In a year littered with spectacular and dramatic KOs, the Boxing Social panel had a tough time determining a winner in the knockout of the year category.
Tyson Fury’s conclusive 11th-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder – courtesy of a clean right hand to the Bronze Bomber’s temple that sent him tumbling to the canvas like a felled tree – received praise and consideration.
Oscar Valdez’s brutal left hook that felled Miguel Berchelt in the final seconds of round ten of an absorbing WBC super-featherweight title fight also impressed. “A great match-up, given an utterly definitive conclusion,” argued panel member Luke G. Williams.
Conor Benn made a late bid for the prize with his beautifully timed right hand that scrambled Chris Algieri’s senses and slumped him forward on to the canvas. Another splendid right hand that garnered praise from our panel was Lawrence Okolie’s finish against Krzysztof Glowacki in a WBO cruiserweight title fight in March.
Ted Cheeseman was involved in two KOs that were considered – one as a winner and one as a loser. The Bermondsey warrior dispensed with James Metcalf in round eleven of their British super-welterweight title fight in March via a huge left hand, but was then the victim of a Troy Williamson left hook in October.
There were some impressive body shot KOs that also appeared on our panel’s radar, including Ryan Garcia’s punishing body shot that finished proceedings against Luke Campbell in round seven of a lightweight scrap back in January and Brandon Figueroa’s stoppage of Luis Nery in the same round in May in a WBA and WBC super-bantamweight title fight.
Three of the most spectacular but unsettling KOs of the year were Callum Smith’s right hand against Lenin Castillo that left the Dominican fighter lying on the canvas with his left leg shaking, Mark Magsayo’s clinical KO of Julio Ceja and Tursynbay Kulakhmet’s first-round destruction of Heber Rondon.
A highly unexpected and dramatic KO was Kiko Martinez’s sixth-round stoppage of Kid Galahad for the IBF featherweight title in November. No one gave the Spaniard a prayer of beating the Sheffield stylist but he felled him once late in the fifth and then laid him out with a pinpoint right to the chin in round six.
Having considered all of the above KOs and more, the panel ultimately plumped for Gabriel Rosado’s unexpected but spectacular third-round KO of Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev in El Paso, Texas in June.
The Uzbek southpaw downed the Los Angeles based veteran in the opening stanza and was well on top when he walked on to an right-hand counter in round three that flattened him and sent him tumbling face-first to the canvas.
As panel member Graham Houston put it: “It was out of the blue — one moment Melikuziev looked on his way to a KO win, next moment he was out cold.”