LOS ANGELES (Dec. 11, 2015) – The year 2015 proved to be an exciting year for boxing, with the sport seeing some of the best action it’s had in years the last 12 months. Golden Boy Promotions, one of the top promoters in the sport, presented some of the most-watched, highly entertaining, fan-friendly fights in the sport this year, and promoted fights across the globe in the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Puerto Rico, impacting the international boxing landscape with exciting fights in 2015.
In addition, Golden Boy Promotions brought boxing back to downtown Los Angeles with its new hit monthly series LA FIGHT CLUB; struck a deal with top Spanish-language broadcaster Estrella TV to televise nationally two fights a month; began live streaming undercard fights with The Ring TV; opened its first digital studio at its headquarters; and proved its continued willingness to work with any promoters to put on the best fights for the fans.
Golden Boy Promotions has also maintained its strong relationships with venues across the country, including: Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, MGM Grand Properties, AEG, Minute Maid Park, Turning Stone Casino Resort, The Mecca of Boxing Madison Square Garden and the Belasco Theater.
Additionally, sponsorship relations with Golden Boy Promotions have been at an all-time high, with continual support from Corona, O’Reilly Auto Parts, The Mexican Tourism Board, and Fred Loya Insurance and most recently Carmelita Chorizo.
For consideration this year, Golden Boy Promotions presents its picks for the “Best in Boxing” in 2015:
“Trainer of the Year”
· Eddy Reynoso: “Trainer Edison Reynoso reached the top of his game in November when his star pupil Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto for the middleweight title completing a life-long dream. But what makes it even more important is the fact that Eddy knows what the lineal middleweight championship means in the history of boxing. Reynoso is more than just a trainer. He is a student of the game. He breathes, eats and sleeps boxing. He has collected thousands of boxing matches in VHS, DVD or any other format available, he has watched virtually every single world champion from the past. You can ask Eddy about any subject from the history of boxing and he’ll give you an answer.” (“Canelo trainer Eddy Reynoso tells it all,” by Hesiquio Balderas, FightNews.com, 12/8/2015)
“Fighter of the Year”
· Canelo Álvarez: The 25-year-old Álvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) had a phenomenal year that opened with a brilliant knockout victory over James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland on May 9 in front of 31,000 screaming fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston and closed with a thrilling victory over Miguel Cotto on Nov. 21 that crowned him the new WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion. His fights drew top viewership for HBO, some of the best numbers the network has seen in years, firmly cementing him as the top draw in boxing in the wake of Floyd Mayweather’s retirement. His win over seasoned veteran Miguel Cotto catapulted Álvarez in to the sport’s top pound-for-pound rankings. A new Pay-Per-View king has been crowned for the next generation, and his name is Canelo Álvarez.
“Fight of the Year”
· Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas: Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) suffered a cut below his eye in just the first round of his super featherweight bout against Takashi Miura on Nov. 21 and found himself in further trouble by the fourth round when Miura rallied and knocked him down. The tough Vargas persevered through to the ninth round and fought back viciously. Miura unsuccessfully struggled to remain fighting, causing the referee to stop the fight. In the end, the judges bestowed a technical knockout victory to Vargas, making him the new WBC Super Featherweight World Champion while also retaining his undefeated status.
· Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov: On April 18, a sold-out, 12-round junior welterweight bout between Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse and “The Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov fighting in the prime of their careers thrilled fans and the media alike, with many declaring it an early FOTY candidate. Provodnikov was cut badly in round two from an accidental headbutt but came back and landed furious shots to Lucas Matthysse’s head. Matthysse bounced back in round five as he landed some hard jabs to the face of an oncoming Provodnikov. The war continued through the middle rounds as both fighters went toe-to-toe while Matthysse landed combinations from a distance and Provodnikov went on the defense and continued to brawl. Provodikov had a strong round 11 as he landed a hard left to the top of the head that buckled Matthysse and the Argentinian was forced to hold on. The two waged a final flurry in round 12, and it was Matthysse who won via majority decision with scores of 115-113 twice and 114-114.
· Jorge Linares vs. Kevin Mitchell: Linares defeated the courageous Mitchell in the first defense of his WBC world lightweight title on the Brit’s hometown turf in London at the O2 Arena on May 30. The epic brawl turned into a bloodbath due to a clash of heads and facial cuts. Mitchell was committed and showed great stamina, fighting through cuts and a swollen eye, which Linares took advantage of as he continued to steadily wear-down Mitchell. The equally matched fighters delivered an exciting fight that had Linares fighting with his brains and brawn but suffered a knock down in the fifth while the crowd went crazy for Mitchell. Linares came back fighting strong toward the end of the fifth round, with both fighters going all out. Linares built his confidence back up and in the 10th round, landed a big right hand to Mitchell’s face that backed him into the corner. From there, Linares kept the pressure on as the blood flowed from Mitchell’s facial cuts. Mitchell didn’t go gently, giving Linares a tough end but was forced to take a knee in the 10th round. Mitchell got up to continue the fight but the referee had seen enough punishment and stopped the count and stopped the fight, declaring Linares the victory by technical knockout.
“Knockout of the Year”
· Canelo Álvarez vs. James Kirkland: In front of more than 31,000 raucous fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston on May 9, Mexico’s super welterweight sensation Canelo Álvarez knocked out the dangerous James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland with a thunderous right hand in the middle of the third-round, capping a sensational performance that saw the then 24-year-old drop Kirkland in the first round and deliver a number of huge shots before the eventual end of the fight. This fight also marked Canelo’s second biggest attendance record since Canelo vs. Trout,, which drew in over 40,000 fans in 2013.
