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2020 Fight Game Media Boxing Awards

2020 fight game media boxing awards

We kick off our year-end awards with boxing. In previous years, we’ve had a lot of different folks participating in our awards. This year, our writers, as well as some old favorites will participate.

The Panel

Duan Greally: Longtime contributor to Fight Game Media and co-host of The Rocky Podcast and The Fabulous Four Podcast
Robert Silva: Boxing writer at Fight Game Media and co-host of the Pound 4 Pound Podcast with Carlos Toro, exclusively on the Fight Game Media Network
Carlos Toro: Boxing writer at Fight Game Media and co-host of the Pound 4 Pound Podcast with Robert Silva, exclusively on the Fight Game Media Network
GG: Editor at Fight Game Media and creator of the Fight Game Media Network

The Categories

Boxer of the Year
Fight of the Year
Breakout Star
Who’s Next

Let’s get to the awards.

Boxer of the Year

Duan: Katie Taylor
When Katie Taylor made the decision to turn pro in 2016 after the worst year of her boxing career, the odds were against her repeating her amateur accomplishments. Four years on, she’s 17-0, a two-weight world champion, undisputed at lightweight and one of the biggest stars in the sport. In a year where most name fighters played a game of wait and see, Taylor kept doing what she’s been doing. First rematching and besting Delfine Persoon in August before dominating Miriam Gutiérrez in November. The latter, a landmark show for Matchroom and Sky topped by three women’s bouts and viewed by over two million people across the UK and Ireland. This has been a banner year for women’s boxing with new stars breaking through and more high-profile match ups being made than ever before. I don’t think that would have been possible without Taylor pushing open the door the way she has.

Duan’s previous winners:
2019: Josh Taylor
2018: Oleksandr Usyk
2017: Anthony Joshua
2016: Vasyl Lomachenko
2015: Canelo Alvarez
2014: Sergey Kovalev
2013: Timothy Bradley
2012: Carl Froch
2011: Andre Ward
2010: Sergio Martinez
2009: Amir Khan
2008: Manny Pacquiao

Robert: Teofimo Lopez
This is an easy choice for me as Lopez fought an intelligently discipled fight against the then consensus pound-for-pound king in Vasyl Lomachenko. Lopez had Lomachenko on his back feet the entire first seven rounds. Lomachenko completely dominated rounds eight through eleven before Lopez finished the fight with an incredible display of offense in the 12th and final round. Lopez has amazing charisma to match his boxing skills and is a potential cash cow for both Top Rank and ESPN.

Robert’s previous winners:
2019: Naoya Inoue
2018: Oleksandr Usyk
2017: Vasyl Lomachenko
2016: Terence Crawford
2015: Canelo Alvarez
2014: Sergey Kovalev
2013: Danny Garcia

Carlos: Teofimo Lopez
In a year that significantly affected the sport, naming a boxer of the year is tougher than ever. In these circumstances, it’s best to look at what was a boxer’s biggest moment or win. When it comes down to it, no win in 2020 was more significant than Lopez’s win over Vasiliy Lomachenko to become the number one lightweight in the world. Brushing aside Lomachenko’s lackluster first half, no boxer was able to beat a more-widely praised pound-for-pound fighter than Lopez did against Lomachenko. It wasn’t just boxing’s biggest win but also a win that defines a career when it’s all said and done.

GG: Teofimo Lopez
No one took a bigger step up in 2020 than Lopez. He talked the talk, put everything on the table, beat the top fighter in the game, and did it with flair.

GG’s previous winners:
2019: Canelo Alverez
2018: Oleksandr Usyk
2017: Vasyl Lomachenko
2016: Andre Ward
2015: Gennady Golovkin
2014: Sergey Kovalev
2013: Floyd Mayweather
2012: Nonito Donaire
2011: Andre Ward
2010: Sergio Martinez
2009: Manny Pacquiao
2008: Manny Pacquiao

Fight Of The Year

Duan: Jose Zepeda Vs Ivan Baranchyk
I’m not sure I’ve seen a fight as wild as this one in all my time watching boxing. Eight knockdowns in five rounds, four a piece with each man at one time picking himself off the canvas to put his opponent down only seconds later. For Baranchyk, it came off a haymaker right when against the ropes in the second, for Zepada, it was a disguised left which closed the show in the fifth – perhaps also the knockout of the year.

