Following his controversial loss to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251 this past weekend, Max Holloway’s career sits at a crossroads.
The year 2019 was lacklustre in terms of big international fights, but there were still some memorable boxing moments both in Australia and on the world stage.
On the local front, former WBO welterweight champ Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa fought two epic bouts. Horn stepped up to middleweight and Zerafa brutally stopped him in the ninth round of their first fight in Bendigo in August.
Zerafa entered the rematch this week as a heavy favourite and almost stopped Horn again in the ninth round. But Horn dug deep. He threw a big right hand that put Zerafa on the canvas before dropping him again a short time later. The bout went the distance and Horn won on points.
Light middleweight Tim Tszyu (15-0) is starting to emerge out of the shadows of his famous father, winning the Australian title this year in one of four impressive victories. A Tszyu-Horn match-up is a potential bout for 2020.
Cruiserweight southpaw Jai Opetaia (19-0) also had a good year with three wins and will be worth keeping an eye on. He’s still only 24 years old.
Australians who are making their mark on the world stage include the Moloney twins, Andrew and Jason. Super flyweight Andrew (21-0) won the WBA interim world title when he stopped Guyana’s Elton Dharry in the ninth round in Melbourne last month. Twin brother Jason (20-1) had three wins in 2019 after narrowly losing his world bantamweight title bout against Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez in late 2018.
Lightweight George Kambosos Jr (18-0) is in line for a world title shot in 2020 after three more wins overseas in 2019. His potential opponents could be Ukrainian legend Vasiliy Lomachenko or American Teofimo Lopez.
Australian-based Irishman Dennis Hogan was unlucky to lose a world light middleweight title shot against Mexican Jaime Munguia on points in April. Many thought he did enough to win. Hogan then stepped up to middleweight in December for another world title fight, but he was stopped in the seventh round by slick American Jermall Charlo.
The biggest shock of 2019 was undoubtedly Britain’s Anthony Joshua losing his world heavyweight title belts to American Andy Ruiz in June. Ruiz got up off the canvas before dropping Joshua four times on his way to a seventh round TKO.
Joshua reclaimed the belts earlier this month in a lacklustre rematch that went the distance but never reached any great heights.
Mexican Canelo Alvarez added a world light heavyweight title belt to his middleweight collection when he knocked out Russia’s Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round last month.
Jeff Horn’s conqueror Terence Crawford continued his welterweight world title reign with two wins inside the distance in 2019.