2019 was an eventful year in Wales for Professional boxing. Welsh boxers competed on the national and international stage.
The year produced surprises, knockouts and hard-fought contests, along with a few controversies. The following Ringnews24 Welsh Boxing Awards were decided via a select panel of twenty voters.
Boxer of the Year
Jay Harris fought three times in 2019. He started the year defeating veteran Brett Fidoe, in a tougher than expected run-out. The Swansea man then won the EBU European Flyweight title, he outpointed Spaniard Angel Moreno, over 12-rounds, in a fantastic contest. Jay finished off the year with a superb fourth-round stoppage win, in Belfast, over former Olympian Paddy Barnes.
Next for Jay (17-0, 9 KOs), is a shot at the WBC World title, in Mexico, against Julio Cesar Martinez. Trained by his father, ex-British champion Peter Harris and managed by Gary Lockett, he’s in the best hands possible.
Honourable mention: Liam Williams, Joe Cordina, Lee Selby, Chris Jenkins, Kieran Gething
Fight of the Year
Kristian Touze vs Angelo Dragone
LC2, Swansea was the venue for this battle for the vacant BBBofC Welsh Area Super Feather Title. It pitted the boxer/mover Touze vs the brawler Dragone. The battle of West Wales had a bit of everything. The Sanigar Events fight was aired live on S4C and fans were treated to ten hard rounds.
29-year-old Dragone’s aggression and drive dictated the pace of the fight. Touze (30) picked his shots and looked for space to box. Both men suffered cuts and, at times, emptied the tank. The eighth round, in particular, saw everything and a real round of the year candidate.
After ten rounds of action, it was Kristian Touze (9-0-2) who had his hand raised by referee Reece Carter. Plenty thought that it should’ve been Angelo Dragone (5-1) declared the victor. One thing is for sure, it was a fantastic fight and a rematch would be highly anticipated.
Honourable mention: Morgan Jones vs Jake Anthony, Craig Evans vs James Tennyson, Jake Tinklin vs Zoltan Szabo, Joe Cordina vs Gavin Gwynne, Tony Dixon vs Faheem Khan, Kieran Gething vs Henry Janes, Kieran Gething vs Craig Woodruff, Chris Jenkins vs Paddy Gallagher
Prospect of the Year
The 19-year-old Rhondda prospect had seven contests in 2019. He won each bout, showing silky boxing skills. Three opponents didn’t hear the final bell and the body shot that crushed Stefan Sashev, in December, was sensational. Four contests in Wales and three at the famous York Hall, the youngster is well supported and headed in the right direction under the tutelage of Gary Lockett. A professional since 2018, he’s been kept busy and has an unbeaten record of 9-0,4 KOs.
Honourable mention: Jake Anthony, Jacob Robinson, Lance Cooksey Jr, Maredudd Thomas, Jamie JJ Evans, Jake Tinklin, Nathan Thorley
Debutant of the Year
‘The Rhoose Rhino’ made his debut in 2019. The 20-year-old super-welterweight is trained by Chris Davies, in Llantrisant, and managed by Gary Lockett. There are high hopes for the powerfully built boxer. Munn, 20, is trained in martial arts, he turned to boxing and had success representing Wales as an amateur. An orthodox counterpuncher, who can switch-hit – he is one for fans to watch out for.
Honourable mention: Lloyd Germain, Jordan Withers, Joshua John, Gerome Warburton
Performance/Win of the Year
Chris Jenkins vs Jonny Garton
This was the night that everything finally went right for Swansea’s Chris Jenkins. He’d moved up a weight to get his opportunity, at the British title, and he took it. ‘Rok’n’Rolla’ boxed superbly and his pace and timing nullified, at times, the bullish Garton.
The three judges, at the Royal Albert Hall, had the Welshman a winner on an emotional night.
Honourable mention: Joe Cordina vs Gavin Gwynne, Jay Harris vs Paddy Barnes, Liam Williams vs Alantez Fox, Jay Harris vs Angel Moreno, Lee Selby vs Ricky Burns, Kody Davies vs Zak Chelli, Henry Janes vs Michael Gomez Jr
KO of the Year
Liam Williams WKO2nd Joe Mullender
Liam Williams (22-2-1, 17 KOs), has been turning on the power in recent outings. On the 8th March, at the historic Royal Albert Hall, London, it was England’s Joe Mullender who felt it. In defence of his BBBofC British Middleweight title, Liam floored his opponent twice. It was a brutal and spectacular KO in two rounds.
Honourable mention: Rhys Edwards WKO2nd Stefan Sashev, Joe Cordina WTKO6th Andy Townend, Alex Hughes WKO1st Wilmer Gonzalez
Trainer of the Year
Training his stable from Llanrumney Phoenix, Cardiff he enjoyed another successful year. Chris Jenkins becoming British champion, then defending it twice, was a huge result. Jenkins’ resurgence has been guided by Gary in the corner. Prospect of the year, Rhys Edwards is being trained by Gary and is improving with each performance. Prospects Maredudd Thomas and Nathan Thorley both have the Cwmbran man training them, so a trainer with plenty of prosperous years ahead.
Honourable mention: Tony Borg, Peter Harris, Gavin Rees, Richie Garner, Chris Davies, David John, Darren Wilson, Steve Robinson, Dan Chapman, Paul Paveltish
International fight of the Year
Liam Williams vs Alantez Fox
Rhondda’s Liam Williams had been waiting for a chance to shine on the World stage. On 21st December, he got that chance. American No.1 WBO contender Alantez Fox was the man standing in the way of a World title shot. The very tall, rangy fighter was swept aside inside five rounds. ‘The Machine’ showed patience, accuracy and power in a scintillating performance. The American had no answers and tasted the canvas in the fourth and fifth. Next, a shot at the biggest prize of all.
