K2 Promotions, guided by Managing Director Tom Loeffler, continued their 12-year legacy of promoting boxing’s biggest international events in 2016 featuring a number of the sports’ most popular and exciting fighters.
Below are the K2 Promotions nominees for the 2016 Year-End Boxing Awards.
EVENT OF THE YEAR – GENNADY GOLOVKIN VS. KELL BROOK
September 10, 2016
The O2, London, England
Telecast on HBO (US) and Sky Sports Pay-Per-View (UK)
Setting the table for the biggest international boxing event of 2016, more than 19,000 tickets (capacity) for The O2 in London were sold in 11 minutes on the first day they became available for purchase as the boxing’s most exciting and talked about fighter in the world, “GGG” prepared to fight for the first time as a professional in England.
As millions watched worldwide, the valiant and undefeated Brook went into the heat of the battle with Golovkin from the opening bell. As the huge crowd chanted for Brook, their native son, Golovkin displayed his trademark vicious body attack coupled with a full arsenal of power shots, breaking Brooks’ orbital bone in the second stanza.
After two additional hellacious rounds of action, Golovkin earned the stoppage in the fifth stanza as Brooks’ corner called a halt to the action during a blistering assault of head and body shots.
Wrote Dan Rafael from ESPN.com (excerpts).. “Gennady Golovkin steamrolled to yet another knockout victory to retain his world middleweight title in a slugfest against Kell Brook on Saturday night at the sold-out O2 Arena.
Golovkin, the much heavier puncher, punished Brook before unloading a brutal onslaught of blows against the game welterweight titleholder, sending Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle, onto the ring apron to throw in the towel in the fifth round.
Brook’s home-country crowd had come to see if he could pull off one of the biggest upsets in British boxing history. But Brook (36-1, 25 KOs), who was moving up two weight divisions, was overpowered by perhaps the best puncher in boxing. Brook took some thunderous shots and never went down, but he seemed shaken by the numerous punches Golovkin landed.
Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) retained his title for the 17th consecutive time. The middleweight division record is 20 straight defenses, set by the great Bernard Hopkins, who was ringside as an HBO analyst.
Golovkin, who has not gone the distance since winning an eight-round decision in 2008, notched his 23rd knockout in a row and raised his record for highest knockout percentage in middleweight title history to 91.7%”
FIGHTER OF THE YEAR – ROMAN “CHOCOLATITO GONZALEZ (46-0, 38 KO’S)
On September 10, 2016, Gonzalez won his fourth divisional world title challenging undefeated WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Carlos Cuadras at The Fabulous Forum, boxing’s legendary venue in Los Angeles.
Retaining his Consensus #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter status, Gonzalez won a hard fought, epic battle by unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 115-113). With the victory Gonzalez became the first Nicaraguan fighter to win world titles in four divisions, besting his mentor and legendary boxer Alexis Arguello.
Also at The Fabulous Forum on April 23, 2016, Gonzalez defended his WBC Flyweight World Title for the fourth time in a brilliant performance against top rated contender McWilliams Arroyo by unanimous decision (120-108, 119-109 twice).
With his outstanding performances in 2016, Gonzalez continued to spotlight the lower weight classes for media and fans internationally with his action packed, aggressive style.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KO’s) vs. Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1, 27 KO’s)
September 10, 2016
The Fabulous Forum/Los Angeles, CA
Telecast on HBO (US)
**records prior to the fight**
Featuring the highest stakes in boxing and with two undefeated world champions performing at the peak of their careers, Gonzalez and Cuadras captivated fans with their world class skills, keeping them on their feet throughout the memorable, brutal slugfest against the toughest opponent of their respective careers
Going into the battle at The Fabulous Forum, Cuadras was defending his title for the fifth consecutive time as Gonzalez sought to capture his fourth divisional world title facing the toughest opponent of his Illustrious career.