Duan’s previous winners:
2019: Josh Taylor Vs Regis Prograis
2018: Dereck Chisora Vs Carlos Takam
2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
2016: Jamie Conlan vs Anthony Nelson
2015: Dave Ryan vs John Wayne Hibbert 2
2014: Tommy Coyle vs Daniel Brizuela
2013: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov
2012: Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado
2011: Erik Morales vs Marcos Maidana
2010: Mikkel Kessler vs Carl Froch
2009: Bernard Dunne vs Ricardo Cordoba
2008: Tie between Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto and Steve Cunningham vs Tomasz Adamek

Robert: Jose Zepeda vs Ivan Baranchyk
It is one of the top five fights of the 21st century. It’s a throwback to the Arturo Gatti wars of the late 90s and early 2000s as both men were knocked down a total of eight times. With about 40 seconds left in round five, Baranchyk knocked Zepeda down with a straight right hand. Then, in going for the kill, Baranchyk walked into a spectacular Zepeda left cross that had Baranchyk go down in such a twisted way that it could’ve easily broken one of his legs. Sensational fight.

Robert’s previous winners:
2019: Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire
2018: Canelo Alvarez Vs Gennady Golovkin 2
2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
2016: Francisco Vargas vs Orlando Salido
2015: Krzysztof Glowacki vs Marco Huck
2014: Lucas Matthysse vs John Molina
2013: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov

Carlos: Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Carlos Cuadras 2
Their first encounter in 2017 was a bonafide classic. Expectations were high for their rematch, this time for the WBC Super Flyweight Title, but no one predicted this would even surpass the first fight. It was an unbelievable back-and-forth with both fighters getting knocked down and a throwback to legendary slugfests of the 1980s. This just narrowly beat out the other presumed favorite (Jose Zepeda vs. Ivan Baranchyk) but what sets this one apart from Zepeda vs. Baranchyk was the level in boxing being a tad higher. It may not have been as chaotically frantic as Zepeda vs. Baranchyk but Estrada vs. Cuadras more than made up for it in boxing excellence. If star ratings were a thing in boxing, Estrada vs. Cuadras would definitely be a five-star match.

GG: Jose Zepeda vs Ivan Baranchyk
I can’t really add to what Duan and Robert already said. This is the right pick. It’s the best fight. But it wasn’t my favorite fight. That would go to Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez Jr. That fight felt like the most important fight of the year and delivered.

GG’s previous winners:
2019: Errol Spence Jr. Vs Shawn Porter
2018: Canelo Alvarez Vs Gennady Golovkin 2
2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
2016: Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
2015: Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura
2014: Terence Crawford vs Yuriorkis Gamboa
2013: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov
2012: Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao IV
2011: Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao III
2010: Amir Khan vs Marcos Maidana
2009: Juan Diaz vs Juan Manuel Marquez
2008: Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto

Breakout Star

Duan: Teofimo Lopez
There was not a better win this year than Lopez’s victory over Vasyl Lomachenko. The 23-year-old delivered when he needed to and proved he belongs at the sports elite level. While I don’t think it made him an instant superstar the way Top Rank and ESPN would like you to believe, I do feel it has put him on the path to becoming that type of attraction. The hard work starts now, but time is on his side and he’s in the right division to do it. If he can stay busy with quality match ups in 2021, he could establish himself as one of boxing’s true crossover stars for a long time to come.

Duan’s previous winners:
2019: Devin Haney
2018: Callum Smith
2017: Ryan Burnett
2016: Anthony Joshua
2015: Tyson Fury
2014: Carl Frampton

Robert: Shakur Stevenson
Within two years, I predict Stevenson will be the best fighter in the world. In his two fights of 2020, Stevenson showcased a defense that is second to none among all active boxers. His defensive acumen at the tender age of 23 is only matched historically at that same age by the holy trinity of degree, Whitaker, Floyd and Pep. He will continue to embarrass fighters defensively for many years to come.

