The WBC 2023 Awards
2023 was a great year for the world of boxing, during which we saw the fights we wanted, including amazing, multiple clashes for the undisputed championship.
The year was filled with great moments, historic events in arenas around the world, outstanding performances, extraordinary knockouts, brilliant fights, and historic comebacks.
The WBC unveiled their winners for the Best of 2023, voted for by the public:
FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Naoya Inoue & Devin Haney
Naoya Inoue: Undefeated, former light flyweight champion, former super flyweight champion, former undisputed bantamweight champion, current undisputed super bantamweight champion. This 2023 he defeated the previously unbeaten Stephen Fulton to win the WBC crown. A fight later he became the undisputed 122-pound champion by defeating Marlon “Nightmare” Tapales.
Devin Haney: Devin had a very busy year. In May he defended his undisputed lightweight crown by defeating Ukrainian legend Lomachenko in a fight involving and employing brilliant strategy. Subsequently, he moved up to super lightweight to win his second division by challenging super lightweight champion Regis Prograis and defeating him via a wide margin.
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr.
Terence Crawford stopped Errol Spence Jr. in the ninth round, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, crowning himself the undisputed welterweight champion.
Crawford proved far superior throughout the contest and sent his rival to the canvas in the second round with a spectacular counterpunch. Spence bravely recovered but he was no longer the same, as his timing was off and he lacked his usual power.
By the seventh round, Crawford’s power jab wrought havoc on an Errol Spence, who stood up out of pride rather than any removal capacity to turn the tables, at this juncture.
In that same round, Crawford sent his rival to the canvas twice, in the ninth round, a variety of blows in the centre of the ring prompted the Referee to stop the fight.
With this victory, Terence Crawford became the champion with all the titles at 147 pounds, retained his undefeated record and confirmed himself as one of the best pound for pound in boxing.
KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR
Brian Mendoza vs Sebastián Fundora
Brian “Bala” Mendoza defeated Sebastián “Towering Inferno” Fundora with a seventh round KO to win the interim super welterweight championship of the WBC at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Mendoza’s knockout erupted at 39 seconds. Long armed Fundora missed with a left uppercut and was caught with a power driving left hook to the jaw. He swayed and Mendoza instantly followed up with a crunching right hook and another left hook on the button, to drop him hard to the canvass.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR
O’Shaquie Foster vs Eduardo Hernández
Super Featherweight Champion of the World Boxing Council, O’Shaquie Foster, made the first defense of his crown by dramatically KO in the 12th round, the brave Eduardo “Rocky” Hernández.
It was the main fight at the Poliforum Benito Juárez in Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
The end of the fight was dramatic, as despite being behind on two scorecards, Foster fought hard to knock out the hard hitting Mexican mandatory challenger Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez, who was ahead on points, before walking into a twelfth round.
DRAMATIC FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Jaime Munguía vs Sergyi Derevyanchenko
Jaime Munguía achieved a courageous dig deep victory in California after 12 intense rounds against the tough Ukrainian Sergyi Derevyanchenko; thus winning the WBC 168-pound Silver Belt.
In the final round, when the fight was hanging in the balance, Munguia decisively landed a powerful left hook to the liver that forced the Ukrainian to take a knee and with it, a count.
After a highly competitive fight the balance tipped in favor of Munguia,
PROSPECT OF THE YEAR:
A great year of progression with a quartet of victories, retaining the USWBC Silver Super Welterweight championship, which he defended on two occasions.
Now, the rising star possess a record of 9-0, 7KO’s and is gearing up to celebrate St Patrick’s Day weekend in The Big Apple with a return to Madison Square Garden Garden Theater.
FEMALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Yesica Nery Plata
The Mexican fighter firmly established herself as light flyweight champion. She first traveled to Canada to take the WBC crown from then undefeated Kim Clavel. Then again on her travels, this time to Germany to face then-undefeated challenger Sarah Borman, also defeating her, with technical, aggressive, and efficiently effective boxing.
FEMALE PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Yesica Nery Plata vs Kim Clavel
At Place Bell in Quebec, Canada, Mexican Yesica Nery Plata defeated skilled Canadian Kim Clavel.
Nery Plata had an impactful start to the fight connecting strong combinations, which forced retreat. She maintained her volume, exchanged blows with the Canadian, with both thrilling the audience. The closing was fierce, with both warriors looking for the victory, attacking with strong hooks, bringing the fans to their feet, cheering them on after ten thunderous rounds.
With this victory, Yesica became unified light flyweight champion.
FEMALE KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR
Alejandra Guzman vs Ramla Ali
Alejandra starred the greatest KO on 2023, after defeating Ali 42 seconds into the eighth round with a devastating and punctuating left hook.
