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2013 British boxing awards: Fighter, fight, knockout of the year & more

Credit: Will Hart - HBO

The British Boxing Award Winners for 2013

The bustling British boxing domestic scene continued with a rapid fire 2013, with big fights, great action, the rise and fall of several big names, and much more. Here’s the rundown of all the big award winners for British Boxing in 2013.

2013 British Fighter of the Year: Carl Froch

It’s been an eventful year for “The Cobra”. In May he avenged his first defeat by outpointing the great Dane Mikkel Kessler in an entertaining back and forth duel. The high of such a win clearly stayed with Froch as he prepared for a huge all-English tussle with George Groves last month. Groves played the feisty young pretender to Froch’s confident and secure throne. Froch won, but controversy reined amid referee Howard Foster’s premature stoppage of the fight.

Even with that controversy, it is clear to see that Froch has been Britain’s best fighter this year. In beating Kessler, he not only avenged one of his two defeats, but he also clearly defeated a super middleweight legend. In beating Groves, he managed to wear down one of the up and coming fighters of his division, and his biggest rival on home soil.

It’s a duet of wins that makes for impressive reading and though some may be tiring of Froch’s self-proclaimed “warrior” status, he has once again backed it up in the ring this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Dereck Chisora got his career back on track with four consecutive stoppage victories, including one over unbeaten contender Malik Scott. Kell Brook also got back to winning ways following injury problems, beating Carson Jones more emphatically the second time around, as well as stopping Vyacheslav Senchenko.

2013 British Boxing Fight of the Year: Stuart Hall UD12 Vusi Malinga

Many expected Stuart Hall and Vusi Malinga to stage a competitive fight for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title, but few saw it being as enthralling as it turned out to be. Hall – a former British and Commonwealth champion, had lost to the likes of Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins, suggesting he had difficulty against top ten-level fighters. Malinga had challenged for world titles on two previous occasions, but had lost both times.

With both on the wrong side of 30 this looked likely to be their last crack at world honors. This fight really meant something.

Hall started the faster, boxing on the backfoot and landing nice combinations. He seemed to have the relatively faster hands, but Malinga always posed a threat out of his southpaw stance. Hall used Malinga’s stance to his own advantage in the third, penetrating with a straight right hand that shocked Malinga and sent him to the floor.

Confused and clearly dazed, Malinga found himself on the receiving end of an intense barrage from Hall, who was evidently enthused by the possibility of an early finish. The South African still fired off warning shots to suggest he was not quite done yet.

How true those warning shots turned out to be. Malinga began to bruise Hall up under the left eye with his consistent right hand jab. By the mid rounds, although clearly ahead, there appeared to be trouble ahead for Hall. He had started so well, but his opponent was still there, strong and coming forward with thudding blows. Malinga did indeed threaten to take over as the fighters hobbled towards the finish line. He worked Hall’s body with clubbing hooks around the side, and Hall could now no longer see out of his left eye.

With one eye closed and a stoppage possible, Hall outboxed Malinga in the final round to seal a well-deserved but extremely hard-fought points triumph. His fairytale story had been written, but no small praise must also go to Malinga, Hall’s willing partner in this gruesome dance.

Honorable Mentions:

Carl Froch and George Groves waged war in their controversial yet thrilling clash in November, while Carl Frampton held off the spirited advances of Kiko Martinez on his way to an entertaining ninth round stoppage victory.

2013 British Knockout of the Year Derry Mathews TKO10 Tommy Coyle

One thing British boxing reporters have by now engrained into their psyche is this — never, ever, write Derry Mathews off. Audley Harrison may have said that setbacks pave the way for comebacks, but Mathews is the absolute epitome of that statement. Behind to the younger man in this fight, Mathews looked to be sinking to his ninth career defeat. Coyle had boxed well and confounded those who thought he may just come up short against the more experienced man.

Any writing on the wall was quickly scrubbed off, however, as Coyle walked into a left hook that exploded on his jaw. Coyle spiraled to the canvas, his eyes open but with no fire in them. He managed to get back to his feet, but the referee wisely waved it off, and Mathews had left us all dumbfounded once again.

