The Best of Boxing in Europe for 2010:
Much like a fighter can turn a bout in his favor over the championship rounds, boxing has rallied over the last part of 2010 to ensure that the sport heads into the New Year in good health. European boxing has enjoyed another successful year and as we come to the end of another 12 months, it is time to look back and hand out some awards. As always, choices like this are purely personal opinions and I welcome your own views and nominations.
European Fight Of The Year 2010: Mikkel Kessler W12 Carl Froch
Not just the best European fight of 2010, but a serious contender for the best bout to be held anywhere in the world. The WBC super middleweight bout always looked likely to produce fireworks, and it didn’t disappoint. The fight was full of twists and turns with Kessler taking an early lead before Froch stormed back. With the fight seemingly on a knife edge the last round was thrilling as the pair desperately tryed to take matters out of the judges’ hands.
As it was, Kessler took a too wide unanimous decision and reclaimed his WBC belt. There was added drama as the pair were also competing for qualifying points for the ambitious Super Six tournament. Sadly, Kessler’s career is now in doubt due to a serious eye injury but if he never fights again, there can be no finer way to leave the sport.
European Fighter Of The Year 2010: Amir Khan
Although Amir Khan, the WBA light welterweight champion only fought twice, the manner of his victories raised his profile and reputation to such an extent that he is a worthy winner of the award. A May fight with Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden was Khan’s American debut and he impressed by dominating the native New Yorker over 11 one-sided but entertaining rounds. Doubts over Khan’s chin have persisted since Breidis Prescott flattened him in 2008 and they rose to a crescendo ahead of his title defense against the big punching Marcos Maidana in December. After dropping Maidana in the the first and dominating through 8 rounds, Khan was badly hurt in the tenth and had to show previously unseen steel to battle his way through the remaining 3 rounds. It was one of the best fights of 2010 and Khan proved once and for all he deserves to be ranked amongst the best fighters in the world.
European Knockout Of The Year 2010: Dmitry Pirog KO5 Daniel Jacobs
Pirog’s shocking knockout of the much hyped Daniel Jacobs propelled the unheralded Russian middleweight into the world top ten.”The Golden Child” from Brooklyn had no answer to the Russian’s slick style from the opening bell and was knocked down and out by a perfectly timed right hand in the fifth round. Entering the ring as ‘the opponent’ for Jacob’s supposed coming out party, Pirog ripped up the script and left with the WBO middleweight belt and his name thrown into the mix for the really big fights at 160lbs.
European Performance Of the Year: Carl Froch W12 Arthur Abraham
Both fighters entered the bout after suffering the first defeats of their careers and while experts and fans were divided as to who would prevail, almost everybody agreed the pair would produce a bruising toe to toe battle. To the surprise of almost everyone, Froch reinvented himself and produced a performance of until then unseen discipline to comprehensively outbox Abraham in a career best display. It was a remarkable turnaround from arguably Britain’s best fighter, and ensures he heads into the Super Six semifinals with renewed momentum.
European Prospect Of The Year 2010: James DeGale
Olympic Gold medalist James DeGale capped off an active 2010 by claiming the British super middleweight title in just his 9th professional fight. The way DeGale dealt with the teak tough champion Paul Smith in front of a partisan crowd demonstrated his enormous potential. The Londoner seems to have buckled down under conditioning fanatic Jim McDonnel and has added power and a nasty streak to his amateur skills. DeGale seems to be the kind of fighter who will rise to the level of his opponent and if he continues at his current rate of progress the sky really is the limit. [DeGale also won the 2010 Boxing Prospect of the Year award outright].
European “Need’s to get a move on” Award 2010: John Murray
The exciting Mancunian lightweight is long overdue a step up on to the world scene. Murray is an exciting, come forward brawler whose style would be a massive hit in the United States. 2010 saw Murray claim the European title with a stoppage victory over Gary Buckland, which he went on to defend against the tough Andriy Kudryatsev. His promotional deal with Mick Hennessey has ran its course and Murray’s next step will decide which way his career goes. Rumors of a deal with Golden Boy Promotions have so far proved to be false and it would be a crying shame if Murray doesn’t get a chance to display his skills at the highest level.
European “Out Of Nowhere” Award 2010: Willie Casey
If somebody had told Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey last January that he would end 2010 as the European Super Bantamweight champion, and with a WBA title fight with the brilliant Guillermo Rigondeaux scheduled for early next year, even the Limerick based banger would have raised an eyebrow. Starting the year as a 3 fight novice, Casey fought a total of 8 times including 3 victories in one night to claim the Prizefighter title. Although he claimed the European title by beating late substitute Paul Hyland after Kiko Martinez had to withdraw, the victory capped a remarkable rise for Casey. Whether he has learned enough in 11 professional bouts to topple such an accomplished boxer as Rigondeaux remains to be seen but his all action style ensures it will be exciting to find out.
Thanks for checking out this installment and be sure to check out the complete list and collection of the ProBoxing-Fans.com 2010 boxing awards!