One year of boxing: 2017 highlights
2017 was for sure a very interesting year for western boxing fans. Maybe thanks to the rising popularity of MMA in the U.S.A. and over the rest of the world, even boxing and the other combat sports are earning more visibility on the mass media. But it would be false saying that 2017 was for boxing a enthusiastic time just for this reason, considering the many high level matches and emotions connected.
In the heavyweight division, Antony Joshua star shines, after a thrilling match in April against Wladimir Klitschko, who won by TKO at 11th round after several knockdowns, in front of an audience of 90000 people at Wembely Stadium. The division is now ‘hot’ after years of boredom, and the actual n.1 Joshua has to take care with the other world champions: the Kiwi Joseph Parker, and most of all the American Deontay Wilder. Former world champion Tyson Fury is coming back, after two years of darkness.
Other division which deserved attention was clearly mediumweight. The match between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez materialised the past September. An hard fight with ends in a disputed draw and a verdict of one of the three judges completely absurd. Many saw a victory of GGG, but for sure was a very close match. In 2018 we are waiting for the rematch, but WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders seems he doesn’t want to stay out of the game.
It was the year of confirmation for Vasyl Lomachenko: three victories, one against Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux. Nobody seems able to beat him. Already featherweight and now superfeatherweight champion, the Ukrainian should rise up another category to face Jorge Linares from Venezuela.
Light came suddenly on Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Thai fighter who ‘ate’ one of the top of the world, Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, first by verdict in March, then by KO in September. Srisaket will face Juan Francisco Estrada next February: we’ll see if he can confirm him on the levels of the past months.
In the welterweight division, despite less money-flow compared some years ago, there is no lack of quality: Errol Spence Junior went to Sheffield to take to America Kell Brook’s belt, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman dethroned Danny Garcia. Terrence Crawford just jumped in the category, and he could be one of the leading actor in boxing of the new year.
In 2017, some true champions decided to quit: the mentioned Klitschko, Andre Ward (unbeaten, after two victories over Kovalev), and warlord Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao doesn’t show intentions to leave the ring, although the loss in Australia against Jeff Horn suggests maybe age is becoming a problem. Floyd Mayweather said stop, after a not so much spectacular but surely profitable match against Conor McGregor. But ‘Money’ keep staying fit in his gym…
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