Boxing ends 2016 with a bang

Graeme Cross Roar Guru

By Graeme Cross, Graeme Cross is a Roar Guru

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24 Have your say

    Wladmir Klitchsko might be set for some big time action in 2017. (Source: AFP / Patrik Stollarz)

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    After a strong year with a mid-way blackout, a lot of pundits and journalists were calling boxing dead claiming 2016 as one of the worst years in history.

    Regardless of what you thought from January to November, December was without a doubt one of the biggest boxing finishes to a year in memory.

    Cheating slightly and starting at the end of November, Vasyl Lomachenko outperformed one of the division standouts and fan-favourites, Nicholas ‘The Axe Man’ Walters. Not only did Lomachenko win, he outclassed Walters to the point that The Axe Man gave up, seeing no way he could win.

    Oscar De La Hoya, although long retired is still making an impact on the sport through his company, Golden Boy Promotions. His prospect and development showcase event ‘LA Fight Club’, which runs every three weeks in Down Town Los Angeles continues to sell out and put on exciting match ups. To finish the year Abe Lopez took a UD win over Sergio Lopez for the WBA-NABA Featherweight title.

    Continuing with the Golden Boy theme, co-owner and future Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins had his last fight at the age of 51. We covered the fight live from ringside here. Not how Hopkins wanted to go out, but Liam Smith Jr came out strong, early on as planned and knocked Hopkins through the rope and out of the ring winning by TKO.

    Richard Schaefer, ex-CEO of Golden Boy Promotions and now CEO of Ringstar Sports put on his first card since returning to the sport from his two year hiatus. It was a stacked card of hugely entertaining fights which saw Mares turn back time and beat Cuellar on points, Jermall Charlo obliterate undefeated Williams in his last fight before moving up in weight, and Australian Lenny Zappavigna lose his focus with Sergey Lipinets to get knocked out in the eighth round.

    On the same night, Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, considered by some to be the most dangerous and best equipped fighter around at the moment, completely dismantled the ever-brave, John Molina Jr His assault to Molina Jr’s body continued through the fight and opened him up for an eighth round TKO. Bud has been shaped up as a possible opponent for Manny Pacquiao in 2017 who is rumoured to have demanded a $20M guarantee to take the fight against Crawford.

    Moving up the divisions, the heavyweight resurgence continued with Anthony Joshua absolutely destroying Eric Molina and taking the TKO in the third.

    Joshua shows huge potential but has fought questionable opponents. He is taking a huge step up in competition by fighting Wladimir Klitschko in April of 2017, prior to a possible match-up with Deontay Wilder which Showtime Networks is hoping will be the biggest heavyweight fight since Tyson versus Lewis.

    Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko, left, and Britain's Tyson Fury, right, exchange blows

    Alexander Povetkin failed a drug test earlier in the year to fight Wilder. In his eliminator with Bermane Stiverne to regain that opportunity, Povetkin tested positive again, this time to a different substance. As a result the WBC withdrew from the fight and so did Stiverne.

    Coincidentally Johann Duhaupas, who lost to Wilder over 12 months prior, was on call as a replacement. Duhaupas took the fight against Povetkin with less than 24 hrs notice and it showed – he fought in Asics running shoes and got KO’d in the sixth round.

    On the homefront (almost), Joseph Parker took on Andy Ruiz Jr to clarify who is the Heavyweight prospect to add into the mix with the likes of Klitschko, Wilder, Joshua, Fury and Ortiz. Although Ruiz Jr had the faster hands, Parker pulled off the win by points.

    Some other notable mentions for the Australian front, although not all in December, Bilal Akkawy made his presence known in 2016, is starting to get mentioned in the international community and is expected to look beyond the domestic scene after his next fight (TBA) at club Punchbowl in March on the next Neutral Corner card.

    Jeff Horn, after winning just about every Australian, Oriental, Inter-continental and Pan-Pacific title available for a Welterweight has been mentioned in possible fights with the top tier Welterweights around the globe. ‘The Hornet’ is another Australian hopeful expected to explore foreign shores in 2017.

