Which Boxer Had the Best Breakout Performance in 2015?
The Breakout Performance of the Year award can go in several different directions. It could go to a top prospect who steps up in competition and performs at a high level, it could go to an entirely unknown fighter who bursts onto the scene with a major victory, or it could go to a fringe contender or B-side fighter who takes a leap ahead and moves away from opponent status. This year, there were viable choices to win the honor in each of those different ways, but for us, the breakout performance of the year was…
Andrzej Fonfara’s TKO9 Over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
While Fonfara was already respected as a top 10 fighter at light heavyweight, he didn’t have the attention of the public at large. That’s what a breakout performance does for you, and Fonfara was able to do that by entirely dominating and stopping the much-ballyhooed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Prior to this, Fonfara was best known for a spirited, but losing, effort against Adonis Stevenson, and wins over fighters who were past their best, such as Gabriel Campillo. But with huge numbers of fans tuning in to watch Chavez Jr., Fonfara had the perfect stage for a breakout effort. Chavez Jr. didn’t stand a chance in this fight, and would have been better served listening to his father, who didn’t want him to take it.
Since, Fonfara defeated Nathan Cleverly via unanimous decision and is now looking to hopefully more big fights in 2016.
As mentioned, there were plenty of other strong candidates to win this. That includes both of the fighters who scored the biggest upsets of the year, Tyson Fury with his win over Wladimir Klitschko, and Krysztof Glowacki with his win over Marco Huck.
Another viable choice could have been Daniel Jacobs, winner of our comeback of the year. His shocking early stoppage of Peter Quillin is indeed an exceptional breakout win after fighting largely ho-hum opposition for so long.
Another choice is Yunieski Gonzalez, who was arguably on the wrong end of the worst decision of the year, in his fight against Jean Pascal.
An ultimate last-minute contender is also Luis Ortiz, with his smack down of Bryant Jennings. Unfortunately for Ortiz, our minds were already made up by Saturday evening.
If you selected any of these as your own winner, I wouldn’t argue with you, because they’re truly all valid choices. Yet, for us, Fonfara’s dominance on the big stage, against the name fighter, after being viewed as a tough fringe contender but not a top guy for so long, takes the cake.