This year has been an interesting one for boxing as we saw everything from the Canelo versus GGG “big drama show” to Wilder versus Joshua negotiations falling apart and fighting against different oppositions rather than each other.
As I read and watch through other media outlets the different end of the year awards, I wanted to recognize a few names in similar but different categories, for the fans of NYFights.com.
2018 Breakout Fighters:
This fighter really doesn’t need any introduction as he goes by “The Monster!”
Naoya Inoue (17-0) had a great year and saw his fan base significantly grow from the previous year. After spending much of the 2017 year being avoided by the other Super Flyweight Champions, Inoue moved up in weight this year in order to continue to challenge himself and compete against the other champions of the bantamweight division. In May, he destroyed WBA Champion Jaime McDonnell in the first round of their fight, capturing the 118 pound title. Inoue then placed his name “in the hat” for the WBSS season two tournament, where he drew Juan Carlos Payano (20-1) and finished him via a vicious first round knockout. To further solidify why he is one of the breakout fighters of the year, he graced the cover of Ring Magazine as the first Japanese national to do so. As a heavy favorite to win the WBSS tournament, Inoue is looking to further solidify his stardom in 2019.
Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada (15-0…
.. joins Inoue as the other breakout fighter of the year. She stayed very busy this year which saw her fight four times while showing Golden Boy Promotions that she could handle the activity in both the club scene and main stage. She started the year with a dominating unanimous decision victory over Sonia Osorio (10-5-1) at the Belasco Theater in L.A. She then fought at the StubHub Center in Carson during Cinco De Mayo weekend on ESPN, winning via third round TKO and finished the year by capturing the WBC Silver Light Flyweight title by defeating Debora Rengifo (11-5-1) via third round TKO. Hopefully the New Year will bring us a showdown between Seniesa Estrada and WBC Interim Champion Kenia Enriquez (21-1).
“Who Got Next”?
When the owner of your promotion company who is a Hall of Famer publicly mentions you as one of the “next” stars in this boxing business, it’s probably a good indication that you are doing everything right and are performing at a high level. Allow me to introduce you to Vergil Ortiz Jr. (11-0) who fights in the 140 pound division and is definitely “next.”
Ortiz Jr. is trained by the great Robert Garcia and after a busy 2017 year where he fought five times, he fought three this year but against more experienced fighters. After fighting at the Fantasy Springs in Indio and winning by TKO, he then headlined a card at the Belasco Theater in L.A where he knocked out his opponent Juan Carlos Salgado (27-8-1) in the third round live on ESPN. With that impressive knockout, Golden Boy Promotions put him on the biggest event of the year which was Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin II. That fight ended early as well as he beat Roberto Ortiz (35-3-2) in the second round by TKO. Vergil Ortiz Jr. is destined to make a bigger splash in 2019 so make sure you are following his journey to a world title in the future.
This year we saw the streaming game go to another level as ESPN added their plus programming and the birth of DAZN occurred in September.
Those outlets are tied to major promotion companies however there was a slightly smaller company that gave opportunities to the promoters who do club shows, an outlet to showcase their up and coming talent. That company is named Linacre Media and they do shows on Facebook for free via their “Fight Night Live” page that is now powered by Everlast.
Fight Night Live, which is owned by Mark Fratto, reached more than 4.2 million fans and showcased 450 fighters from 15 promotions in 18 cities since May of last year.
With top notch production and commentary, Linacre Media has seen a very successful year and continues to give these club shows a platform to showcase their fighters. Make sure to follow Linacre Media and Fight Night Live in 2019 as they continue to provide quality material in the form of their streaming service.
In recent years, we have seen a decline in boxing events and programming. This year though, boxing has been in the forefront while being included within many different platforms from films to drama series and reality TV shows. With the increase of streaming platforms, we have now run into the problem of having multiple shows on the same night which in many aspects, isn’t a bad thing as the streaming services have active playback options which are user friendly.
Here’s a toast to 2018 as boxing became even more relevant to the causal fans and to 2019, let’s hope we continue to get the quality fights we (fans and media) want to see!
Make sure to follow me on twitter (@abeg718) and my journey in 2019 as I continue to cover club shows and some main cards throughout the Southern California area and in Las Vegas for NYFights.com.