BEST BRITISH FIGHTER
The 2008 Olympic gold medallist made history in May when he outpointed Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF world super-middleweight title, becoming the first British boxer to win an Olympic gold medal and a professional world title.‘Chunky’ had to travel to Boston for his first crack at world honours and took it with both hands, dropping the highly talented Dirrell in the second before going on to win on all three judges’ scorecards.
Honourable mentions: Lee Selby, Kell Brook, Andy Lee, Lee Haskins
BEST BRITISH FIGHT
Jorge Linares w TKO 10 Kevin Mitchell
In his third attempt at a lightweight world title, Mitchell came closer than he ever had against the Venezuelan at The O2 in May. Doggedly concentrated, the Dagenham man boxed well in the early stages and in the fifth put the champion down. Carnage ensued as Mitchell sought the finish and Linares rallied back. Firmly in the ascendency, Mitchell’s left eye suffered a huge gash in the eighth. Linares began to take over before bludgeoning the brave Brit into submission in the dying seconds of the 10th.
Honourable mentions: Dave Ryan w RSF 9 John Wayne Hibbert, Nav Mansouri w SD 10 Sam Sheedy, Eubank Jr w RSF 12 Dmitry Chudinov
BEST INTERNATIONAL FIGHTER
After years of waiting, Floyd Mayweather finally met Manny Pacquiao in a boxing ring on May 2. While the fight itself may not have lived up to expectations, Mayweather dominated a man who was supposed to prove his toughest test. While he may not be TBE (The Best Ever, one of his many monikers), the unbeaten star proved he is the best of his generation and cemented his legacy with the almost flawless points win over Pacquiao. While other overseas fighters have also excelled this year, it’s hard to look beyond Mayweather’s historic feat.
Honourable mentions: Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez, Amnat Ruenroeng, Shawn Porter
BEST INTERNATIONAL FIGHT
Jamie McDonnell w UD 12 Tomoki Kameda
There have been some stellar dust-ups across the world in 2015, but McDonnell’s narrow points victory over the unbeaten Kameda to retain his WBA world bantamweight title was special. While exciting fights such as Lucas Matthysse’s win over Ruslan Provodnikov or David Lemieux’s over Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam were pulsating, they were also relatively one-sided while McDonnell-Kameda went down to the wire. Dropped in the third, the Doncaster fighter – who travelled to Hidalgo, Texas, without his aerophobic trainer Dave Hulley – rose to match his Japanese adversary for the remainder of the gruelling bout. At times the challenger threatened to take over, but McDonnell adapted his tactics and showed impressive resolve to eke out the decision. The action was non-stop and the win significantly enhanced the Brit’s reputation.
Honourable mentions: Lucas Matthysse w MD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov, David Lemieux w UD 12 Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Omar Figueroa w UD 12 Ricky Burns, Sergey Kovalev w RSF 8 Jean Pascal
Andzrej Fonfara w RTD 9 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
Having not fought since March last year, Chavez Jr was not in any kind of form ahead of his light-heavyweight clash with world-title contender Fonfara in April, but he was still tipped to win. While he was not expected to dominate the Pole, who had given Adonis Stevenson a good fight last year, the fight was planned as a decent springboard for Chavez’s new deal with US broadcasters Showtime. By the end of the first round, those plans seemed all but over. Fonfara was in control for the entire fight, hurting the especially durable Chavez Jr on numerous occasions. He dropped him in the ninth and to the surprise of many, the 29-year-old refused to come out for the 10th round.
Honourable mentions: Badou Jack w MD 12 Anthony Dirrell, Fedor Chudinov w SD 12 Felix Sturm
Saul Alvarez w KO 3 James Kirkland
The flame-haired Mexican sensation was coming off of his narrow points victory over Erislandy Lara when he took on the dangerous Kirkland, but he rendered the judges useless when he unleashed an almighty right hand to despatch of James. While the finishing shot was impressive enough, ‘Canelo’ had already dropped Kirkland twice with his vicious onslaughts.
Honourable mentions: Zolani Tete w RSF 8 Paul Butler, Miguel Cotto w RSF 4 Daniel Geale, Gennady Golovkin w RSF 6 Willie Monroe Jr, Lee Haskins w RSF 6 Ryosuke Iwasa
WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR
The Montreal-based Russian is a late starter to the pro game having made the transition from the unpaid ranks two years ago at the age of 28, but in just nine fights the light-heavyweight prospect has already created a serious buzz. While plenty of the sport’s future stars, such as Errol Spence Jr and Felix Verdejo, have looked impressive this year, Beterbiev has looked destructive against former world champion Gabriel Campillo and Alexander Johnson, maintaining his 100% knockout ratio in the process. At 30, the former standout amateur is on the fast-track in a division that includes Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson as world champions.
Honourable mentions: Errol Spence Jr, Felix Verdejo, Anthony Joshua, Gilberto Ramirez, Joseph Parker
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