2011 proved to be a great year for the Universal Boxing Organization™. With significant names such as Roy Jones Jr., Anthony Dirrell and Jo Jo Dan fighting for UBO titles, and with more activity than ever before, it was once again confirmed that boxers, managers, promoters and commissions all over the world enjoy working with us.
As has become an annual tradition, we start off the New Year with our UBO Boxing Awards. More so than ever it was difficult to choose in almost all categories, as so many worthy boxers and non-participants were involved in UBO title fights in 2011. The recipients are as follows:
2011 BOXER OF THE YEAR
Anthony Dirrell Anthony Dirrell
27-year-old Anthony Dirrell has proved himself to be one of the most promising contenders in the exciting Super Middleweight division. Dirrell won the UBO Inter-Continental title on July 2 at Atwood Stadium in his hometown of Flint, Michigan when he stopped former Olympian Dante Craig with a nice body-shot in the fifth round.
Dirrell fought four times in 2011, and, besides Craig, also stopped Alberto Mercedes (TKO3), Kevin Engel (KO2) and Renan St. Juste (TKO4). He is currently 24-0 (21) and the mandatory challenger for recent Super Six winner Andre Ward. He is also the UBO 2011 Boxer Of The Year!
Honorable Mentions: Jo Jo Dan (for winning the Inter-Continental Welterweight title), Francis Miyeyusho (for winning the Inter-Continental Bantamweight title, Willie Herring (for winning the World Cruiserweight title, Matamba Postolo (for defending his All-Africa Heavyweight title and winning the Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title).
2011 FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Mbwana Matumla Mbwana Matumla vs. Gabriel Ochieng
In an amazing battle, Mbwana Matumla retained the Inter-Continental Bantamweight title on May 1 in Dar Es Salaam beating late substitute Gabriel Ochieng from Kenya. In round one it looked as if Matumla would have an easy night, as Ochieng started the bout cautiously. A right hand made the challenger kneel and take a count, but he got up and came out for round two as a revived fighter. From that point on it was a very entertaining fight, as the two boxers stood toe-to-toe and traded punches. Most of the middle rounds were even and hard to score, and after nine back-and-forth rounds it was anybody’s guess who would come out victorious. However, in round ten Matumla took over and had lots of success with his power-punches, scoring another knockdown in the eleventh. In round twelve Ochieng again looked like a new man, and came out all guns blazing, knowing he likely had to stop Matumla to win the title. Matumla managed to fend him off, and it turned out to be too late for the hungry Kenyan who, despite a magnificent effort, lost on the scorecards.
Honorable Mentions: Barthelemy vs. Robles (Internationall Lightweight title, 7.29, Las Vegas, USA), Jacobus vs. Junior (World Super Middleweight title, 4.9, Port Vila, Vanuatu.), Ribchev vs. Diaz (International Middleweight title, 9.10, Rousse, Bulgaria).
2011 NEW MALE CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Jo Jo Dan Jo Jo Dan
The UBO is especially proud to have Jo Jo Dan (29-2, 16 KOs) among our champions. Coming off a victory over former World Champion Steve Forbes, and highly ranked by most organizations, Dan did something very unusual for someone in his position when he took a short-notice assignment in Trinidad and stopped Iwan Azore to win the UBO Inter-Continental Welterweight title on July 29.
The two losses on Dan’s record came in WBC title fights against the undefeated Selcuk Aydin in Turkey, and were both by close and controversial decisions. In the second of those, Dan fought almost the entire fight with a broken jaw, underlining what kind of special boxer he is.
Honorable Mentions: Roy Jones Jr. (Inter-Continental Cruiserweight Champion), Willie Herring (World Cruiserweight Champion), Mason Menard (World Lightweight Champion), Li Wen Yang (World Super Lightweight Champion), Andrejs Barabanovs (European Light Heavyweight Champion).
2011 NEW FEMALE CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Cecilia Comunales Cecilia Comunales
UBO Female World Lightweight Champion Cecilia “La Reina” Comunales (8-1, 5 KOs) is very popular in her native Uruguay, and continuously manages to put on entertaining fights to please her fans. Comunales won the World title almost a year ago, January 9 2011, by stopping Brazilian Halana Dos Santos in six rounds.
Comunales made her first defense this past April with a unanimous decision over Alicia Susana Alegre from Argentina, and has since been waiting for a new date to put her championship on the line.
Honorable Mention: Agnesa Boza (Female International Featherweight Champion).