Honorable Mentions:

Stephen Smith iced Gary Buckland with a perfectly timed short right uppercut for the British super featherweight title, and Enzo Maccarinelli reignited his career by detaching Ovill McKenzie from his senses, while still standing up on the ropes.

2013 British Boxing Upset of the Year: Tony Thompson TKO2 David Price

David Price was a heavyweight on a roll going into 2013. I rated him very highly, as documented in our Klitschko readiness series, and when he was set up with Tony Thompson, I along with many others saw an opportunity for Price to up his stock with a win over a faded name.

Thompson came in nearly twenty pounds heavier than he had been for his previous outing; an unsuccessful second challenge to Wladimir Klitschko. It meant little. Price came out the blocks fast in the first, but when Thompson landed an innocuous looking short right hook after a tussle in close in the second round, Price fell heavily to the canvas.

He arose, but his legs and arms swayed. He was no longer in control of his faculties and the fight was stopped. The silence around Price’s home arena was almost deafening. All that could be heard was Thompson and his corner’s shouts of defiance as people tried to come to terms with a huge upset – one of the biggest upsets of the year, and also a win which earned Thompson status as the 2013 Comeback Fighter of the Year.

Honorable Mentions:

George Groves deserves mention for his performance in almost upsetting the odds in his controversially-ended challenge to Carl Froch. Stephen Ormond also won against expectation over ten rounds against Derry Mathews.

2013 British Prospect of the Year: Paul Butler

Butler boxed and won five times in 2013, but it was his last performance which most caught the eye. Against tough Mexican Ruben Montoya, Butler put on what can only be described as a clinic. He moved well, punched accurately and with variation, bamboozled Montoya while lying on the ropes and rarely, if ever, took a clean shot. This, along with an earlier win over fellow unbeaten; the Chilean Miguel Gonzalez, makes Butler one to watch out for in 2014.

Honorable Mentions:

Callum Smith is the latest in a long line of successful boxing brothers. He gets praise for winning seven times, all within the distance, in 2013. He may only have fought twice, but Hosea Burton’s one round stoppage of Jahmaine Smyle should not go unnoticed.

2013 British Trainer of the Year: Joe Gallagher

Joe Gallagher had a sparkling 2013 with his resurgent stable.  He led the Smith brothers to unique success – the eldest Paul got his hands back on the British super middleweight belt, Stephen banged out Gary Buckland for the British super featherweight title, Liam won the British light middleweight championship against fellow hot prospect Erick Ochieng and defended it in style against Mark Thompson, while the youngest Callum emerged as one of the country’s finest prospects. This particular achievement had historic significance, as Paul, Stephen and Liam became the first ever trio of brothers to hold the Lonsdale belt simultaneously.

Added to this, Gallagher made personal history; gaining his first ever world champion, as Scott Quigg defended the WBA ‘regular’ title he had won outside the ring, with a draw against the tricky Yoandris Salinas and a comfortable stoppage of Diego Oscar Silva. Gallagher also oversaw Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla’s return to form, as he drew with former conqueror Derry Mathews before beating Gavin Rees and stopping Steve Foster Jr to set up a big 2014.

Honorable Mentions:

Tony Sims earned significant praise for guiding Darren Barker to a tough IBF middleweight world title win against Daniel Geale, overseeing a mini revival of Kevin Mitchell’s career and ensuring a successful beginning to Anthony Joshua’s career. Rob McCracken was on hand to oversee another good year for Carl Froch.

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Blair Newman is a freelance writer with a particular passion for boxing. A graduate of Edinburgh Napier University, he began watching the sport in 2007. Having undertaken an internship at Boxing News, Blair also writes about soccer. As well as ProBoxing-Fans.com, you will find his writing at Just-Football, Bleacher Report and his own blog. Blair can be contacted through Twitter @TheBlairNewman or via email: blairn22@googlemail.com.