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Real Combat Media’s Most Significant Fights in 2018 as Seen by Robert Brizel

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Welcome to the 2018 Real Combat Media Boxing Awards. In pro boxing, there are winners, losers and everything in between. 2018 brought many memorable fights. For this writer, seeing Gennady Golovkin beaten on the scorecards by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was most memorable because I can never remember a point in recent memory where GGG did not hold a world middleweight title. Then Alvarez promptly moved up to super middleweight and starched Rocky Fielding to win his world first title at 168 pounds. Here are my picks for the memorable fights and fighters of 2018.

The Real Combat Media Boxing Fight of 2018 goes to Canelo vs. Golovkin 2. 

Absolute War! Sho Kimura vs. Kosei Tanaka All-Japanese Fight of The Year

Kosei Tanaka won a world title in a third weight class, WBO Flyweight, following WBO Minimumweight and WBO Junior Flyweight titles. At 12-0 and 23 years old, Tanaka has fought eight times in Nagoya, never outside of Japan. We would all love to see Tanaka move up to super flyweight and bantamweight. Most certainly these two fighters represent the best of the Japanese bangers today.

Video Credit: Japanese CBCTV

Kimura vs. Tanaka

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares

At 12-1 and age 30, Vasily Lomachenko is a world champion at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight. Both he and Linares hit the deck in a brutal tactical battle where both fought a ‘take no survivors’ approach, In the end, a ten punch combination from Lomachenko sent a battered, bruised and beaten Linares to his knees after a capping liver shot. One of the most vicious titular finishes of recent memory. After an amateur record of 395-1, Lomachenko is the newest and the most exciting super fighter on the pro boxing scene since Manny Pacquiao and Floyd.

Video Credit: Ukraine MATY TV


 Lomachenko vs. Linares

Jarrett Hurd vs. Erislandy Lara

At 23-0, Jarrett Hurd certainly represents the new excitement of the junior middleweight division, and he holds the IBF, IBO and WBA world titles to prove it.

Veteran Lara had dominated the junior middleweight division as champion for five years. When Hurd scored a knockdown of Lara in the twelfth and final round, Lara lost the bout bout by one point on two scorecards, winning on the third card by one point. The close 114-113, 114-113, 113-114 scorecards mandated a rematch, but Lara has not yet returned to the ring. This bout remains a fan favorite because it was a well-fought war which could go either way, and ultimately evolved that way.

Video Credit: Showtime

Lara vs. Hurd

Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady GGG Golovkin II

Controversy reigns supreme. It sure looked like GGG won their first world middleweight title encounter, which ended in a draw. Canelo, the bigger draw, won on the scorecards in the rematch, though not everyone agreed. This was a super fight of super fights, perhaps the most interesting bout of 2018. However, it remains to be seen if either fighter will be seen again at the middleweight division. Canelo is the big draw. GGG put it all of the table twice, as did Canelo, and boxing fans got their money’s worth. Do it again in 2019? Somehow Canelo versus GGG III seems unlikely, but who knows?

Video Credit: HBO Boxing

Alvarez vs. Golovkin 2

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury

Perhaps the most noteworthy undefeated heavyweight clash since the Muhammad Ali versus Rocky Marciano computer fighter, or Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier I. Most certainly Wilder and Fury generated more heavyweight interest than Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis or Riddick Bowe. Fury exposed Wilder as nothing more than a power hitter, as Wilder knocked him down twice. Fury outboxed him technically, and this reporter correctly predicted the 12 round draw which left both men undefeated. Many questions remain as to whether a rematch could take place, or Anthony Joshua would fight either man. The bout did a great deal for boxing, which needed this sort of mega-bout to maintain public interest.

Video Credit: Showtime


Wilder vs. Fury

Most Underestimated Fighters of 2018: Dillian Whyte and Shawn Porter

Dillian Whyte KO 6 Lucas Browne (25-0 World Champion)
Dillian Whyte Win 12 Joseph Parker (24-1 Former World Champion)
Dillian Whyte KO 11 Dereck Chisora (Rematch)
Shawn Porter Win 12 Danny Garcia (Wins Vacant WBC World Welterweight title)

Whyte’s success after losing to Anthony Joshua can no longer be overlooked. Whyte remains the top heavyweight in the world not to have received a shot any piece of the world heavyweight title, major or minor. Porter beat Garcia, and is noe training for his March 2019 defense against Yordenis Ugas

Oleksandr Gvozdyk versus Adonis Stevenson (Honorable Mention)
Eleider Alvarez versus Sergey Kovalev I. (Honorable Mention)
Tony Harrison versus Jermell Charlo (Honorable Mention)

These three fights merit honorable mention, if only because the world champions who lost took major fall in 2018. In the light heavyweight division, Stevenson got knocked out by Gvozdyk and lost his WBC title after many years as champion. Neurologically, Stevenson is slowly recovering. His career might not. Kovalev got knocked down three times and out by Alvarez, but will rematch Alvarez on February 2, 2019, in what could prove a candidate for fight of the year in 2019. Harrison won a disputed 12 round decision over Charlo to win the WBC World Super Welterweight title. A mandatory rematch clause means the two will fight again in 2019 in what could be another candidate for fight of the year in 2019.


ALSO

The most significant comeback win belongs to former WBC World Heavyweight champion Oliver McCall, who proved his durability by winning a six round decision over Larry Knight at age 53, which for most fighters at that age would be unlikely. The most significant comeback loss belongs to Anthony Mundine, knocked out by Jeff Horn in the first round at age 43 in a WBA and WBO regional middleweight title bout. The most significant loss by a trash talker goes to middleweight Gary O’Sullivan. ‘Spike’ got knocked out in the first round by David Lemieux.


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Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at robertbrizel@realcombatmedia.com.