Looking back at the top fights of 2018 and eyeing the best of 2019
The 2018 calendar year has come and gone, and left us with some last memories. We had a little bit of everything that the sport has to offer this past year, including big upsets, plenty of drama between the ropes, great action, and the sport’s best superstars scoring sensational wins.
Feel free to check out our view of ten of the most meaningful and best fights of 2018.
Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury
Perhaps this post will due WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder some justice, as he faced two of the division’s top fighters. Wilder overcame a game effort and a rough round seven from Ortiz before rallying for an 11th round TKO. Against Fury, Wilder had to settle for a 12-round split-draw, yet he was able to register two knockdowns along the way and will have a great chance if a rematch with his British rival comes off.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares
In 2018, Vasyl Lomachenko’s stock continued to rise, but not without some stiff opposition in the form of victories over Jorge Linares (TKO 10) and Jose Pedraza (UD 12). The Linares fight was especially thrilling, as Jorge scored a knockdown in the seventh and continued to give as good as he got in several rounds. But Lomachenko rose like a champion to score a stoppage on a body shot in round ten.
Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd
Nobody knew quite what to expect when Hurd, the IBF junior middleweight champion at the time, linked up with Lara, the longtime WBA champion of the sport. What they got was a wild fight inside of the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, as Hurd came pressing forward and attacked, only to be greeted from counters Lara in a physical fight. The action was too close to call going into the final round, but a late knockdown in round 12 from Hurd sealed the deal and gave him victory.
Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton
Not what many people were expecting when these two featherweight prizefighters signed to face one another. Frampton was looked at as the favorite coming in, due to his edge in experience as a champion at 126 pounds, where he notably holds a win over Leo Santa Cruz. Warrington was looked at as unproven and without much power, but he scored a successful defense of his IBF title and moved on to bigger things in 2019.
Murat Gassiev vs. Yuniel Dorticos
One of the best fights of the World Boxing Super Series to to date. Both men were unbeaten at the time and each man was pushed to the limit. Gassiev came through with a huge 12th round, scoring three knockdowns that led to a stoppage victory in a great battle.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Juan Francisco Estrada
A cat and mouse type of showdown from within the Forum in Inglewood, CA in one of the best cards HBO put on in their final year in the sport. Sor Rungvisai, still buzzing from back-to-back victories over Roman Gonzalez, started fast and took control early, but not without a ferocious comeback from Estrada down the stretch. It was like a smaller version of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez showdowns at time. In the end it was Sor Rungvisai who came away with the close victory after 12 rounds.
It’s fitting that one of boxing’s biggest stages produced one of his best fights in 2018, as the Mexican superstar scored a somewhat controversial majority decision after 12 rounds of fast-paced action. Their first fight was a split-draw that many felt Golovkin won, so Canelo changed up the script in the rematch, marching forward and countering Golovkin on the inside. It was debatable who won after twelve, but with the verdict in his favor, it cemented Canelo as the sport’s biggest star.
Kosei Tanaka vs. Sho Kimura
The Kimura vs. Tanaka fight is largely looked at as the best fight of the year, depending on how you rate the best fights. The matchup took place on September 24 at Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Tanaka’s hometown of Nagoya, Japan. A meeting of two of the top flyweights in the world, as Tanaka served as the undefeated, 23-year old champion compared to the 30-year old Kimura, who was the WBO champion. 12 rounds of action gave Tanaka the victory, as well as his first world title in a fight that featured many exchanges of momentum.
Alex Saucedo vs. Lenny Zappavigna
This was a case of a young contender holding off a valiant effort from a grizzled veteran. In front of his hometown fans Oklahoma City, Saucedo a third round knockdown over “Lenny Z” and appeared to be controlling the action. But in the fourth we saw Zappavigna storm back and rock Saucedo in the fourth. It was back and forth stuff afterwards and Saucedo escaped with a seventh round TKO.
What about 2019? What are some of the best matchups we can have in the sport? Stay tune for our follow up to this article.