FEMALE FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Chantelle Cameron vs Katie Taylor I: Chantelle Cameron’s ring walk anticipated the result of the contest. She came out, cool, calm and collected to the relaxed sounds of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, unfazed by the 9000 strong Irish fans.
Chantelle Cameron came out strong against Katie Taylor in the first rounds, swarming her with punches and not giving her room to breathe. Cameron was relentless during the mid fight starting every attack and finishing them. It was pressure, pressure, pressure as she walked Taylor down.
As the fight progressed, Taylor tried to take the fight to Cameron on the inside but by the time the fight ended everyone agreed that it was a competitive contest, but Chantelle Cameron emerged as the deserved.
Katie Taylor vs Chantelle Cameron II: Taylor demonstrated a very effective gameplan. Slip and Jab at arm’s length on the outside, move forward on the inside with heavy flurried hooks to the head – and clinch to nullify a response. In doing so, Chantelle Cameron was unable to get into a rhythm and let her shots go.
As the rounds went on, Chantelle Cameron had her moments, but Katie was the aggressor and decisively won most of the rounds.
“Resurrection is in my DNA” – was the mantra repeated by Katie Taylor ever since she challenged Chantelle Cameron for her undisputed Super Lightweight titles in May of 2023 and lost decisively.
FEMALE DRAMATIC FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Delfine Persoon vs Bo Mi Re Shin
A classic fight between Experience vs Youth. Persoon didn’t disappoint and in a very complex fight managed to defeat the South Korean super star via SD.
FEMALE PROSPECT OF THE YEAR
Three fights and three victories for Dubois, who ended the year undefeated and ready to start 2024 on the right footing with handheld aloft.
TRAINER OF THE YEAR
Another great father/son/coach formula, Shingo Inoue has turned his son into one of the greatest exponents of boxing not only in Japan but in the world and who has led him to win four world titles in the following divisions: light flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight, and super bantamweight.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
Former Mexican world champion Carlos “Príncipe” Cuadras, won the WBC interim super flyweight belt, by defeating his compatriot and also former world champion Pedro Guevara by split decision in a card that took place as part of the closing of the WBC Convention in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
“It is said easy but almost nine years have passed since I was crowned for the first time, a time that is said easy but where I knew the light and the darkness, where sometimes I got lost but thanks to my son and my wife, I found my way back. Today I am here again, celebrating this triumph and ready for everything that comes. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. I owed it to me, and I owed to them,” Cuadras commented.
EVENT OF THE YEAR
Anthony Joshua vs Otto Wallin: Day of Reckoning: A galaxy of heavyweight unleashed titanic bolts in a quest for glory, creating a fabled story entitled: Day of Reckoning, at Riyadh`s Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia on December 23rd; among the Heavyweight Fights presented there were: Joshua vs Wallin; Parker vs. Wilder; Sanchez vs Junior Fa; Dubois vs. Miller… and more.
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou: Battle of the Baddest: A monumental event called The Battle of the Baddest. Riyadh Season opened, with the fight between the WBC heavyweight world champion, Tyson Fury, against the former UFC heavyweight monarch, Francis Ngannou.
The promotion, prepared by His Excellency Sheik Turki Alalshikh, with the co-promotion of Top Rank and Queensberry, was spectacular in every way. The number of legendary boxers and athletes was a dream come true: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Durán, Érik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Naseem Hamed, Amir Khan, Joe Calzaghe, Frank Bruno, Riddick Bowe, Shannon Briggs, Buster Douglas, Roy Jones, Michael Spinks, Jared Anderson, Beterbiev, Bivol, Badou Jack, Tim Bradley, Jalolov, Antonio Tarver, Cotto, Conor McGregor, Randy Couture, Cristiano Ronaldo, Figo, Ronaldo, Eminem, Liam Payne, and a huge number of other superstars.
REVELATION OF THE YEAR
She had four fights during 2023. Skye Nicolson was crowned interim WBC featherweight champion, by defeating Sabrina Maribel Pérez. Little by little she took over the ring, with the Judges’ cards indicating 98-92, 99-91 and 97-93 to win by unanimous decision.
Then, she defended her crown by defeating Sweden’s Lucy Wildheart. She maintained a constant dynamic, circling the ring, using an aggressive offense to dominate Wildheart
Skye imposed conditions by making Lucy pay every time she fell short in her offensive in order to close a magnificent 2023.
FAN’S CHOICE AWARD
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
“Canelo” remained very active in 2023 with two memorable fights. The first against John Ryder in his long-awaited return home and the second defeating Jermell Charlo in an overwhelming way. He masterfully conserved the undisputed super middleweight championship.