Most underrated active boxer?
For me, this was one of the easiest questions I will be asked all year. The most under-rated active fighter is Japanese Minimumweight Tatsuya Fukuhara, who has come on so much since being beaten by a then debuting Takuma Inoue. Over the last 12 months, Fukuhara has taken 2 unbeaten records of highly regarded prospects (Takumi Sakae and Genki Hanai) and looked on well on his way to beating Shin Ono, who later got a world title, before a clash of heads curtailed that bout.
What was your Fight of the Year in 2016?
Roman Gonzalez Vs Carlos Cuadras. I’m a huge cheerleader for the lower weights and this was probably the year which saw the lower weights go from a hardcore fan’s interest to an area of boxing that set fight fan pulses racing. Picking between Jun Takigawa Vs Kenji Ono, Jamie Conlan Vs Anthony Nelson or Gonalez Vs Cuadras was a tricky choice but the “Chocolatito” Vs Cuadras was at the highest level of the sport and was a showcase of skills, excitement and the smaller guys. Brilliant stuff!
What was your Round of the Year in 2016?
Round 7 Kenji Ono Vs Jun Takigawa. Sometimes the smaller fights have the best action and round 7 of Ono Vs Takigawa had it all. An aggressive Ono dropped Takigawa twice but was dropped himself in one of the most amazing rounds I’ve ever seen. The bout, aired on G+, is probably going to be the lost gem of the year and round 7 really was just amazing, with it standing out as the best round for me this year and the one that made my jaw drop for the better part of 3 minutes. Amazing doesn’t do it justice.
What was the best KO of 2016?
Jorge Lara Vs Fernando Montiel-I used to love Montiel but it’s fair to say he has been the victim of some brutal beatings in recent years. His stoppage to Jorge Lara is the latest and saw the former multi-weight champion face plan the canvas in eye-catching fashion. It wasn’t at the top of the sport but it was brutal and a great way for Lara to announce himself to a larger audience.
What was the worst fight of 2016?
David Haye Vs Mark De Mori. I could have picked either of David Haye’s bouts for this. They were both a waste of time and a complete joke for Haye to take, even though he was coming into the bout on the back of a layoff.
Which fight do you most want to see in 2017?
Naoya Inoue Vs Roman Gonzalez. I’ve been one of the cheerleaders of Inoue since his debut and would love to see him become the best fighter on the planet by supplanting the man I regard as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, and I genuinely think that’ll happen. The talk in Japan is that Ohashi will actively pursue this bout so fingers crossed!