    After making a splash at the London Olympics, Damien Hooper showed a lot of potential. He has had only one loss and a short break from the sport but is back and rebuilding his career.

    After beating Marlon Alta of the Philippines in 2015, Hooper set the second half of 2016 off with convincing wins over Kyle Brumby and Nader Hamdan. Expect to see him step up the quality of competition in 2017 and look to line up some title fights.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Guru

      January 4th 2017 @ 10:18am
      BigJ said | January 4th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

      Hi mate, nice article. Just in the Homefront I find it a little worrying that you would forget to mention that finally Mundine and green 2 is happening after a ten year wait. Also and your not the only one to forget this that Reyold Quinlan defeated Danny Geale in October for the Ibo Super-middleweight title and is currently Australia’s only world champion at the moment. He has a title defence in March. Jeff horn is doing well but the odds are against him. Aussie fighters don’t do well on an American stage. Geale, soliman, Fenech, and others as soon as an Aussie travels to the states they are beaten badly, I think that only green, tszyu and Harding were the only ones to have success in the states. But I hope he gets his fight. It’s going to be a big 2017 in boxing so looking forward to it.

      • January 4th 2017 @ 2:19pm
        Tom Hunt said | January 4th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report


        The word your sits before another word (usually a noun or a pronoun) to show that it belongs to “you” (e.g., your car, your arm), is of “you” (e.g., your picture, your photograph) or is related to “you” (e.g., your uncle).

        Your is a possessive adjective. (Other possessive adjectives aremy, your, his, her, its, our, and their.

        You’re is a contraction of you are. It has no other uses. This is a 100% rule. If you cannot expand it to you are in your sentence, then it is wrong.

        • Roar Guru

          January 4th 2017 @ 5:11pm
          BigJ said | January 4th 2017 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

          Mate, I went to north rocky high back in the nineties and could not give two stuffs about correct grammar. Also your comment does not relate to the article so how bout your bugger off back to your chest board game and leave this site alone. We already have a grammar nerd nutcase he is called the Barry

          • January 5th 2017 @ 12:16am
            Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:16am | ! Report

            Leave Tom Hunt alone Bigj… ? He’s probably gone to his safe space.

        • January 5th 2017 @ 12:15am
          Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:15am | ! Report

          How sad is your life champ?! ??? You must have some bad inferiority complexes, if you have to jump behind a computer screen and bag out someone that has brought up some good points on this subject… on their GRAMMER!

          Classic weak c@#t 101 there champ!

          • Roar Guru

            January 5th 2017 @ 2:18am
            BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 2:18am | ! Report

            Thanks for the support brother, have you heard anything about the Quinlan fight ???

            • January 5th 2017 @ 9:02am
              Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

              He was penciled in to fight Chris Eubank Jnr in England in March. But for whatever reason, the fight seems to have been called off.

              Quinlan has good power and speed. But Eubank Jnr would’ve been another level for him.

            • January 5th 2017 @ 9:06am
              Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

              It’s been taken off boxrec, but i googled the fight and it definitely seems to still be on… ?

              • Roar Guru

                January 5th 2017 @ 11:13am
                BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                I think it’s been brought forward to feb 4, that will be an interesting weekend for Aussie boxing

      • Roar Guru

        January 5th 2017 @ 10:01am
        Graeme Cross said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        BigJ! Love seeing your comments.

        To be honest, I didn’t mention Mundine vs Green 2 as I know how much coverage it will get across the site and how little the rest of the world cares. Literally there is more talk, internationally about Horn and Akkawy than Mundine and Green. The outcome of their rematch has no impact on anything else in the boxing world.

        You’re right about Quinlan. I probably should have mentioned him as he is fighting Eubank Jr. in 2017 for ITV as they kick off their PPV fight coverage, but I’m not sure if he’ll get past that hurdle.

