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2015: A GOLDEN YEAR FOR BOXING

by James Oddy

2015 was a magical year for British boxing. Newly crowned world champions and entertaining mouth-watering domestic fights, British boxers are enjoying a golden era. Here we look back at which boxing personalities rose to the pinnacle in 2015.

INTERNATIONAL BOXER OF THE YEAR – Tyson Fury
Tyson FuryLove him or loathe him, the Lancastrian giant shocked the world in late November by beating Wladimir Klitschko. Many felt Fury would get blown away; some felt he would be out-boxed by a long term world champion. Instead, Fury moved intelligently and made Wladimir look old in the process, catching him with considered counter shots. In a year where the sport has seen a passing of the guard, this was the most unexpected and all the more thrilling for it.
Runners ups; Roman Gonzalez, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Saul Alvarez

Nick BlackwellDOMESTIC BOXER OF THE YEAR – Nick Blackwell
Blackwell is proof that a defeat doesn’t have to mean the end for a young boxer. With no amateur experience outside of the world of unlicensed fighting, the Wiltshire man learnt on the job, gaining credit for pushing the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray hard despite not picking up the win. This year he picked up the British middleweight title against big hitting John Ryder, before beating talented and unbeaten Leeds based southpaw Damon Jones in an engaging fight. He rounded the year off with a challenging encounter with extremely late replacement Jack Arnfield, showing that he has a great ring IQ alongside a superb engine.
Runners ups: Sam Eggington, Anthony Joshua, Callum Smith.

Takashi Miura of Japan (L) defends against Francisco Vargas of Mexico (R) during their WBC super featherweight title fight on November 21, 2015 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vargas, knocked down in the fourth round for the first time in his career, went on dethrone Miura with a ninth round TKO. AFP PHOTO / JOHN GURZINSKI

FIGHT OF THE YEAR – Francisco Vargas TKO9 Takashi Miura
Perhaps not two house hold names, but this WBC featherweight clash was a brilliant mesh of styles. Vargas stalked Miura around the ring, unleashing blistering combinations. But the heavy handed Japanese champion stood his ground and unloaded huge shots. The pair were cut, hurt and knocked down, until Vargas found a second wind to pick up the win and the title.
Runners up; Matthysee Wpts Provodnkov, Glazoowki KO11 Marco Huck, Lea Sant Cuz WPts Abner Mares.

Ovil McKenziSURPRISE OF THE YEAR – Ovil McKenzie
The veteran cruiserweight carried on the momentum he acquired with a British title victory at the back end of 2014 into 2015. He defended his title twice, and then stepped in almost at the last moment to fight for the IBF world title against hometown man Victor Ramirez. McKenzie correctly nicknamed ‘The upsetter’ almost pulled off one of the great Brit abroad victories, leaving Argentina with a disputed split draw.
Runner up: Ryan Farrag, Sean Dodd

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