb Truax MD12 James DeGale

2. Jeff Horn UD12 Manny Pacquiao

3. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai MD12 Roman Gonzalez

 

Trainer of the Year

Derrick James – for his work with Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence