Every man with two fists has a chance to win. Below are five fights which epitomized that in 2016. From title-holders to established contenders and prospects, no one was safe.
5. AVTANDIL KHURTSIDZE TKO10 ANTOINE DOUGLAS, 3/5/16
Antoine Douglas was eyeing a breakout 2016 when he ran into the 5’4 buzzsaw that is Avtandil Khurtsidze. The 6’0 Douglas unleashed his entire arsenal but couldn’t slow the brutal inside work that Khurtsidze dished out. Several times in the late rounds, Douglas valiantly fought back to prevent a stoppage. But by the 10th, Khurtsidze had beat out any further resistance and scored a stunning upset victory.
In a testament to this fight’s brutality, neither man would fight again in 2016.
4. JULIUS INDONGO KO1 EDUARDO TROYANOVSKY, 12/3/16
Troyanovksy was making the second defense of his IBF 140 pound title and being considered for a unification with Terence Crawford. That went up in smoke in less than three minutes courtesy of a haymaker left hook. Troyanovsky is probably still wondering what hit him.
3. JOHN MOLINA UD12 RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV, 6/11/16
There was no war this night as John Molina surprised everyone (especially Provodnikov) by using movement and a consistent jab to tame the Siberian slugger in route to a unanimous decision. The win breathed new life into Molina’s career and put Provodnikov’s future in flux.
2. JOE SMITH JR. TKO1 ANDRZEJ FONFARA, 6/18/16
Few fighters had a better year than Joe Smith Jr. Going into this fight, he was simply an nondescript opponent to keep Fonfara busy while he angled for another title shot against Adonis Stevenson. Before Fonfara’s hometown fans in Chicago, Smith proceeded to bomb out Fonfara with two knockdowns for a shocking first round stoppage win.
1.ANDREW HERNANDEZ UD10 ARIF MAGOMEDOV, 5/21/16
Arif “The Predator” Magomedov wasn’t well-known when this fight went down, but he was on his way to changing that. Billed as the “next GGG” by some observers, Magomedov had achieved Top 10 rankings in all the sanctioning bodies. A title shot was expected within a year. This bout, against a career journeyman in Andrew Hernandez, was seen as a stay-busy fight as evidenced by the 50-1 betting odds.
Going in, Hernandez’s best win was a DQ victory over then undefeated prospect Jerry Odom in 2015. A landscaper by trade, Hernandez dominated the entire way and punctuated his win with a knockdown in the 10th.