Robert’s previous winners:
2019: Josh Taylor
2018: Naoya Inoue
2017: Anthony Joshua
2016: Errol Spence
2015: Deontay Wilder
2014: Nicholas Walters

Carlos: Edgar Berlanga
If this was a “Prospect Of The Year” award, Berlanga wouldn’t get my vote. However, no prospect has been able to capture the imaginations of fans both hardcore and casual alike quite like Berlanga did. Clocking in at five minutes and one second of in-ring time across 3 fights this year, Berlanga has delivered on the tremendous power that has been advertised, winning all 16 of his career pro bouts in the first round. Even celebrities like Tracy Morgan, 50 Cent, Floyd Mayweather and even Snoop Dogg have taken notice of Berlanga and approved of his skills. The jury is still out on how high his ceiling goes as a pro, but he’s no doubt someone who broke out as a star and will likely continue to do so in 2021.

GG: Shakur Stevenson
Stevenson is another boxer with great confidence who looks like he’s about ready to soar. Obviously, his defensive skillset is excellent. He showed some knockout power earlier this year as well. But it’s really the “it” factor that stands out to me. He has the personality to be a big time prize fighter if his skills continue to grow. What a future this guy has.

GG’s previous winners:
2019: Teofimo Lopez
2018: Josh Warrington
2017: Sri Sor Rungvisai
2016: Joe Smith Jr.
2015: Roman Gonzalez
2014: Terence Crawford

Who’s Next?

Duan: Israil Madrimov
Madrimov has looked to have the makings of a star action fighter since his pro debut. He has certain abilities that are unlike anyone currently in the sport, and while that doesn’t guarantee success, it’s clear the plan is for him to be moved along quickly. Now 6-0, I’d be stunned if he’s not fighting for major titles within the next 12 months. In his first bout post lockdown back in August, he looked ordinary. In 2021, he needs to show that he’s not.

Duan’s previous winners:
2019: Daniel Dubois
2018: Josh Kelly
2017: Joshua Buatsi
2016: Michael Conlan
2015: Callum Smith
2014: Anthony Joshua
2013: Vasyl Lomachenko
2012: Khalid Yafai
2011: Canelo Alvarez
2010: Carl Frampton

Robert: Joe Joyce
Joyce’s workmanlike boxing lesson he gave to the power punching Daniel Dubois showed that he’s more than a viable contender for the heavyweight championship. At the age of 35 and a possessor of the best jab in the division, Joyce will be a dangerous opponent for the top heavyweights Fury and Joshua.

Robert’s previous winners:
2019: Shakur Stevenson
2018: Jarrett Hurd
2017: Errol Spence
2016: Jermall Charlo
2015: Errol Spence
2014: Roman Gonzalez
2013: Keith Thurman

Carlos: Jaron Ennis
It’s a shame his last fight of 2020 ended on a whimper after an accidental head clash caused a nasty cut on Chris van Heerden’s forehead in the first round. However, it doesn’t take away from the incredible potential Ennis has. In a welterweight division that bolsters the likes of Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Yordenis Ugas and more, Ennis has the most room to grow. Between his relentless aggression, his incredible power and speed with a solid ring IQ, Ennis will more than likely win a world title between 2021 and 2022. His ceiling is among the highest in boxing and he will make plenty of noise in the welterweight division next year.

GG: Ryan Garcia
Garcia’s 2021 begins with a bang and really, it’s kind of a prove it or lose it fight for him. He’s far more famous because of social media than other boxers at his level. But he has appeal and will be a big star if he can win big fights like against Luke Campbell, who is 11 years his senior and an Olympic Gold Medalist.

GG’s previous winners:
2019: Vergil Ortiz Jr.
2018: Jaime Munguia
2017: Gary Russell Jr.
2016: Claressa Shields
2015: Anthony Joshua
2014: Nicholas Walters
2013: Ruslan Provodnikov
2012: Floyd Mayweather’s record (predicting Mayweather would lose in 2013)
2011: Miguel Cotto
2010: Amir Khan

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