Wrote the Associated Press about the breathtaking clash, (excerpts)..” The Nicaraguan pound-for-pound star better known as Chocolatito persevered through a brutal slugfest with Cuadras, who was outstanding on the biggest stage of his career. The fighters traded big shots and frenetic flurries for 12 rounds, but Gonzalez’s remarkable skills earned the victory on all three cards.
Gonzalez was thoroughly tested by Cuadras (35-1-1), who fearlessly took the star’s biggest shots in a name-making performance. A vociferous crowd of 6,714 at the famed Forum roared for both fighters through 12 punishing rounds, alternating chants of “Nicaragua!” and “Mexico!
Gonzalez appeared to lose none of his power or speed when he moved up 3 pounds from flyweight to super flyweight. He attacked Cuadras from the opening moments with relentless combinations, pressuring with his usual stellar footwork and movement.
But Cuadras replied with toughness and flair, shuffling his feet to taunt Gonzalez in the middle rounds. He repeatedly caught Chocolatito with creative shots while Gonzalez relentlessly stalked the champion.
Blood began dripping from a cut near Cuadras’ right eye in the ninth round, but Chocolatito’s face swelled on the right side in the late rounds as well.”
Gonzalez landed 33% of his punches, (323/985), while Cuadras landed 29% (258/893). Additionally, according to Compubox, 88% of the punches landed throughout the fight were power punches.
BREAKOUT STAR OF THE YEAR – OLEKSANDR USYK (K2 Promotions Ukraine)
WBO Cruiserweight World Champion (11-0, 10 KO’s)
On September 17, 2016, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Usyk traveled to Gdansk, Poland to face Krzysztof Glowacki for the native born’s WBO Cruiserweight World Title.
Fighting brilliantly, Usyk won a 12-round unanimous decision by scores of 119-109 and 117-111 twice. With the victory, Usyk became the fastest cruiserweight to win a world title doing so in his 10th professional fight. The previous record was held by boxing legend Evander Holyfield who became cruiserweight world champion in his 12th professional fight.
Wrote Mike Coppinger for USA Today, excerpts, “It wasn’t the savage slugfest many fans and media were expecting, but Oleksandr Usyk was a revelation in his first title challenge.”
The Olympic gold medalist showed off his impressive boxing skills, movement and sharp jab en route to a unanimous decision victory over Krzysztof Glowacki on Saturday to wrest the WBO cruiserweight title.
Usyk (10-0, 9 KOs) showed he was the superior boxer from the opening bell. The 29-year-old’s lateral movement befuddled the slow-footed Glowacki, who seemed to be looking for one big shot.”
Usyk capped his breakout year with his U.S. and HBO debut, knocking out world ranked contender Thabiso Mchunu in the 9th round on December 17th at the legendary Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles. Usyk dropped the slick Mchunu once in the sixth and twice in the ninth stanza to earn the victory.
HISTORICAL BOXING EVENT OF THE YEAR – CECILIA BRAEKHUS
World Title Fight in Oslo, Norway—October 1, 2016
Working tirelessly and lobbying numerous national politicians throughout her career, Cecilia Braekhus, the Women’s #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World, was instrumental in having the ban on professional boxing in her native Norway lifted allowing her to fight in Oslo on October 1, 2016. The ban had been in place since 1981.
Boxing’s only undisputed world champion, Braekhus, (29-0-0, 8 KO’s), defended her WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO Welterweight World Titles with a second round knockout over Anne Sophie Mathis at the sold-out Spectrum (10,000 capacity) and a worldwide televised audience.
Among those in attendance in support of Braekhus was Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg.
Braekhus was lauded by the international sports press for her hard-fought efforts outside the ring in bringing professional boxing back to Norway. She will fight in Oslo once again on January 28, 2017 against Klara Svensson.
Wrote Kevin Iole for Yahoo Sports, (excerpts), “Braekhus was born in Colombia, but was adopted by a couple who lived in Norway. Braekhus was born in 1981, the same year that Norway banned boxing.
And so, as she grew in prominence and become one of the best fighters in the world, she was unable to compete at home.