        To be fair, the odds are against every Aussie fighter as the sport doesn’t have a lot of support or a strong development pathway. It really is asking a lot of a fighter to go from an Australian club level to the world stage. Meanwhile fighters in Eastern Europe develop through long-term amateur careers supported by the state and explore multiple styles by consistently touring other nations, Americans, Central and some South Americans grow up and develop in middle of all the best so have the consistent high-level competition, and the UK and Germany have strong amateur and local professional scenes supported strongly by their respective governments and have easy access to the rest of Europe, Africa, Asia and to a lesser degree, America. Meanwhile poor old Australia has limited amateur support and a club scene that has little exposure to the rest of the world beyond the odd c or b-grade boxer from the Philippines. In a sense, this really speaks to the ability of the Australian fighters who do get to the international level like Zappa, Geale, Darchinyan, Katsidis etc.

        I think what Australia is missing out on a lot too is the TV coverage. In the UK between Sky Sports/Matchroom and Boxnation, their viewers can see almost every televised “top-tier” fight on the planet. In the US you have PBC running basically a fight per week across 6+ networks, HBO, Showtime, UniMas, BEIN Sports and online outlets showing multiple US and Mexican fights, in Mexico there is no PPV so everything is on network tv. But from what I understand (assuming it’s the same since I left) is Australia gets access to maybe a few PPVs each year on MainEvent, random replays sporadically on ESPN and the odd Neutral Corner promotions fight night from Club Punchbowl on a community TV network or occasionally Fox Sports. If you can’t watch it, you can’t expect people to follow it.

        All that aside, there is a lot of coverage here on The Roar and some fights, like the Japanese NYE fights from last week, are streamed online globally for free.

        With all the action coming up this year, I personally can’t wait! Just looking at PBC’s schedule for Q1 we have:
        Jan 13 – Lara vs Foreman
        Jan 14 – Jack vs Degale & Pedraza vs Davis
        Jan 28 – Frampton vs Santa Cruz 2 & Zlaticanin vs Garcia
        Feb 2 – Vasquez vs Collazo
        Feb 10 – Easter vs Cruz & Warren vs Zhakiyanov
        Feb 18 – Broner vs Granados
        Feb 25 – Wilder vs Wawrzyk
        Mar 4 – Garcia vs Thurman

        And that’s not even considering what Golden Boy, Top Rank, K2, Roc Nation and others are putting on!

        • Roar Guru

          January 5th 2017 @ 11:15am
          BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          Agree with that, I fear that Aussie boxing will go down the tubes once Mundine and green retire as there is no clear replacement to promote the sport.

          • Roar Guru

            January 5th 2017 @ 2:41pm
            Graeme Cross said | January 5th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

            I have to disagree.

            They brought in a lot of hype for their own fights, but not for boxing as a whole.

            The support and interest has always been there, look at the numbers we get on this site, and you can’t tell me Tszyu, Fenech, Soliman, Katsidis, Bika, Browne, Geal etc., never did their part in promoting the sport.

            Boxing is in the middle of a resurgence right now, and Australia has and probably always will produce and attract good talent. It’s just hard to develop them. We are currently at a point were Boxing is the most popular it’s been in decades – participation in the UK has tripled and is practically it’s most popular since they banned it as a compulsory sport in highschools, US TV ratings (although critized) actually perform quite well with the FS1 cards being their highest rating shows (and let’s not forget errol spence jr drawing 6M viewers after the Men’s Olympic Basketball). Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Japan, the Philippines, Germany all continue to be massive boxing nations and now that Eastern Europe has opened up to the world in the pro-ranks we are seeing their contribution.

            I don’t think Aussie boxing will go down the tubes at all, it’s just a case of adapting a model that works for a nation so geographically isolated and the networks catching on to buying the rights to show the different cards.

            • January 5th 2017 @ 3:37pm
              Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

              I agree with parts of this comment, but disagree with others.

              While “bringing hype to their own fights”, both Green and Mundine have been bringing thousands of fans with them. By doing this, they’ve kept boxing in Australia relevant for at least the last 10 years. Ask almost any person that participates or watches Australian boxing in this era “what Australian boxers do you follow/know of?”… Everyone of them will say Mundine, Green or another fighter that Mundine has fought.

              The simple thing is that Green, Geale, Soliman, Woods and Horn would all be little 2-3 paragraph articles in newspapers if it wasn’t for the “hype” that fighting or “talking about fighting” Mundine creates.

              On the other names you have mentioned. Unless you’re a real boxing fan:

              Jeff Fenech – will unfortunately be remembered for the animal he’s been out of the ring, rather than the animal he was in it.

              Kostya Tszyu – will be remembered as the beast he was.

              Sam Soliman – for the beatings he copped from Mundine.

              Michael Katsidis – sadly for problems with the law because no casual boxing fan outside of Towoomba knows who he is.

              Sakio Bika – again, sadly… won’t be remembered at all.

              Lucus Browne – for winning a heavyweight world title, then failing a drug test. Then getting another crack at a world title and failing another drug test;

              And Geale – very sadly, for quitting twice then being ko’d by a c-class world ranked fighter in 2 rounds.

              • Roar Guru

                January 5th 2017 @ 9:32pm
                BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

                Lairdy you forgot, Geale being unknown until he fought Mundine, the same with Quinlan a world champ and little know or care, sad really.

              • January 5th 2017 @ 10:32pm
                Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:32pm | ! Report

                I did mention that in the “2-3 paragraph” in the newspaper part of the comment.

              • Roar Guru

                January 5th 2017 @ 9:51pm
                BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

                Lairdy, I think we have discussed this before but i dont think he quit against GGG, I think the fight was called of too early, but there is no doubt he quit against Cotto and has gone down hill ever since.

              • January 5th 2017 @ 10:35pm
                Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 10:35pm | ! Report

                BigJ – Spanish phrase “no mas”, translated to English is “no more”. I’m almost 100% sure that in both them fights, when he was asked if he wanted to continue… he said “no mas” to the ref. Look it up if ya want big fella. ?

            • Roar Guru

              January 5th 2017 @ 9:45pm
              BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

              Graeme, I would have to disagree with you, Mundine single handedly kept boxing alive in Australia after the retirement of Tsyzu and brought the more fans to the sport even turning casual fans into hardcore fans. Green, Soliman, Geale and especially Wood would be nothing without Mundine he made their careers mainstream and even kept Jeff Fenech in the picture. He has done for aussie boxing than anybody else and win be sorely missed when he retires.

        • January 5th 2017 @ 11:20am
          Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Garcia vs Thurman will be an absolute cracker! ?

          • Roar Guru

            January 5th 2017 @ 11:32am
            BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

            When’s that same weekend??? Details please

            • January 5th 2017 @ 12:27pm
              Ben said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

              March 4 Bigj.

              • Roar Guru

                January 5th 2017 @ 12:59pm
                BigJ said | January 5th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                Copy that, I’ll look it up

    • January 4th 2017 @ 5:39pm
      KingKongBundy said | January 4th 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

      Well said big J I didn’t realise this site was a spelling contest we all new what you meant close enough is good enough. I reckon this dork would enjoy scrabble as well as chess. In saying that in regards to YOUR comment I think the writer was talking about 2016 and with the Mundine Green thing that’s 2017 also he is talking world class boxing when Green fights Mundine they will both retire it will be irrelevant on a world scale

    • Roar Guru

      January 5th 2017 @ 9:13am
      Machooka said | January 5th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Good read Graeme… and I agree that 2016 finished with a bang for boxing.

      I’m a little curious as to your comment regards Ruiz Jr having the ‘faster hands’ than his opponent in Joseph Parker.

      Was this on the back of Bob Arum’s pre-fight comment that Ruiz Jr had the fastest hands he had seen since Ali in his prime?

      I would bow to most ‘calls’ by Bob but for mine I’ve always thought Joseph Parker had ‘fast hands’ that also carried some serious punch.

      The fight, this year, in late April between AJ and Klistchko should be very interesting for the future of the Heavyweight division!

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