Honourable mention: Tony Dixon vs Maxim Prodan, Lee Selby vs Antoine Douglas, Jay Harris vs Angel Moreno, Joe Cordina vs Mario Enrique Tinoco
Best foreign fighter to box in Wales (Non-British/Irish)
The 23-year-old from Kazakhstan was in Wales at the Vale Sports Arena, Cardiff on an MTK show. It was only his seventh contest but he looked a natural talent. He stopped Sergio Gonzalez in the eighth round, of a contest overseen by referee Chris Jones and judge Reece Carter.
Super Featherweight Sultan, is now 9-0, 7 KOs and looks destined for the top.
Honourable mention: Angel Moreno, Zhankosh Turarov, Zoltan Szarbo
Comeback of the Year
Swansea’s Chris Jenkins (22-3-3, 8 KOs), produced a stunning turnaround in fortunes. 2018 had been a case of cuts and no forward momentum. 2019 still had the cuts but the resurgence was amazing to watch. The talent has always been there but, finally, it was turning into major titles. Four wins in total but the win over Johnny Garton, to win the British welterweight title, was a pleasure to watch. Trained by Gary Lockett, Chris went onto defend the title twice – in Belfast and Birmingham. Surely, time for a home defence?
Honourable mention: Kody Davies, Lee Selby, Craig Woodruff
Road Warrior of the Year
The ‘Magic Man’ took the show to Oldham, Bournemouth and London in 2019. The Port Talbot boxer finished the year with back-to-back wins, defeating Paul Greenidge and Jordan Grannum. The wins have propelled Geraint into a Welsh title fight, in Swansea, in March.
Honourable mention: Henry Janes, Paul Ducie, Rhys Saunders
Referee of the Year
Cardiff’s Martin Williams has been a mainstay on the Welsh boxing scene, as a referee and judge. He’s overseen prospects and championship bouts. A referee since 2013, he took charge of two Welsh title fights in 2019. The ref was the man in the middle for many bouts in Wales plus on cards in Walsall and Swindon.
Honourable mention: Phil Edwards, Chris Jones, Reece Carter
Best Commentator of the Year
Ely’s Barry Jones is a constant voice for boxing fans. He commented on shows around the World for major TV channels like BTSport and the Youtube cards by MTK Global. Always an honest opinion when calling the fights.
Honourable mention: Enzo Maccarinelli, Gary Lockett, Ciaran Gibbons, Zach Davies, Anthony Trow, John Hardy, Gareth Roberts
Best Podcast of the Year
Turn The Lights Out
A weekly show that covers combat sports. Based in Swansea and hosted by writer Dave Owen and former professional boxer James Lilley. Engaging and entertaining and guests have included Enzo Maccarinelli, Angelo Dragone, Jay Harris to name a few. A must-listen for any fan.
Honourable mention: Boxing Wales podcast, Rhondda Radio boxing show, Gibbons talks boxing
Timekeeper of the Year
Monmouthshire’s own ‘Mr.Consistant’. Bouts run smooth and on-time with Dave in charge. The first call for all Welsh promoters.
MC of the Year
Despite his youthful appearance, Rhondda’s Ricky is a veteran of the MC business. He travels far and wide and pops-up on boxing podcasts. A constant professional that delivers time and again.
Honourable mention: Jonathan Millard, Hywel Chaplin, Dave Owen, Matthew Jones, Paddy Cullen
Welsh Boxing historian of the Year
2019 saw the release of the latest in the ‘Boxer of Wales’ collection. This time the focus was on the boxers of South, West & Mid Glamorgan. The book covers 50 plus boxers from towns like Maesteg, Barry and Neath. Gareth’s excellent writing style and dedication to factual boxing history see him winning this award once again.
The books are available here: BoxersofWales
Honourable mention: Darin Dobson, Amanda Aubrey-Burden
Promoter of the Year
Lee Eaton (MTK Global)
Lee Eaton has been a breath of fresh air to the Welsh boxing scene. Two packed shows at Vale Sports Arena, Cardiff with a high standard of contests. The cards saw the likes of Akeem Ennis-Brown, Kieran Gething, Jay Harris, Craig Evans, Rhys Edwards along with hot prospects from around the globe.
Honourable mention: Priority Promotions, Sanigar Events
Photographer of the Year
Sash has produced an incredible amount of work from ringside to the gyms. Superb quality photographs that capture the action and the mood, in stunning style.
His work can be found here: SashShots
Honourable mention: Huw Fairclough, Liam Hartery, Sarah Hopkins, Tom Hudson
Boxing Writer of the Year
The longest-serving writer in Wales. Gareth writes for the longest-running boxing magazine in the sport – Boxing News. Gareth is ringside for every show in Wales and covers every fight.
Honourable mention: Dewi Powell, Tom Prosser, Paul Daley, Adam Carter, David Williams, Matthew Taylor
Social media of the Year
Welsh Warriors Facebook page
An outstanding page of news, polls and all things Welsh boxing. Started in 2012 by Llanelli’s Shaun Keenan, it has helped promote the sport and the boxers. A must-follow for any fan.
You can view it here: WelshWarriors
Click Here, If you wish to add a COMMENT to the above article or any of the Ringnews24 boxing articles.