‘If I boxed in Norway, I would have been fined or gotten jail time, which basically would have made me a criminal,’ said Braekhus, who is 28-0 with seven knockouts. ‘That is obviously something I didn’t want and being labeled a criminal hurt. At the same time, watching other fighters getting to box at home in front of big crowds, it was tough to watch because I didn’t have the same right.’
But on Oct. 1, she’ll defend her belts in a rematch against Mathis in Oslo, her first fight at home since the 33-year-old ban on boxing in Norway was lifted on Dec. 17, 2014.
It’s a game changer for Braekhus, who has fought primarily in Germany and Denmark throughout her career. She was the 2012 Norwegian Sports Person of the Year for her accomplishments in the fight game, even though she wasn’t able to fight in front of a home crowd.
That, though, was what started to melt the ice and lead to the ban being lifted in 2014. Winning a world title garnered attention at home. Becoming the nation’s sports figure of the year made her a star, even though what she was being honored for was against the law in Norway.”
Wrote Jonathan Snowden for BleacherReport.com, excerpts, “But some people don’t hear “no” easily, and when they do, they tend to ignore it. Braekhus insisted, her parents caved and, in time, she found acceptance in the gym as well. Since winning the WBA and WBC women’s welterweight titles from Vinni Skovgaard in 2009, Braekhus has rarely lost more than a round or two, let alone a bout, and is widely considered the best women’s boxer in her class.”
Despite finding her life’s mission, the path never got any straighter for Braekhus. Professional boxing has been banned in her native Norway since 1981, the year of her birth. That’s forced both a relocation to Germany and her growing base of hardcore Norwegian fans, in turn, to don their red and indigo blue and make the long drive to gyms all over Western Europe to see the First Lady of Boxing fight.
Saturday, at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway, that all changes. After a long, bitter battle to legalize the sport, Braekhus will reach her logical destination. After 10 years as a pro fighter, after an ascension to the very top of her profession, Cecilia Braekhus is finally coming home.”
TRAINER OF THE YEAR—ABEL SANCHEZ
Following up on his 2015 Trainer of the Year Award, Sanchez once again illustrated his remarkable talent as a teacher, motivator and an extraordinary in-fight corner man.
In addition to guiding his main charge, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, (36-0, 33 KO’s) to two exciting knockouts in 2016, Sanchez also trained IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Murat Gassiev,
(24-0-0, 17 KO’s), Heavyweight World Title Challenger Andy Ruiz, (29-1-0, 19 KO’s) Lightweight World Title Challenger Denis Shafikov, (38-2-1, 20 KO’s) and World Ranked Welterweight Konstantin Ponomarev, (31-0-0, 13 KO’s).
On December 3, 2016, Gassiev won the IBF Cruiserweight World Title with a 12-round decision over longtime champion Denis Lebedev in Moscow, Russia.
Gassiev also scored a highlight reel first round stoppage of Jordan Shimmel on May 17, 2016 under the tutelage of Sanchez.
The previous day of Gassiev’s world title victory, December 2, 2016, Sanchez guided Shafikov to a 12-round decision over fellow top rated contender Richard Commey in Moscow. The victory in the IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator earned a world title opportunity for Shafikov in the coming year.
Also, on July 2, 2016, Shafikov battered undefeated contender Jamal Herring towards a 10th round stoppage in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Working with Andy Ruiz for the first time, Sanchez traveled to Auckland, New Zealand on December 10, 2016, to challenge native son Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO Heavyweight World Title. In a sensational battle, Ruiz came up just short losing a majority decision by scores of 115-113 twice and 114-114.
Ponomarev was victorious in both of his starts in 2016, a ten round decision over Brad Solomon on April 9 in Las Vegas and an eight round decision over Silverio Ortiz on November 26 in Las Vegas.
Sanchez is also currently training top welterweight prospect Alex Saucedo, (23-0-0, 14 KO’s).
On November 4, 2016, Saucedo won a hard-fought eight round decision over veteran Raymond Serrano in Las Vegas, Nevada.