2011 PROSPECT OF THE YEAR
Rances Barthelemy Rances Barthelemy
UBO International Lightweight Champion Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (14-0, 11 KOs) won his title with a unanimous decision over teak-tough Gerardo Robles on July 29 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. With his exciting style and punching-power the 25-year-old US-based Cuban is on a fast-track to stardom, and sure to be in big fights in the future.
Since the Robles fight Barthelemy impressed with a second round knockout over Alejandro Barrera on the Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson undercard in Canada this past November, and he is scheduled to take on fellow undefeated prospect Hylon Williams Jr. (15-0) in Las Vegas next month.
Honorable Mentions: Karl Dargan (Inter-Continental Lightweight Champion), David Aloua (International Cruiserweight Champion), Jake Giuriceo (All-America Lightweight Champion), Boris Mdinaradze (Youth Middleweight Champion).
2011 PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
Mukadi Manda Mukadi Manda
For the second time in two years, the UBO Promoter Of The Year Award goes to Mukadi Manda. Not only did he promote four UBO title fights in 2011, but he did so under very trying conditions in his native Democratic Republic of The Congo, where sponsors and finances in general are especially hard to come by.
Professional boxing in D.R.C. would be all but extinct if it wasn’t for Mukadi Manda, and he deserves all the recognition in the world for fighting the good fight to keep it alive. The UBO is very proud to be a part of the mission!
Honorable Mentions: Wesley Rasu (Jacobus vs. Junior), Sergio Marquez / Samson Lewkowicz (promoted two UBO world title fights in 2011), Boxncar Promotions (Menard vs. Napunyi & Menard vs. Laryea), Vaja Kvezereli (Mdinaradze vs. Saidi), Connect International Inc. (Yang vs. Kokietgym).
2011 MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Vasko Vasilev Vasko Vasilev
Vasko Vasilev did magnificently in managing UBO International Middleweight Champion Alexey Ribchev in 2011. Ribchev captured the UBO title in February by defeating Latvian dangerman Jurijs Boreiko, and defended the belt in September by beating veteran Ruben Silva Diaz of Uruguay.
Following the Diaz-defense, Ribchev (12-3-1, 3 KOs) went to England to beat former Commonwealth champion Matthew Hall and is currently in a great position to secure even bigger fights under the guidance of Vasilev.
Honorable Mentions: Henry Foster (manager of Rances Barthelemy), Chad Broussard (manager of Mason Menard), Zoltan Petranyi (manager of Gabor Halasz), Roman Dabolins (manager of Andrejs Barabanovs & Agnesa Boza), Richard Nwoba (manager of Hany Atiyo).
2011 EVENT OF THE YEAR
Li Wen Yang Li Wen Yang vs. Rachamongkol Kokietgym
Li Wen Yang became Chinas first ever professional World boxing Champion on October 25 in Yi Liang, China, when he won a unanimous decision over Thailand’s Rachamongkol Kokietgym to lift the UBO Super Lightweight title.
This amazing event was staged in front of more than 7000 spectators, while millions of TV viewers watched the fight live on CCTV5, Chinas premiere sports broadcaster.
The UBO is immensely proud to have been involved with this historic event, and very honored to have Yang as one of our World Champions.
Honorable Mentions: Boris Mdinaradze vs. Selemani Saidi (Youth Middleweight title), Roy Jones Jr. vs. Max Alexander (Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title), Anthony Dirrell vs. Dante Craig (Inter-Continental Super Middleweight title), Zoltan Kiss Jr. vs. Janos Olah (International Light Heavyweight title).
2011 SPECIAL TRIBUTE OF THE YEAR
Roy Jones Jr. Roy Jones Jr.
No introduction is needed when it comes to current UBO Inter-Continental Cruiserweight Champion Roy Jones Jr. The former Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight World Champion is on a mission to win a world title in a fifth weight-class, and started the mission with a unanimous decision over Max Alexander to take home the UBO title on December 10 in Atlanta.
Jones Jr. (55-8, 40 KOs) is a true legend of the sport, some even dare calling him the best fighter of all time, and deserves the 2011 UBO Special Tribute Of The Year Award.
Honorable Mentions: Mason Menard (for winning the UBO World Lightweight title against an opponent some experts felt was too big a challenge for him, Joseph Laryea), and Hany Atiyo (for winning the UBO All-Africa title and then going to Burkina Faso to add the ABU crown).
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