Of Course Anthony Joshua is Fighter of the Year

By Paul Magno on December 26, 2017
Of Course Anthony Joshua is Fighter of the Year
His one win over Klitschko tops anything on any other possible candidate’s 2017 ledger.

If one-sided romps against stylistically ill-suited foes make a case for awards and heavy praise, then, yeah, Lomachenko has the edge over Joshua…

I don’t follow too many boxing media “experts” or the keyboard-slapping, press release-regurgitating nonsense they post as analysis. But when I have nothing better to do, I do occasionally take a stroll through the online Universo Pugilistico. On my most recent trip through the muck, I discovered that one particularly “off” butch-toughguy scribe was proudly proclaiming Vasyl Lomachenko to be Fighter of the Year.


I would chalk it up to this guy being half-loopy from the spit bucket water he routinely chugs as one of the boxing media’s most prominent fanboy groupies and promoter errand boys.

But then I came across one of the sport’s largest boxing sites making the same declaration. Then, a couple of small-guy scribes. Then, a few YouTubers. Was this a thing now?

I fully understand that there’s a great deal of man-love currently out there for the talented Ukraine import. And, yeah, he’s a talented guy who did some good work this year. But, Fighter of the Year?

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why there’s even a debate about the award this year. Of course, the Fighter of the Year should be Anthony Joshua. And, really, there’s not even a solid argument for anyone else.

Joshua not only firmly established himself this year as a true elite-level heavyweight, but he also showed himself to be, financially, the most important fighter in the business in the post-Mayweather era.

“AJ” drew 90,000 fans to his Fight of the Year-worthy, passing-of-the-torch victory over Wladmir Klitschko and then 78,000 fans to his win over Carlos Takam later in the year. His presence lit a fire in the heavyweight division not seen since the days of Tyson, Holyfield, Lewis, and Bowe and, for the first time in a very long time, heavyweight boxing became part of the mainstream sports world dialogue.

Just for moving the needle towards the mainstream, Joshua deserves the year-end award. But, even when one stacks up his 2017 ring accomplishments against the other possible Fighter of the Year candidates, he comes out way ahead.

His one win over Klitschko—and the way he came through that challenge—tops anything on any other possible candidate’s 2017 ledger.

His secondary win against Takam is also better, or at least on par with, other candidates’ secondary wins. As a late substitute for an injured Kubrat Pulev, Takam presented a physical and stylistic challenge for Joshua that was much more complex than Lomachenko’s bouts against Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga and even perennial Fighter of the Year candidate Terence Crawford’s contest against Felix Diaz.

And Joshua’s primary win DEFINITELY tops any victory from Lomachenko or Crawford (or anyone else in the running for Fighter of the Year, for that matter). Yeah, Klitschko was 40 and coming off a loss, but it wasn’t a crushing loss and he definitely proved he was not a faded presence by the way he fought back against Joshua. And, even if he was a bit over the hill for that bout, he was still infinitely more of a challenge than anyone Lomachenko faced this year, including an undersized Guillermo Rigondeaux, who entered the ring with every possible disadvantage weighing him down.

If one-sided romps against stylistically ill-suited foes make a case for awards and heavy praise, then, yeah, Lomachenko has the edge over Joshua. But when a fighter is heavily-favored to win three times and he wins those three times , as easily as expected, what does that prove—that he can win bouts where he is set-up to win? Joshua, at least when he faced Klitschko, was not considered a lock to do so—but he DID, and he did so in the face of en elite-level veteran who was most definitely fighting back with everything he had.

Hell, to be honest, Lomachenko shouldn’t even be number two in Fighter of the Year consideration.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is the firm runner-up behind Joshua. The unknown Thai first managed to knock pound-for-pound darling Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez from his pedestal with a hard-fought, close decision win and then he would come right out and obliterate him in the rematch.

Even one-fight guys like Errol Spence Jr. and Andre Ward should be neck and neck in the running behind Lomachenko and Crawford for the award. While we’re at it, Mikey Garcia’s year could also be considered nearly as outstanding as Lomachenko’s or Crawford’s.

But Anthony Joshua is the man in 2017—not only for what he did inside the ring, but for what he brought back to the sport from a business standpoint. Any other opinion is wrong…and dumb.

[Update: Just as I was completing this article, it was announced that ESPN had named Terence Crawford 2017 Fighter of the Year—something which only affirms the fact that Crawford is definitely NOT the right choice. I’m a huge Crawford mark, so it pains me a little to say it, but, really, like Lomachenko, he’s not even number two in the running for the honor.]

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Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko | Full Fight! | 29th April 2017

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  1. didier 07:54am, 12/27/2017


  2. tuxtucis 12:45am, 12/27/2017

    I would vote Sor Rungvisai over Chocolatito as ko of the year, but no way he’s in top three fighters of the year. I think the Thai widely lost his first fight vs the Nicaraguan in an year where awful decisions were many (Horn-Pacquiao, Ogawa-Farmer, Golovkin-Alvarez, N’Dam N’Jikam-Murata I). Joshua or Lomachenko is a toss up.

  3. Andre Roussimoff 10:34pm, 12/26/2017

    He bum rushed Wlad twice in that FOTY and finally swept his Bambi legs right out from under him! Takam was momentarily hurt but was still working. He was good for the distance but the homer ref knowing full well that Povetkin laid Takam out in the eleventh round had no intention of letting him get out of that round. Even the Brit boxing nutz booed that shit! John Molina is the fighter of the year!

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