“Prospect of the Year”
· Diego De La Hoya: The undefeated boxing legacy and fan-favorite Diego De La Hoya had a standout year in 2015, including securing the vacant WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Title as the main event at LA FIGHT CLUB Sept. 4 and beating out former world title contenders Manuel “Suavecito” Roman and Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz. Most recently, De La Hoya shined with a unanimous decision victory over Giovanni “Lloviznas” Delgado at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas the day before Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Álvarez. In addition, Univision Deportes profiled him as one of the future stars of the sport to watch, and indeed, all eyes are on Diego as he looks to big things in 2016.
· Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr.: A 2012 U.S. Olympian, Diaz Jr. has steadily risen through the ranks since turning professional and amassed an undefeated record with 18 victories, 10 by knockout. In addition to his talent, Diaz Jr. has the charisma and good looks that many say could make him a household name and future start for the sport. Diaz Jr. stayed busy in 2015, defeating some of the toughest opponents of his career thus far in the former WBC Silver Featherweight Champion Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado and the seasoned fighter Ruben “Canelito” Tamayo. He will look to make a spectacular finale for 2015 by securing the NABF featherweight title on Dec. 18 when he fights at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. against Hugo “Olimpico” Partida.
· Manuel “Tino” Avila: An undefeated standout, the humble Manuel “Tino” Avila made a big splash in August when he secured the interim NABF Super Bantamweight Title after defeating the toughest opponent of his career, former world title challenger Yoandris “El Nino” Salinas, by technical knockout. Avila has taken the local boxing scene by storm since his professional debut at Fight Night Club at Club Nokia in Los Angeles in 2010. 2014 was a busy year for Avila, as he took on and defeated Enrique “Cuate” Quevedo, David “Morita” De La Mora, and Sergio “El Frio” Frias. In his first bout of 2015, the Fairfield, Calif. native defeated Erick Ruiz, via unanimous decision on May 7. With a record of 19 wins, no losses and eight knockouts, “Tino” – as many call him – has a bright future ahead.
“Comeback of the Year”
· Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas: Also named a Fight of the Year candidate, Vargas was losing on the scorecards early on in his battle against Takashi Miura and suffered a knock down in the fourth round. Vargas wasn’t done though, and he rallied in the ninth-round with a flurry of punches that knocked Miura down. Vargas took advantage of the knock down and didn’t let up, leaving the referee no choice but to call the fight before the end of the ninth round to save the battered Miura from further punishment.
· Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos: Castellanos is a fighter whose talent exceeds his record and has had one of the greatest comebacks in 2015. Coming off a loss to Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado in February 2014, Castellanos followed it up with a dominant victory over Ronny Rios in October 2014, stopping the then-unbeaten prospect in the fifth round. Castellanos continued to show his power in January of 2015 facing the warrior Rocky Juarez for the chance to win the WBC Silver Featherweight title and become the mandatory challenger for the WBC Featherweight World Championship. Both fighters showed a lot of heart and put on one of the bloodiest fights of 2015, but it was Castellanos’ dominance that was on display as his powerful jabs, brutal uppercuts and well-timed counter-punching knocked down Juarez in the fifth and twice in the 10th round to win via unanimous decision with scores of 118-106, 118-106 and 118-107. Now, Castellanos is the WBC Feather World Championship mandatory challenger.
“Matchmaker of the Year”
· Robert Diaz, Golden Boy Promotions: As the head matchmaker at Golden Boy Promotions, Diaz is known for his ability to identify fighter styles that will make the best, most exciting fights, at any weight. He was an integral part in some of the biggest fights at Golden Boy Promotions this year, including Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Álvarez, Canelo Álvarez vs. James Kirkland, Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse vs. Viktor Postol, Jorge Linares vs. Kevin Mitchell, Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas, Francisco Vargas vs. Will Tomlinson, Sadam Ali vs. Francisco Santana, Humberto Soto vs. Antonio Orozco, Rocky Juarez vs. Robinson Castellanos, Hassan N’Dam vs. David Lemieux, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy vs. Paul Parker. He is responsible for the development of some of Golden Boy Promotions top prospects and contenders including the recent WBC Youth Super Bantamweight victories for Diego De La Hoya, the NABF Super Bantamweight win for Manuel “Tino” Avila, the great year for Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr., Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera’s NABF Super Lightweight Title and former world championship fights. Also, the great development of rising prospects, Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez, Nick Arce, Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete, and Ivan “Striker” Degaldo, Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez, Jason “El Animal” Quigley and the title contender Vyacheslav “Lion Heart – Chingonsky” Shabranskyy.
“Promoter of the Year”
· Golden Boy Promotions: Oscar De La Hoya started out 2015 by stating that the company he founded would be dedicated to giving the fans of the sweet science what they wanted to see in the ring: the best fighting the best. De La Hoya and his hardworking team have done exactly that, delivering some of the best match-ups the sport has seen in recent years. De La Hoya and his team have also committed to developing the sport’s next generation of champion fighters, a hallmark of the company since its inception more than a decade ago. Golden Boy Promotions delivered top fights this year featuring fighters including Canelo Álvarez, Jorge “El Nino de Oro” Linares, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse and others to top prospects including Manuel “Tino” Avila, Joseph Diaz Jr., and Diego De La Hoya. De La Hoya is on a mission to reclaim the sport he loves for the fans, as a fan himself.